I think the best “splurge” young adults can make is on travel and experiences. Studies have shown time and time again that spending money on experiences like travel makes us far happier than spending money on material goods. Travel can indeed be expensive; you could buy a lot of “stuff” for the cost of one excursion to the other side of the world. But taking such a trip has the chance not only to be a lifelong memory but also to be a life-changing event. The right experiences have the potential to make you a better—and at the very least, a more interesting—person, student, and job candidate.
While I would never encourage someone to go into debt, there are times when borrowing money is appropriate to help you accomplish worthy goals, such as using a student loan to get your degree or a mortgage to buy a home. For a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you might not regret borrowing money to make it possible—just be sensible. I understand not everyone is in the position to travel the world or even drive from California to Maine. But as you think about how you allocate your limited spending money, consider emptying your Amazon shopping cart to rent a boat with friends instead. Go skydiving or even hit up a five-star restaurant for a special occasion. In 15 years, you’ll remember these things; the stuff you bought will be collecting dust in storage.
Need help getting started on saving your money? Check out these Budgeting Basics and Spreadsheet for College Students.