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Spending money doesn’t always make you happier. But some purchases will actually streamline your days or make your life easier, and those, consumers find, are typically well worth the price.
CNBC Make It asked CEOs and entrepreneurs to share one expense that is worth the cost. Here’s what they had to say.
“Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec is always willing to shell out extra for valet parking.
It typically costs between $10 and $20 to have his car parked, he tells CNBC Make It, but it’s an expense he doesn’t mind because it buys him time: “The greatest resource I have is my time. I am always trying to find ways to get more of it.”
For Herjavec, spending $15 on valet parking is well worth it because he can use the time he saves to go out and make more money than he spent. “In life, you rarely have these two things together — time and money,” he says. “When you have an abundance of one, you should try to get more of the other.”
Another way to gain more time is to outsource various tasks.
“If I can buy time by outsourcing personal tasks — preparing taxes, hanging bookshelves, making lunch — it is often worth the price tag,” CEO of XO Group Inc. Mike Steib tells CNBC Make It. “Time is my scarcest resource. I always want more time with my family, more time for work, more time for personal development.”
Olivia Landau, co-founder and CEO of The Clear Cut, tells Make It that she outsources accounting-related tasks: “While DIY is all the rage at the moment, I would not suggest it for dealing with the IRS. It is completely worth the price tag to have competent accountants.”
Theresa Bruno, founder and CEO of Jordan Alexander, agrees. She tells Make It that one of the smartest investments she’s made has been hiring a small financial team: “It’s worth spending the money to invest in teams who can help advise where needed.”
It’s no surprise that biking to work instead of driving or even taking public transit can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every year. Financial blogger Trent Hamm found that investing in a commuter bike could easily pay for itself in less than one month.
An active commute may also spark inspiration, as co-founder and CEO of Modern Fertility Afton Vechery found. She tells CNBC Make It: “I bought my bike from my local San Francisco bike shop citizen chain. It is an old steel frame with new parts and three gears, so I can get up the San Francisco hills. I bike to every meeting and it is when I find myself being the most creative.”
“They’re made from Egyptian cotton,” he says of his boxers from Zimmerli of Switzerland. “I love them.”
O’Leary, who also admits to getting $80 haircuts, believes in looking and feeling his best. He tells CNBC Make It: “I invest in looking great all the time, and the way I do it is [paying for] great clothing, great shoes and a haircut every 10 days.”
Keith George, co-founder and CEO of CoEdition, also justifies big ticket clothing items. “Three years ago, I bought a Moncler jacket during men’s fashion week in Milan,” he tells CNBC Make It. “In June! I walked out into the summer Italian heat and thought, ‘What the hell did I just do?’ It wasn’t cheap, plus I had to pack it back to New York.
“However, I have since worn that jacket almost every winter’s day for the past several years, making it the lowest cost-per-wear item in my entire closet.”
In addition to clothes, high-quality accessories may be worth the price tag.
“I typically carry around a large laptop to do design work while on the go and finding a messenger bag for a large laptop that doesn’t look too ‘techy’ is pretty hard,” Simon Enever, co-founder and CEO of quip, tells CNBC Make It. “I bought a Knomo leather messenger bag while at university in England and $350 felt like a ridiculous amount to spend on a bag at the time. Ten years later, I have worn this bag almost everyday since buying it, traveled thousands of miles for business and vacations with it and still have no intention of changing it.”
“We bought an entire room of state of the art photography equipment for our start-up office with little knowledge of how to even use it,” Roy Mann, co-founder and CEO monday.com, tells CNBC Make It. “Having the equipment on-hand though inspired our creative team and graphic designers to learn how to use it and now we create, shoot and direct all of our creative materials and advertising in-house.
“At the beginning, such an expense seemed wasteful but since we discovered that investing in creative equipment is totally worth the price, we went on to build a complete DIY room, a 3D printer, full scale plotters and a wood-cutting CNC machine. While they also came with hefty price tags and unusual things to find in the office of a software start-up, it changed how we create things and opened us up to so much more.”
Depending on where you live, an in-unit washing and drying machine may be a given. If you live in a city, though, like co-founder of Keeps Steven Gutentag, it’s not always guaranteed.
“I recently moved into an apartment with a washer, dryer,” he tells CNBC Make It. “It’s been life-changing. I’m already saving time and money, and not having to rush out of the office to pick up my laundry before the laundromat closes. How did I not do this sooner?”
Successful people will often tell you to invest in yourself by spending money on things that will keep you healthy, happy and energized. Take “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran, who hates wasting money, she tells CNBC Make It, but has two guilty pleasures: fresh flowers and fun with her girlfriends.
“Leave the husband at home and the kids, and just go away and drink way too much wine and see how hard you can laugh,” she says. “If you drop dead, you’re going to be happy that day.”
Rachel Blumenthal, founder and CEO of Rockets of Awesome, splurges on gel pedicures and acupuncture. “I have a standing weekly acupuncture appointment to help me with my migraines,” she tells CNBC Make It. “It always feels gratuitous and indulgent but it’s the best money and time I spend. It’s truly helped me and it’s incredibly relaxing.”
For Adam Weinstein, co-founder and CEO of Cursor, a fancy GPS sports watch was worth the price tag. “Being a diehard long distance runner, I splurged on the then-latest Garmin Forerunner 935 last summer,” he tells CNBC Make It. “It’s a completely over-the-top watch for just about anyone, but as a data geek, it’s amazing.”
And for Allon Bloch, co-founder and CEO of K Health, spending $1,000 on his two dogs is “definitely the best purchase I’ve ever made. … They’re great company and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.”
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