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Closeup portrait of smiling woman looking at camera, wearing earrings

America may be the land of dreams, but in many ways it’s the land of carefully crafted consumer-driven dreams. Every minute we’re bombarded with messages about what’s worth our hard-earned money and how spending money on A will get us to B. It’s not often things pan out the way we’re shown in ads, and we often miss out on things that would truly enhance our lives by spending money on temporary tokens of happiness –you know retail therapy and the like.

In thinking about all the ways we throw money away and in turn say we “can’t afford” the things we really need, we came up with this definitive list of items which are the only things you ever need to truly invest in in life. And, of course, because no one’s perfect we threw in a splurge item or two.

  • Education: Whatever you choose to do with your life, spend the money needed to educate yourself in order to excel. Whether that means training, certifications, or a degree, know that the money you spend up front will be returned once you go into practice equipped with the proper information.
  • A nice home: “Nice” is subjective but the underlying principle here is at the end of the day you need a place where you can relax, retreat and forget about the cares of the day and the outside world. Not to mention owning propery can be a lucrative financial investment.
  • A good coat:  All you need is one quality coat to carry you through the winter months and perhaps a leather jacket for the spring and fall. Everything else is just to stunt.
  • One good pair of shoes: Okay we know nobody is going to survive on just one pair of shoes, but we’re talking an investment pair. The pair you wear to close that business deal or on your first date with the guy your gut tells you could be the one. You don’t need a closet full of Pradas; just one great pair that goes with anything.
  • A nice handbag: Like shoes, we know hardly any woman alive is going to just have one handbag, but the point is unless you really have it, allow yourself to splurge on one quality bag and take good care of it. Let it be your statement piece.
  • A good man: Don’t hitch your wagon to just any old thing; once you find a man whose proven himself — and his commitment to you — invest in his continued personal and professional development through encouragement and maybe even via business ventures. His wins are your wins.
  • Your health: Without your health, nothing else on this list matters. Make it a priority always; that includes your mental, emotional, and physical health.
  • Travel: The western way is not the only way. Travel expands your perspective on every single aspect of life and study after study has shown people feel happier spending money on experiences — like travel — rather than things.
  • Your dreams: Never hesitate to invest in yourself and your passion. You can’t put a price on following your dreams. Living with never knowing what would’ve happened if you tried is what’s costly.
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