A lot of people have this common misconception that more money is simply going to make all of their problems disappear. Now, don’t get me wrong, more money certainly can’t hurt the situation and it’s a terrific feeling when you can walk into a store, pick up anything you want, and not worry about paying the credit card bill at the end of the month. Money buys freedom.
But all of us earn a finite amount of money. It could be $30k, $100k or $500k a year, but it’s still a finite amount of money. As such, we can and should be careful about how we choose to spend this money. Are we getting the optimal return on investment?
When we think about all of our purchases this way, especially in the context of growing our online businesses, we might think that some buys are simply a waste of money. But are they?
Gaming for Fun and Profit?
Here’s an example of life finding a way… or rather me finding a way to make life find a way. I’ve been a big fighting game fan since way back in the early 90s with the release of Street Fighter II. When Street Fighter IV was released in 2008, I bought it on launch day.
When Street Fighter V was released in early 2016, I hesitated. I hesitated because as a relatively new dad, I figured I wouldn’t have much time to play it and it would be a “waste of time.”
So, I waited. And waited. Meanwhile, I got anxious to play the game after watching a few videos on YouTube and following a few tournaments through Twitch. I was clearly very interested in SFV. I even went over to my friend’s house to play and that just made me want it more. But I resisted, because it would be a “waste of money.”
But on Father’s Day, I bit the bullet and bought the game as a gift to myself. It was only $70 (Canadian), which realistically isn’t much money at all. But I deprived myself of several months of playing, because I thought it wouldn’t be “worth it” for me.
Paying for Itself
On the surface, spending $70 on that game could be seen as a waste of time and money. On another level, I make my living as a freelance writer and part of what I do is review a variety of gadgets and technology. I didn’t review the game itself, but it opened up additional opportunities.
After seeing an update on their Facebook and Twitter pages, I reached out to a company that makes and sells arcade sticks. They had a couple of new sticks. I sent over an email asking if they had review samples. They promptly shipped me both new arcade sticks. The retail value of these sticks total about $150 US (just under $200 Canadian) and I’ll get to keep them.
I could have done these reviews playing some older games, but people reading these reviews are understandably more interested in newer games. In that way, buying Street Fighter V practically paid for itself.
It Takes Money to Make Money
You should absolutely consider the return on investment (ROI) when you decide to open your wallet. That makes good financial sense. However, you also shouldn’t get too caught up on ROI alone, because it’s only part of the picture.
It’s not a waste of money to buy a new camera so you can start shooting vlogs on a regular basis. You could try to shoot these videos with your existing smartphone, but you could end up wasting much more time in figuring out how to edit them and polish them up. Buying a new camera saves you time and produces a better quality product. It’s not a waste of money.
It’s not a waste of money to pay for a high quality copywriter to produce a great sales letter for your product or service. Even if this sales page generates practically no sales for you, there’s value to be extracted and lessons to be learned. And you can apply this experience to your future endeavors.
And yes, even a “leisure” purchase like buying a new video game might not be a waste of money, so long as you position that purchase in such a way that it can become worth your while down the long haul. You’re investing in yourself, your happiness, and your mental well-being. Without those, no amount of success or money is going to keep you moving forward.