Today, I’m encouraging you to spend your money on what you love. The beauty of personal finance is that it is uniquely specific to what each individual needs and wants. There are general, overarching financial needs that everyone has – think emergency funds, retirement accounts, and just-for-fun money. Everyone who is alive needs to have these in one form or another.
However, my just-for-fun money will be spent very differently than how my family & friends spend their just-for-fun money. This is why I want you to pay very close to attention to what makes you happiest, and then I want you to spend your money on what you love.
Not so fun fact – inflation in Canada is up 6.7% from where it was last year. Boo!!!
A very fun fact – spring has sprung in my corner of the world. Yay!!!! In a few short weeks, I’ll be shopping at a number of greenhouses, picking up various annuals and containers and fertilizers and stakes and nozzles and potting soil… You get the idea. I’m an amateur gardener, and I love the anticipation that comes with the start of the gardening season. One of my favourite ways to spend my money is on flowers. As a matter of fact, I’m taking a container gardening course tomorrow at a local greenhouse.
When I’m feeling a little blue, I visit another greenhouse and tour their gardens and stroll their aisles. Of all the greenhouses I’ve visited, this is the one where I’m most like to find all of the plants I want in one place. One of my favourite greenhouses isn’t particularly large but they have the most spectacular geranium selection I have ever seen in my life. And it was the only place where I found sweet potato vine when I needed it. It is one of my happy places!
My garden is a work in progress.
For me, it is very easy to spend my money on my flowers. I’m trying my hand at planting perennials, since that’s the frugal way of doing things. Last year’s tulips are emerging and I hope to see some blooms very soon. It took some doing but I finally found some hollyhocks for the south wall along my garage. My fingers are crossed that they come back this year. Due to some landscaping work, I had to transplant several established perennials – hostas, balloon flowers, peonies – last year. I’m holding my breath that I didn’t kill them in the process!
Perennials are a frugal gardener’s friend. A one-time investment can yield years of enjoyment. There are spots in my garden where I dislike trying to plant new annuals every year. If I can get my perennials well-established in those spots, my knees and lower back will thank me…. and I’ll have something beautiful to look at instead of just dirt.
However, I’m becoming a huge fan of container gardening too. Elevated planters have been a game-changer for me. Waist-high and arm-length wide, these wonderful creations allow me to comfortably plant, fertilize and water my wee baby plants while standing. I’m in a zone 3, so I can only plant annuals in these planters but that’s okay by me. While I’m a big fan of perennials, I’m an even bigger fan of annuals – petunias, coleus, begonias, geraniums, zinnias! These are my darlings. They’re so colourful! If I don’t particularly enjoy a colour one year, then I simply don’t buy it the next year. Annuals flower for the whole season, while perennials only flower once. They’re all beautiful but there is nothing more satisfying to me than to watch my annuals bloom continuously all summer.
Indulge me for a moment…
Back to spending your money on what you love
So I’ve been in my current home for 18 years… wow! That seems like a long time, but I swear I just moved in a few days ago. Anyway, ever since my first summer here, I’ve been tinkering with a few new flowers each season. Though I still don’t have a formal gardening plan, I’ve enjoyed the show each year. There are so many beautiful and varied things to try. I’m like a kid in the candy store when I visit my greenhouses!
Today, I’m at the point of seriously considering the benefits of hiring a landscape designer and a crew to build some flowerbeds for even more perennials and some raised beds for my annuals. The only drawback I see to this option is the cost. It won’t be cheap. Yet… the fact remains that I likely won’t regret spending my money on this particular want. I have a great big backyard, that’s currently just grass. Gardening is a great hobby, one I can enjoy for the next 20+ years barring any physical limitations. It’s a way for me to get outside and enjoy all the spots of my property. I’m thrilled to see things bloom, and I like the idea of helping pollinators get what they need to stay alive.
One of the reasons that I sacrificed a few experiences when I was younger was so that I could fully fund my RRSP and my TFSA. I’d also wanted to have my non-registered account well-funded long before retirement. My financial dream had been to create a cash flow that I could live on when I stopped working. Lately, I’ve been crunching my numbers with a fee-only financial planner, and various internet calculators. They’re all telling me the same thing – that I will be okay. I’m starting to believe them!
So now it’s time for me to loosen the purse strings a little bit. I’ve enjoyed the journey up to now, but it’s okay for me to enjoy it a little bit more. So kindly wish me the best as I head to the greenhouses with the hordes of other gardeners. There are wee baby plants in my future and it’s almost time for me to get my hands back in the dirt.
So this is my non-professional and completely non-binding advice to you. Do what you need to do to ruthlessly cut out all spending that doesn’t bring you joy. Get out of debt. Fund your emergency, retirement, and investment accounts to the best of your ability. Spend some fun-money along the way, but not too much! When you’ve identified what brings you the most joy, spend your money freely. Do so with a smile on your face and joy in your heart as you spend your money on what you love!