Some things are useful. Deodorant, for example, or food.
But a lot of things are just "stuff". Things that you don't really want or need, that clutter up your house and you don't genuinely value.
So here are 10 things you can spend your money on that aren't really things.
1: Buying something for someone in need
Whether it's one of those Oxfam goat gifts (where you buy something like livestock, seeds, or other essentials for an impoverished farmer in Africa) or a suspended coffee at your local cafe (where you pay for an extra coffee for a person in need) - buying for someone else in need is a great way to spend your money.
You will get nothing out of this except knowing that you're making the world a better place - and that is enough!
2. An experience
Whether you fancy a chilled-out spa day with your best friend, or prefer a lesson in sky-diving, an experience is a fantastic way to spend your money on. If you choose something undemanding, you will get some much-needed rest and relaxation - and maybe even some time to reflect on what you're doing and where you're going. If you choose something challenging, you'll get an adrenaline rush, a boost of confidence, and will learn something new!
3. A course
Learning stuff is not just for school! A course - whether it's one day, a weekend or a few weeks or months - can be an excellent use of your money. Not only will you learn something specific - a language, a sport , how to teach others, for example - but you will also learn transferable skills, such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and communication. Plus, it's a great addition to your CV, which could give you the edge over other job-seekers when you're looking for a new position!
4. Your body
You've only got one (we hope) so you should look after it properly! You could take up a new exercise class, or join a gym if you wanted to improve your fitness and feel like you look better. Or you could pay for a private health check, where you get screened for stuff (useful if you think you're at risk for an illness that needs to be caught early). Another way of spending money on your body is on your appearance, whether that's using a stylist, getting new stuff for your skin, or something as simple as a good haircut.
The twin payoffs of spending money on your body are feeling better, and having the confidence that comes from knowing you look good!
5. Your mind
Whether you're mentally ill, mentally well, or feel like you're somewhere in the middle, spending your money on improving your mind can help you in every area of your life. You could buy a meditation app, get books on mindfulness, or pay for therapy or counselling if you need it (many services charge on a sliding scale to make it more affordable). There are also online courses you can do, from CBT to overcoming things in your past that are affecting you.
If that sort of thing is not for you, you can spend your money improving your mind through knowledge - again, through books or courses. You could even attend talks in real life!
6. Investing (for yourself or others)
You don't need to be loaded to start investing, you just need a bit of spare cash. What you invest, and how you choose to invest it, will depend on your own personal style - how much risk you want to take, how much you understand about investing, and how much your ethics will play a part.
You can also make micro-loans to people in poorer countries, to help them with their businesses or social enterprise projects. Some people prefer this approach to giving as an alternative to charity - and you still get the warm fuzzies from knowing that you're helping people out of poverty.
7. Improving your job prospects
Another way of spending money to make more money is to work on getting a better job. You might upgrade your wardrobe to more suitable interview clothes. You could hire a service to improve your CV or LinkedIn profile. You could take a course in something specific to your industry, or subscribe to an industry-specific publication.
You can also spend money on networking events or membership organisations, to get you talking to the people who could get you a job. Networking is one of the best ways to get a new job, but you have to get out there!
This was going to come up, given that this site is all about travel! Travelling does everything - expands your horizons, pushes you out of your comfort zone, introduces you to new people and places, teaches you new things every day - we could go on! Spending your money on tickets and accommodation is one of the best investments you will ever make - you can't put a price on the memories you'll make. Whether you go for a week or two, or months (or even years), you're guaranteed to have an unforgettable time!
If all that's got you excited about spending your money on things, have a look at all our career breaks here - you're bound to find one to suit you!