Inside: Working on living a simpler life? Here are four better things to do with your money than spend it on stuff.

A guest post by Rose Morrison

If you have money left at the end of the month after paying your bills, it can be a challenge to decide what you want to do with it.

While it’s a fortunate position to be in, you want to be sure your funds are used wisely and go to things you don’t later regret.

Rather than spending it on impulse purchases or the latest trendy item, you can invest it in ways that are more beneficial for your life and future.

What should you consider? Here are four alternative things to do with your money that can mean more than buying something off a store shelf (& won’t add clutter to your home).

better things to do with your money

4 Better Things to Do With Your Money Than Spend It on Stuff

Many people know that they already have too much stuff. When you live in a consumer culture that constantly tells you to acquire more it’s a challenge to stop buying.

A recent survey showed that on average Americans spend $18,000 per year on non-essential goods. That’s a lot of money that could be allocated in different ways to benefit your life rather than fill your home with extra stuff.

Creating a budget and focusing on essentials first is a helpful way to get your spending back on track. There are various ways to simplify your life and save more money in the process.

So, what do you do with your money once the essentials are covered?

Here are four better things to do with your money than spend it on stuff. These will help prevent clutter from piling up in your home and will contribute to your well-being in other ways.

view out airplane window

1. Travel

Going to a new place provides many opportunities to try new things and experience more of the beauty the world has to offer. You often get short-term satisfaction when you purchase an item online or from a retailer.

While a vacation is also short-term for many, the memories you make will last a lifetime.

Many see going out of town as a form of self-care. Spending short periods away from stressors at work and home can help your mind and body relax, allowing you to reset before getting back to it all.

Research shows there are many other benefits to traveling. Here are 6 of them:

1. Lowers your depression risk:

Recent research shows traveling can reduce your risk of depression by up to 70%.

2. Introduces you to new cultures:

Learning about how other people live can help you better understand the world, reducing your subconscious biases.

3. Lets you try new things:

There are many different climates, geographical formations, foods, and entertainment activities across the globe. Traveling to a new location helps you try things your community doesn’t have.

better things to do with your money

4. Increases your physical health:

Aside from relieving the stresses of being at home, you can often take what you learn from a location. Eating healthy is easier when you have many different recipes, and trying foods from other localities and cultures can help add to your collection.

Many cities and theme parks also require a lot of walking, which can boost your step count and help you burn calories.

5. Provides opportunities for socialization:

While there are benefits to using social media to build and maintain relationships, nothing beats having in-person conversations.

When you travel, you might be out of your comfort zone talking to various agents, employees, and fellow travelers. Through these interactions, you can build your confidence and you might make a few new friends along the way.

6. Allows you to learn new languages:

When you travel to a different place, you often have the chance to learn some of their languages.

While many common tourist destinations communicate in English, learning a little about how they communicate by implementing new words and phrases is respectful. Keep practicing, and you’ll learn a skill that’s good for your brain and could help in the future.

With all these benefits, investing in traveling is a great option to consider.

cash and coins

2. Save It for a Rainy Day

Falling on hard times is scary to imagine, but the recent pandemic taught us how quickly circumstances can change when you aren’t expecting it. While your current monthly income may be more than enough to cover recent bills, having a nest egg can give you peace of mind.

Life is far from perfect. Emergencies and unfair employment decisions happen, potentially leaving you without income. Saving extra money means it will be there if disaster strikes.

You don’t have to put everything away to have a rainy day fund. By spending wisely and allocating a portion of your income to the account each month, your funds will build up before you know it. If you get a bonus, you can treat yourself while still living minimally and put the rest into savings. 

This account isn’t just for times of unemployment. You never know when your car will break down, you incur extra fees or rate increases or have unexpected medical expenses. Having enough money to kickstart those payments can put less strain on your overall finances.

If you’re part of a two-income household, consider forming individual savings accounts. That way, you’ll have a backup account to pull from in an emergency.

That can help you to save more and if you have any trouble accessing your funds immediately, you have another source to fall back on.

better things to do with your money

3. Donate to Your Favorite Cause 

Whether donating provides for those in need, fights diseases, rescues animals, or creates programs to better children’s futures, finding the right one to support can be overwhelming.

The good news is there’s no competition. By picking one or a few charities to help each year, you can know your money is going to something meaningful.

Many people donate to charities because they have a personal connection to them, such as supporting troops or finding cures. Before contributing, check verification websites to evaluate the charity before you donate to make sure your money goes where an organization tells you it is.

Your favorite cause doesn’t have to be an organized charity — doing good deeds for your community is giving too. And it’s not just money or material things, it could also be giving your time.

Purchasing new books for a preschool, donating bags of food to a local animal shelter, or stocking local blessing boxes can make a positive difference. Volunteering to help as you’re able is another great way to get involved.

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4. Buy More Time

Time is a precious commodity. You can’t stop the clock, but you can use your spare funds to free up more daily hours.

If you spend a lot of time cleaning, consider hiring a service. Are you tired of landscaping? Get an estimate from local landscapers.

It could be worth the cost if you have the desire and ability to free up everyday tasks.

By hiring out some of your chores, you’ll have more time to spend on self-care and quality time with family and friends.

Buying time could also mean buying ingredients for a meal instead of ordering out, or hiring a babysitter so you and your partner can have a date night.

Time is about quality, not quantity, but freeing up more of it gives you opportunities to do what matters most.

better things to do with your money

What to Do With Your Money 

When you get your spending under control and budget well, you’re more likely to end up with some money left at the end of the month. Deciding what you do with that money entails more than selecting what trinket delights you most on any given day.

Material stuff never brings lasting joy — there are better ways to use your money.

Think about your top priorities and the imprint that you want to make in the world. Consider these four better things to do with your money than spend it on stuff and use your money in a way that you’re proud of.

Rose Morrison is a freelance writer who covers home décor and organization tips. She is also the managing editor of Renovated. You can check out her Twitter to see more of her work.

Which better things to do with your money are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  1. I think that the ranking here should put “Saving for a rainy day” first and foremost. Having extra money saved once a certain amount has accumulated can then be dipped into to utilize in the other possibilities offered. Not only that, if the money saved is invested in some way it will grow for you and become an increasing source of wealth. The freedom from concern about financial affairs offers enormous stress relief and makes for a better life all around. It doesn’t mean being miserly it means being intentional about an important part of life and is a good habit to develop.

  2. I have started giving experiences as gifts instead of stuff too. So, just another ideas that parents seem to enjoy. For Christmas and Birthday gifts my nieces and nephew get to go on an outing. This year for Christmas I bought them each a gift certificate to Fritz adventures for a day full of fun. They enjoyed rock climbing, a trampoline park, and several other kid friendly activities. I think their mom was much happier not to have more toys to sift through.

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