I will admit it, I am a fairly frugal person. I hate spending money on throw away things. I (at this time) drive a used car and am typing this on a 3 year old iMac. I am all about getting the best value out of things. Money not spent on stuff, is money you that can be used towards investing, travel or other items.
And while I am frugal, there are 3 things I will always spend money on. Three things that make every day living, so much better. 3 things that are better for your health and well being. What amazes me, is people will spend a fortune on things, like their car, but will skimp on these three items. And these three items ultimately make the biggest difference in our every day life.
Your Bed and Mattress
Did it ever occur to you that you spend any where between a quarter to your third of your life sleeping? If you sleep 8 hours a day that is a full third. Take naps, that adds even more to it. Yet, we aren’t willing to spend money on the thing we sleep on, the matress.
I get it, we are limited in budget. But I remember in grad school, going out for a weekend drinking was easily $200 over the weekend. That means in a 8 weeks I spent more on crappy alcohol then I did on the mattress I would come home and pass out on.
I have also seen people spend a fortune on a bedframe and matching dressers but skimp on the mattress. Mattresses run the gamut in price. From traditional box spring to these new memory foam mattresses and mattress in a box.
Depending on the size of your bed, you should expect to spend between $600 and $6,000 on a mattress. I know that is a huge range but king size will cost more than a full size and something like a sleep number bed will cost more than a traditional box spring on sale.
Most of us are office workers in one way or another. That means we are spending another quarter to one third of our life in a chair. When I have projects that have ramped up, I can spend up to 12 or more hours a day sitting in a chair. Yet, we go to a big super store and buy a $100 office chair that wears out in a couple months and get replaced in a year.
There is a reason large profitable companies have figured out the importance of good office chairs. I first learned about quality office chairs when I worked for a few Fortune 500 companies that not only spent a fortune on chairs, but even had someone on staff to come and help you adjust it optimally. Excellent office chairs provide micro adjustments for your back, your spine and your posture. They are designed to be sat in for hours at a time.
The brand everyone knows is Herman Miller and yes, they make an excellent chair. They do take a little getting used to since they use mesh but my go to chairs are Steelcase. They are a little more traditional than the Hermann Miller but so very comfy.
You should expect to spend between $700 and $1600 depending on the chair you choose. Now before you freak out about that much money. I spent that much on a TV I watch, maybe 2 hours a day. Add to this, these chairs will literally last a lifetime. Most have 12 year warranties and you can re-upholster the cushions for the same amount you spent on a throw away chair at your local office supply store. And yes, you can even find these on Amazon used, for less, still worth every dollar that you spend.
When I was in graduate school, I would refuse to spend more than $60 dollars on a pair of shoes. I was spending 12 to 15 hours a day in these cheap shoes and could never understand why my feet hurt and why these shoes never lasted. I would have to replace them every 6 months.
But the guys I worked with would buy Allen Edmonds and have the same shoes for 5 years. I always thought it was because they either, made a lot more money than me, or were just buying “luxury”, for luxury sake. But I was so wrong once I spent good money on a nice pair of shoes.
Good shoes not only look better but they feel better and they last longer. And some of the better shoes, (such as the Allen Edmonds), you can send back to the manufacturer to recraft them for $125. This means they add in new heels, soles, inserts and recondition the leather. Which means they last another five years.
The great thing about being a guy, is I can buy a single pair of traditional black cap toe dress shoes, and never have to buy another pair. Regardless of style trends, these shoes will always work. I would recommend starting with Allen Edmonds. The great thing with Amazon, you don’t like them, send them back. A traditional cap toe shoe will run you about $425. But remember, you are wearing these all day and will last you a lifetime.
If you work in a more casual environment and don’t need something as dressy as a cap toe oxford, take a look at Cole Haan. They tend to be reasonably priced but I was walking around Europe in their loafers and Chukka’s, for hours and they always felt great.
There is a time to be frugal, this isn’t it
I know the prices I am talking about here might scare the hell out of people. But if you look at, these are three things we spend 8 – 12 hours a day on. I know people that will spend $50,000 on a car that they spend no more than an hour a day in, yet will skimp on everything else. There is something to be said about driving a luxury car, but most time it sits in a garage while you sit in a chair that is bad for your back, a bed that keeps you from sleeping and shoes that cause you foot and back pain.
All of these items I recommend are meant to last years, and in some cases with proper care and conditioning, a lifetime. You owe this to yourself to take care of yourself, and all three of these items are often overlooked components to living a great life. What do you think it is worth spending a lot of money on?