There are those things you always need to spend money on. Rent or mortgage, utility bills, insurance, and gas for your car. They’re expenses you can easily justify because they’re not wants – they’re cut-and-dried needs.

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But once all those bills are paid, you’re left with all of the other stuff – those things that require money, but aren’t exactly necessities.

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As you already know, tons of different things fit this category. It could be that new sweater you spotted and would love to have in your own closet. Or it could be something you want to purchase in order to improve yourself, like a gym membership or an expensive haircut.

Lately, I’ve personally been putting a great deal of thought into that latter category. I’m someone who feels like I’m never quite finished. I always want to keep learning, growing, and improving.

But with all of those things I want to accomplish, I always find myself coping with one big deterrent that manages to turn me on my heels and send me the other direction: money.

Let’s face it – improving yourself isn’t cheap. Just to list some items currently buzzing around my head:

  • Investing in a personal trainer or nutritionist to be conscious of your own health.
  • Footing the bill to get a master’s degree or taking an online course to learn or improve a skill.
  • Forking over the fees to join an industry association and network with like-minded professionals.
  • Emptying your wallet to get your nails done or pamper yourself at the spa.

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These are all things I’ve been wanting to do. And in all honesty, writing them out like that makes them seem like totally worthwhile (and perhaps even admirable) expenses.

But for some reason, actually feeling the cash leave my hands in order to make them happen has always served as a pretty large roadblock for me – that is, until recently.

There wasn’t a defining moment that I can think of, but there was this undeniable shift in the way I thought about these sorts of expenses. I would have previously walked away and held onto my dollars for something that seemed more prudent.

But I had a realization that if I wasn't willing to invest in myself, nobody else was going to do it for me.

So that very same day, I signed up for a gym membership (which I’ve since been using and loving). Then enrolled in an online course I had been eager to take, and began researching different professional development opportunities in my area. Oh, and I went to get my nails done, too.

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Yes, these things have taken a bit of a bite out of my disposable income. But, in all honesty, that hasn’t bothered me. I think I’m worth spending a little money on here or there – particularly if that money helps to push me forward toward the things I want.

So if you’re one of those people who – much like me – tends to spend money only on the things you need and hold onto the rest of your dollars for a rainy day, consider this a friendly reminder: you’re undoubtedly worth investing in. And while it may not be as immediately justifiable as rent or groceries, it’s definitely still a valuable expense.