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In this episode, Chelsea discusses the self-care spending you should never feel guilty about, especially because of the tangible difference these things can make in your quality of life.

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Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's video is brought to you by

And, today, I want to talk to you about the kinds of purchases you should not be feeling guilty about. I think a lot of personal finance advice tends to be quite shamey and very focused on the things that you need to cut out of the budget. We've all heard the speech about the famous latte.

We've heard about, you don't need to be buying this or that. And, usually, this or that happen to be things that women need to buy in order to be taken seriously by the world. But, in general, the focus tends to be on what you can cut out of your life or deprive yourself of in order to ramp up your savings.

And to be fair, there is a lot of truth to this. Obviously, for a lot of people, it's going to be easier to cut some things out than it is to earn more money, although for others, it does happen to be the reverse. But, in general, it's important to remember that each purchase should be truly serving you.

What is it bringing to your life? Is it something you are getting many uses out of? Is it something that is bringing you genuine joy?

Or in many of the cases of the items on this list, is it something that is genuinely upgrading your life? There are certain things that ultimately we may look at as on the surface not necessarily that important or dismiss because they might be a little more expensive than we're used to spending on ourselves. But I think it's important to remember to what extent the purchases you make are radiating outwards throughout your life and paying dividends, often, sometimes in unexpected places.

And while, yes, something like a daily latte might be an unnecessary purchase, for many people, especially, for example, people who are suddenly working from home, a morning routine of getting out of your home, getting coffee that you don't have to make yourself, being outside, interacting with other people, there could be a lot of auxiliary benefits to that one simple purchase that truly improve the quality of your life. But these specific purchases I want to talk about because I do think that they are, in some ways, relatively small investments that pay for many people great dividends in terms of caring for yourself, but which we often might deprive ourselves of or feel guilty spending on, which is wrong, IMO. So without further ado, here are 11 life-upgrading purchases you should never feel guilty about.

Number one is therapy. Now, as I've mentioned before on this channel, because I know a lot of you are probably already saying that therapy is outside of your budget, a dear friend of mine, Crissy Milazzo, put together a spreadsheet that is now becoming a whole website. It's open-sourced, it's got information from all around the country, with free affordable sliding scale therapy and tons and tons of different areas around the US, because, ultimately, unfortunately, for a lot of people, therapy is just out of the equation, financially.

So hopefully by using tools like this, we can all find some kind of setup of therapy that could work for us in terms of cost. But I will say, if you are someone who has often skimped on things like mental health, it's a real area to start investing, especially now. I've been going to weekly therapy for almost a year now, just under a year.

And I can say that it has completely changed my life in many, many ways. I feel like a genuinely different person now, and in many ways, feel much better equipped to deal with all of the bullshit that 2020 has been because of the tools I already got from therapy. Now, my issues going into therapy are likely different from your issues.

And it's not a one-size-fits-all thing. So maybe you try therapy for a month or so and decide it's not necessarily right for you. But the point is, treating your mental health as something that should be really maintained and cared for the way you do your physical health is a real priority for truly upgrading many elements of your life.

A good therapeutic regimen can help you at work, it can help you in your friendships, maybe you have some complicated family relationships, maybe you're going through a difficult time in your marriage, all of these things can benefit, not just from the therapy itself, but from taking the time and space to really focus on your own mental well-being and to confront the things that you normally tend to avoid on a day-to-day basis. We often tend to think of our brains as not really parts of our body. But it absolutely is.

And taking care of it as such is just as crucial as taking care of any other part of who you are. Number two are subscriptions to publications you actually read. Now this one is not just, in my opinion, something that we can feel good about on an individual level.

I also think as someone who runs an online publication that needs to make money in order to pay its employees, a bit of a moral imperative. If you are someone who is frequently reading a website, let's say, and often uses things like your incognito browser to read more articles than you should behind the paywall, or you've just thought, I'm not going to ever pay for subscriptions again, because why should I, everything on the internet is free, understand that everything on the internet is not free. A, people have to be paid in order to create it.

But also, B, a lot of us probably don't love being inundated with ads 24/7. And one of the best ways to not have to rely so heavily on ads is to have subscription revenue, which is the primary model most publications use to function on. I think that now more than ever in our news climate, particularly, focusing on a few publications that you can trust, that you enjoy reading, and that you actually get a lot of value out of is much better than just browsing your social media feeds and clicking on whatever headlines seem to interest you.

We've gotten more and more used to, as a society now, consuming our news in that way. We don't go very deep on stories. We're not getting a very nuanced look at things.

And we're not really spending that much time reading anymore. So selecting a few publications that you don't just want to read, but also want to support, is a good thing for you and for the ecology of news as a whole. We don't want to descend into a model where no publication can afford to support itself without resorting to really debased click-bait models and really intrusive ads.

So upgrading your life by making a few of those subscription choices isn't just good for you, it's good for the media. Number 3 is a good couch. Now, I know I'm coming at you hard and fast as someone who actually has their leather sofa that they've had from years because a rich person in my old neighborhood was literally throwing away their beautiful chestnut leather room and board sofa that retailed for like $2,000.

And I was like, for me? Look at her. I love her.

Not everyone can get a $2,000-plus retail sofa for free, off the street, because rich people were moving out of a condo. But spending on a good sofa usually will end up breaking down in cost per use over the long run to be better off invested in than bought cheaply, because cheaply bought couches not only will often need to be replaced, they'll also be uncomfortable to use on a day-to-day basis, and often end up being the sort of thing that can be difficult to get in and out of a new home if you move. So you'll just say, screw it, and saw your couch in half and throw it away.

Buying things like a high quality sofa or sectional, maybe even a pull-out one that can be used to comfortably sleep guests when they visit, is the kind of investment that you will be using on a daily basis for potentially a decade or more. And depending on the kind of material you're buying, there is an option to buy these things secondhand, in many cases. For example, secondhand leather, like we have, is quite common.

But it's not out of the ordinary to buy something with fabric secondhand. We have a very high paranoia of bedbugs. But you can inspect for those before you buy an item.

And you can even, with all the money you save buying a couch secondhand, reupholster or buy a slip cover for the sofa, so not only is it a little fresher, but matches perhaps better with what you have. Most of us, especially these days, are spending a considerable portion of our lives on our sofa. So it's one of the few places where cost per use investment over the course of years and years truly does break down.

And if you do want to buy new but are a little worried about the more expensive high quality costs, look into different financing plans. I know that millennials, for some reason, don't shop at department stores anymore. But a lot of really great furniture can be bought at department stores like Macy's, and often have things like 0% financing over the course of a year.

It can be easy, especially in your first place, to go throwaway mode on basically everything you buy. But that shouldn't be done on a sofa. Number 4 is car maintenance.

Now, as we all know, Chelsea hasn't had a car in 10 years, and the world and the streets are better for that. But when I did have a car-- or cars because I went through several in my short-lived life of driving-- I was always the person who would avoid paying for maintenance until things were dire. And not only can that often lead to worse problems down the road, whereas regularly scheduled maintenance would help prevent some things from evolving, it can also potentially be unsafe.

For example, driving on bald tires is super unsafe. Having a big crack in your windshield or a missing side mirror can be unsafe. There are all kinds of issues that can lead to you being in a very dangerous place in your car, for yourself and those around you, that could easily be fixed by maintenance, which is why it is incredibly important when you are budgeting a car into your life, you make sure to over-budget for maintenance.

Not only does usually something end up happening in the life of a car that you didn't necessarily predict, you also want to make sure you are never skimping on maintenance because you forgot to account for it when you were accounting for things like gas and insurance. Having safe, reliable, consistent transport upgrades so many elements of your life. And the best way to ensure that, if you have a car, is to always stay one step ahead of the maintenance.

Number 5 is a high quality laptop that lasts. Ideally, you should be looking for a laptop that will last you at least five years and be high functioning that entire time. And, yes, it is totally a good option for many of us to buy a refurbished laptop if we don't necessarily want to go the new route.

But for many of us, if not most at this point, our computers are a portal to so many different elements of our life. It's used for professional purposes, for personal. It's our connection to the outside world, in many cases, with social distancing.

And having a laptop that's not reliable, or constantly having issues, or running out of batteries, or breaking down and needing to be replaced is something that just adds such an unnecessary burden to our day-to-day lives. And doing something like perhaps financing a high quality laptop is also potentially for some a good option for doing things like building credit, while buying something that is a really essential tool for your life. Often, when we're looking at making purchases that need to be made affordable to us, that are not just something we can go out and buy, but really need to be thoughtful about, I think it's important that we really give priority to the quality of our computer.

It can be easy to cheap out on it, but, ultimately, that might cost you dearly in the long run. Again, in terms of cost per use but also because, as I'm sure many of us found out this year when our whole lives suddenly had to pivot to webcam, our computer does much, much more than just needing to be typed on every so often or browsing online shopping. If there's a place you can feel good investing, it is definitely in your computer.

Number 6 is high quality sneakers. Listen, this is the truth. I don't like it, you don't like it, none of us like it, but it is the truth.

If you work out, you feel better, your life is better, you have more energy, you sleep better, you can do more things, you feel more confident. I wish that weren't true. I hate working out.

I mean, now I like it more than I used to. But it's still like, would I always be rather watching TV and eating snacks? Of course, I would.

But working out is important, now so more than ever. And one of the things that will really prevent you from working out if you need to use sneakers in order to work out, which many, many, many different types of exercise require, is having sneakers that aren't extremely comfortable and well fitted to you. Not only can ill-fitting or ill- adapted sneakers actually cause injury for things like running on them for a long period of time, it's also just one more step of unpleasantness in all of the unpleasant hurdles that you have to get over in order to work out regularly.

There is that saying, always invest in what comes between you and the ground. And it's true in a lot of ways. But never ever more so in terms of shoes than with a good pair of sneakers, if you are doing exercise that necessitates sneakers.

But, especially in 2020, where a lot of us are probably way more sedentary than we ever used to be, giving yourself every reason to work out and eliminating all of the excuses to not workout is of the essence. There are great websites for finding the right shoes for you. But I also recommend going into a sneaker shop, asking a lot of questions, trying on a bunch of different ones, and making sure that you feel really good about the purchase, more so than, I would say, almost any other item of apparel.

Number 7 is temperature and air quality management. At some point, you reach an age where the temperature and the quality of the air around you makes an enormous impact to your everyday life. For example, in the winter, for some, having air that is far too dried out, both from the lack of humidity outside, as well as central heat, having a humidifier becomes crucial.

For some who live in super hot climates, having at least one AC unit available to them, even if it's a small window unit in their bed where they most need it as they sleep, becomes the difference between a summer full of sleeplessness and aches from tossing and turning and a summer where you can actually feel good. Things like air purifiers and filters can also be incredibly important. The point is, especially as we are spending more and more time in our homes, we want to do what we can so that we are able to live and breathe as healthily as possible in our homes.

And although you could easily just limit the quality of your air or your ability to temperature control to those isolated things, think of how many more impacts it can have on you if you are, for example, having bad headaches from a lack of humidity, or you're not able to sleep because of how hot it is in your bedroom, or you're freezing cold every time you leave your bed first thing in the morning. These kind of effects radiate throughout your life. They seriously disturb your sleep hygiene.

And they take a massive toll. It may seem like a simple relatively small thing, but making sure that every time you walk into your home, you're in a place that feels comfortable and adapted to your needs is the kind of purchase that really does radiate throughout your life and pay a lot of dividends. Is it on the same level as therapy?

No. But it's not far. Number 8 is high quality internet.

This one might go without saying, but I used to skimp on having really good quality internet, and no more. It's one of those relatively small things that you can make an investment in, and it will be so universally beneficial to you on a day-to-day basis that you often won't even know that you have it. But trust me that you will notice if your internet is constantly messing up or too slow to do what you need.

Sometimes the best investments are the ones that you end up not noticing at all, and this is one of them. Number 9 is a good set of tools. Now, different people are going to have different needs, depending on their skill level and the kind of home that they live in, but I recommend getting a pretty catchall tool box.

Places like Home Depot will often have their starter kit tool boxes that have, I don't know, like 62 pieces or whatever. It just has all of the various things that you might need for day-to-day home tasks. This is one of the most important things you can buy for your home.

I would say you should buy it before many different pieces of furniture, because not only is it really important to have a basic knowledge of how to do things around your house-- because you don't want to end up always defaulting to having to hire like a TaskRabbit to do things that you could almost certainly do by yourself with a YouTube video-- it also prevents you from having to constantly run out and buy one item from a tool kit that you didn't think that you would need, but were probably going to end up needing at some point, but then have to pay individual prices for. The benefit of buying a tool kit is that you get the discount by buying everything altogether, plus you get the little box. It's one of those things that we often don't think that we'll need in life, but it's the thing that we're often most glad that we thought ahead enough to buy.

I've gone a little bit above and beyond in my tools at home because my husband does tend to be on the handier side. And I obviously love doing shit to my apartment. So I've gone and gotten things like a cordless power drill, a few different types of saws, and a couple other things that go kind of above and beyond the usual tool kit.

But 90% of the stuff that we've done in our homes, all is from the initial tool kit we bought years ago when we first moved to New York. And like the really good internet, it's something that you really don't even notice most of the time until you need it, and then you don't even have to think about it, because it's all right there. Number 10 is high quality kitchen basics.

Now, obviously, a lot of us are probably cooking and eating at home way, way more than we used to. But even if you're still, for some reason, not, you should be, because it's incredibly money-saving in the long term to be not only cooking and eating at home, but starting to cook in bigger batches so that every single meal doesn't need to be individually accounted for. In terms of the things that you can feel good about investing in, I think there are a few key things that you are going to want to get for yourself in order to have kind of all of your bases covered with the kind of items that will last you for years and years and years.

A few that I would say off the bat would be a good chef's knife. You want, I would maybe say, a couple of different knives from a high quality producer. My husband and I, we have Wusthof knives, but there are several other brands that are equally good.

But definitely first and foremost, your chef's knife that you will use for the vast majority of your chopping and slicing and whatnot. And, of course, something to sharpen that knife with, although a lot of places, if you buy the knife, you can take it back there and get it sharpened for free. I would definitely also say one good heavy-bottomed quality pan.

I would go stainless steel, something that you can saute in, you can make sauces in, you can do a lot of your day-to-day basic stovetop cooking in. I would also recommend a basic Dutch oven. This is great for things that cook for a long time-- soups, stews, big-batch sauces.

It's probably the item that I use the most in my kitchen, and definitely the one that I use the most for big batch and meal prep. I have a Staub Dutch oven, which is, of course, on the higher end side, but Lodge also makes really, really good products for a fraction of the price. Also, things like really good kitchen products are a great thing to buy secondhand.

People are constantly getting rid of their really fancy hoity-toity Dutch ovens because they're super heavy. And maybe they didn't end up using them because they're damn fools. Or they're moving and don't want to carry them.

Or they got a new set in a different color. Either way, definitely that. Mine is cast iron inside.

Some like the Le Creuset are ceramic inside, but either way, a Dutch oven is a great one. I think a hand mixer is very useful. I just have whatever the standard thing, it's Cuisinart or-- KitchenAid.

I have a KitchenAid hand mixer. It's used for a lot of different things. A basic, basic food processor is great for various day-to-day things.

You can make salsa and sauces, you can chop things really quickly. A few items like this, you're so much better off having just one of this item than a bunch of shitty ones. Because, again, these are the kind of items that you can literally have for decades.

My mother still uses her mother's food processor from the literal early 1970s. And you will be surprised how much having a few of the right tools will lead you to cook more and more frequently. But even if the investment can feel a little upfront, trust me that you don't have to feel guilty about it because it will be an investment that pays dividends.

If you really want to challenge yourself, you can take the cost of a few investment kitchen items and look over the course of the next six months, if you are cooking more at home each week, how much money you ended up saving in the long-term from eating out less, buying less takeout, and less prepackaged foods. I'm almost sure you'll either end up breaking even or saving more in the long run. Lastly, number 11 is good health insurance.

Now, when I was a completely dumb ass 22-year-old, I was one of those people that was like, I'll just get whatever the cheapest stuff is. I don't care. And thank God nothing seriously bad happened to me because I would still likely be drowning in medical debt.

If you are in the process of getting private health insurance or choosing amongst a few different plans, the temptation can often be to go with the absolute cheapest option. But please look at all that it entails in terms of deductibles, in terms of co-pays, in terms of all of the various things that are going to immediately come into play if you have to use that insurance. Do yourself a favor of doing a budget based on a year, see how much you will end up spending on all of your various health care needs if you go with the cheapest option or the more expensive one.

Run through a few scenarios in your head, and don't always default for what is cheapest on paper in the immediate term, because it could end up costing you very dearly in the longer term. Just as much as taking care of your mental health is important with therapy, thinking ahead in terms of your physical health is equally important. And even if it is a little bit more of a bite into your weekly take-home pay than you would like it to be, it is one of those things that you will be unbelievably glad when you have it and don't end up, well, again, drowned in medical debt for something you didn't see coming.

Ultimately, growing up is about deciding the purchases that will really pay the dividends long-term versus the ones that you could probably skimp on. And these are ones that you truly can feel good about because it will really end up positively impacting so many more elements of your life than just what you thought they would on paper. And if you've already got all those upgraded life purchases in check, but are wanting to maybe work a little bit on improving your credit, I highly recommend checking out

You can find them at the link in our description. And as always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos.