Learn A Thing: How To ‘Waste Money’ To Improve Your Quality Of Life

We’re always told that how we spend our money is super important; to save, invest and put enough aside for later in life. While all of that is true, we often forget to consider investing in ourselves.

Tim Ferriss – a multi-New York Times best-selling author (think The 4-Hour Work Week, a book which revolutionised the way we choose to be productive) and angel investor with a successful podcast – recently asked an excellent question on his show: what would you ‘waste money’ on to improve the quality of your life? “This seems like a bad thing,” he says, “but it’s not. It’s trading pennies for dollars”.

#181: How to ‘Waste Money’ To Improve the Quality of Your Life – start it at 17 minutes

What he means by ‘waste’

This question involves taking the income you would usually save or invest financially and spending it on your own wellbeing. If you couldn’t invest it, save it or pay off any debts, what would you do with it to make your life better?

Tim says that if you’re in a position where you have a little bit of disposable income each month, you might still be tethered to behaviours from a time when you had to live a frugal lifestyle, because money was a scarcer resource than your time. We might earn more, but we still are programmed with the belief that there will never be enough money and so we need to save or invest it. But modifying your survival behaviours into abundance behaviours is the key to improve your quality of life.

He gave the example of flying to Australia for a speaking engagement, where he decided to purchase an economy ticket despite being able to afford business class (lucky him!). He thought the extra $2000 for a business class ticket was waste of money, but didn’t sleep a wink in economy. That meant he wasn’t on top form for his speaking engagement, and had to pump through caffeine and spend all nighters prepping, which then caused his health to suffer for a week after. He realised, if coming at this from an abundance mindset, that ‘investing’ the $2000 to have a great sleep on the flight was definitely worth not getting sick  and the potential new business opportunities he could have secured from being on top of his game at his speaking engagement.

So how do you do it?

When you’ve reached a certain level in Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs (that is, when you have your basic and some of your psychological needs met and can focus on your self-fulfillment) you don’t make decisions from within a survival mindset.

Pick a number, say $500 of disposable income a month (this is outside of your bills), and write down a list of ways you can ‘waste’ this money on things that drive you crazy or drag down your quality of life. Test out investing in ways to delegate these things for a week or two to identify what are the smallest changes that have the largest impact on your quality of life.


Maslow’s pyramid.

It’s a fascinating concept that sounds like it should be a normal consideration, but in reality isn’t; to invest in our own wellbeing. Responses to the podcast were varied with some commenters stating they’d spend that extra cash on things like gym memberships, organic food, facials and meditation retreats.

Others said they’d catch more cabs and Ubers, eat out more and generally invest that money in allowing themselves the freedom to avoid chores.

The whole point is the time is a precious resource – and this thinking frees up more time which you can use to create more abundance in your life.


Want to start saving?

Open a Westpac savings account to take control of your money.

Find Out More