7 Ways to Invest in Yo’ Self Instead of Your Retirement

a cropped shot of a man and woman holding coffee cups

Sure, saving for retirement sounds smart.

But we millennials know life’s all about living in the now. That’s why we trade the dignity of homeownership for the deliciousness of avocado toast and refuse to waste even a moment rinsing spent bowls of cereal.

It might seem like lack of forethought, and in extreme cases, it might even be mistaken for laziness.

But really, our unique approach to life is anything but aimless. It’s all about self-care.

That’s why these “superfluous” expenses are actually totally worthy investments. What’s a few bucks a week — or even a few hundred — when your wellbeing is at stake?

I mean, YOLO, right?

7 Easy Ways to Blow the Money You Could Save for Retirement

Here are a few of our favorite ways to treat yo’ self today — future you be damned.

1. Try a New Boutique Fitness Class Every Few Months

Pure Barre, SoulCycle, Orangetheory… surely one of these catchily, binomial programs will transform you into somebody who actually enjoys exercise.

2. Keep up Your Latte-a-Day Habit

No matter what the personal-finance gurus say, there are precious few pleasures in life small and tangible enough to literally hold in your hands. The warmth of overpriced steamed milk and espresso through cardboard is one of them.

And let’s be honest, downgrading to McDonald’s or quitting the juice cold turkey are just not viable options.

Besides, how else will you get through the unnecessary, wasteful commute to a job you could totally do from home?

3. A Series of Candles or Incense Sets That Smell Like Exotic Locales You Can Never Afford to Visit

Tahitian Vanilla, Bora Bora Sea Breeze, Indonesian Coconut Verbana — an exotic escape is just a few bucks away.
OK, like $34 at Anthropologie. Still beats airfare, am I right?

4. Keep a Fresh Mani or Pedi

As long as your nails look nice, no one needs to know you walk through life on the perpetual brink of a panic attack.

5. A Blue Apron Subscription

Sure, it’s cheaper to just go to the grocery store and buy your own ingredients. And all that packaging probably isn’t the best thing ever for the environment.

And, yes, since you’re still single, even the smallest delivery option means you’ll eat the same meal six times this week.

But the tiny little baggie of exactly three sprigs of thyme is so cute, it’s basically therapeutic. Besides, you deserve the smug satisfaction of bringing your leftover vidalia onion and kale tarts to work for lunch on Wednesday, right? You’re not even lying when you say they’re homemade.

6. Happy Hour With Your Colleagues. Again

I read somewhere that booze isn’t actually bad for you, so long as it’s imbibed in a cheerily self-deprecating social setting.

7. A Commercial-Free Hulu Subscription

Yeah, you’re already paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime, but “The Handmaid’s Tale” is just prescient, you know? Besides, keeping up with pop culture is basically a networking requirement.

It’s Really Not That Hard to Save for Retirement

In all seriousness, saving for retirement is one of the purest forms of self-care we can think of. Doing so means taking responsibility for your future — and buying your future self a hard-earned break from working life.

Plus, if you start early, you’ll be surprised at how little it takes to build up a livable nest egg. One of our writers found 21-year-olds could look forward to a comfortable retirement by socking away just $25 per week, which is about how much each item on this list costs.

Modern technology makes the savings process itself even easier. If you open an IRA, for example, you can set up an automatic transfer in minutes, seamlessly sending a fraction of each paycheck into the account.

And if your employer offers a 401(k) plan, it’s really simple: Just opt in, and the funds will automatically be deducted from your wages. You’ll never even miss having the cash in your checking account. And in many cases, your boss will match a percentage of your contribution. (Psst: That means free money!)

No matter what kind of retirement account you use or how you fund it, just make sure you set something aside on a regular basis. Unfortunately, a shocking number of Americans never do — and it’s no fun trying to catch up when you find yourself facing your 50th birthday.

Besides, Penny Hoarders know it’s totally possible to save money while living fully, whether that means traveling, dining, bar-hopping or splurging on a ticket to that can’t-miss game.

That’s why we hoard pennies in the first place, after all: To have money to spend on the experiences that matter most to us. Just make sure you figure your future experiences into the equation!

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) has written for SELF, Ms. Magazine, Roads & Kingdoms, VinePair, The Write Life, Wonderfilled Magazine, Barclaycard’s Travel Blog, Santander Bank’s Prosper and Thrive and other outlets. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel and frugality.