Investing in Me

I have never been what most would call “frugal.” I am not thrifty, I am not a couponer, I am not a price-comparison shopper, I am not a budgeter. I am, to the endless annoyance and bewilderment of my far more financially responsible sister, one of those people that just buys stuff.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be tacky or insensitive or bragging about my privilege or anything like that, I’m just being honest. I recognize that I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I can buy most of the stuff that I want without having to plan for it — and, of course, I’m not talking about impulse-buying $1000 handbags or giant plasma screens or any huge ticket items like that. I’m just talking about things like the sushi dog plushie I ordered off of Etsy, or my Stitch Fix (and BirchBox… and Julep…) subscription, or the two pairs of Seychelles shoes that I purchased off Amazon last night.

So, yes, I am very fortunate to be in a place right now where, between my full-time job, my book sales, my blog income, and various other projects (like the occasional photo gig or shooting weddings with Ben), I do have a bit of disposable income. And while it has been important for me to have that buffer, not so that I can shower myself with gifts but so I can afford things like Daxter’s most recent trip to the emergency vet, I’ve recently (or, rather, finally) come to the conclusion that my money could most definitely be better well-spent.

I’m not much of an investor. I mean, I have my 401(k), and I have a Roth IRA set up, and now that I work for Yelp I have some stock option stuff that I still don’t fully understand, but I’ve never devoted too much of my time to figuring out where to invest my money. Most of my extra money ends up going into my savings account, and I’ve always been fine with the 0.004% dividend or whatever I get from that every month, haha. And while, as I get older, I’m sure that being financially-savvy and investing my money wisely will become more of a priority for me, at this specific time in my life, there’s really only one thing that I think I need to concentrate my investments in: myself.

The past year has included a lot of awesome stuff in the life department. I landed a true dream job, I wrote a book that, at least according to the Amazon reviews thus far, isn’t terrible, I’m in a great relationship, I have an awesome family that I am obnoxiously close to, fabulous friends… life’s pretty good. So, unlike the first time I started on this health and weight loss journey, when a lot of those other things were pretty much at their lowest, I’m in a pretty amazing place. Which is why concentrating on my weight loss, concentrating on breaking those terrible habits, instituting some good ones, and generally finding that balance I so desperately crave, is finally a priority again.

I’ve always been a big talker. I talk a lot about all the things I want to be do, the experiences I want to have, and the ways I want to improve myself, but I’ve never been particularly great at follow-through. Like, I want to go hot air ballooning and I want to visit Japan outside of Narida airport and I want to finally eat at Toki Underground, but I never make plans to actually do any of those things. And so, beyond what I’m doing to improve my health and lose weight, I’m in a place where I also want to do all the other things for myself I always talked about doing. And so, for once, I am.

Which is why I finally bit the bullet, and decided to get LASIK back in October.

Untitled –> Untitled

And is also why two days ago I got lingual braces.


You’re welcome for that extremely flattering shot of the inside of my mouth.

I actually had braces back when I was 12/13, but once I got to college stopped wearing my retainer (sorry mom and dad!) and, well, you know how it goes. And while my teeth are not in the worst condition, my top teeth have always bothered me. Some people may be quick to say that I don’t “need” braces, and while that’s technically true because it’s not like my teeth don’t work, it’s something I’ve been wanting to fix for a very long time:

EYEphone Outtake

Ignoring the rest of the bizarre photo (don’t ask), this is a good example showing the off-kilterness of my teeth. So I got lingual (behind the teeth) braces, just on top. My bottom teeth are also kind of messed up, but the orthodontist wanted me to get a tooth extracted and all sorts of craziness, plus you can’t even see them when I smile and I totally admit that this is primarily a vanity thing soooooo… yeah. And my teeth hurt crazy bad and my tongue is super pissed at me for putting metal all up in my mouth, but on the bright side, eating is extremely difficult right now so this should be awesome for my diet. #silverlining

But here’s where my original point about money comes full-circle — finally! — because obviously when you’re talking about stuff like metal brackets in your mouth and laser eye surgery, you’re not talking nickels and dimes. You’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars. But, as I said before, it’s not like I had really been spending most of my money on particularly significant things (Daxter emergencies aside, of course). And this kind of stuff? It is significant, at least to me. Because it is spending money ON me.

Getting LASIK is already the BEST money I could have possibly spent on myself. I know I owe you a thorough post about what getting LASIK was like, but for now I’ll just say that it was totally, completely, 100% worth it. If you’re feeling impatient, you can check out my Yelp review of The Eye Center for a more detailed look at the actual process, but I promise I will update you all here soon.

And there it is! As my sister pointed out when I was speaking with her, I got my LASIK in 2013, and I’m doing my braces in 2014, so let’s start taking bets now on what ridiculously expensive thing I do for myself in 2015, eh? Personally, I’m gunning for a week-long trip back to Harry Potter World (the Diagon Alley expansion opens this summer!!!) or… something else. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In what ways have you invested/are you investing in yourself? It doesn’t have to be monetarily, that’s just the direction I took this post in. Could be money, could be time, could be effort… After all, the things I’m doing to improve my eating habits, exercise habits (kind of…), and overall health are big investments in myself as well!


  1. you plus me plus toki. happening soon. I really want to go to HPW too….I need to go home to fla on a non holiday/not summer. I don’t touch the theme parks at those times.

  2. You are my muse. When I finally get past the making-ends-meet portion of my life (don’t worry, I’m going to get a book deal and make millions, so it will totally happen), my big hope is to be able to afford braces. Again. In starting my Etsy shop, it was actually sort of a reach goal financially.

    Then last week we had to buy a washer and dryer. So. Rain check on those braces. But it’s really, really nice to have clean socks.

  3. Maybe you’ll purchase a really, really nice dress in 2015 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Jennifer Maksays:

    Lasik really is investing! no more $200 contacts a year + $100 lenses for glasses! Oh and your time spent caring for contacts is invaluable. All multiplied by the rest of your lifetime = WORTH IT.

  5. I had lasik in 2012!! AMAZING. Best decision ever. The ways that I am investing in myself this year is number 1 I am moving into my own apartment. I have had less than stellar roommates (well their animals, not so much them) and I am treating myself to some ME TIME ALL THE TIME.

    Next up I will be getting sports massages monthly. Last year I had knee surgery to replace my ACL that decided it would cease to be any more. Because of that I need to be extra cautious with my training and treat my body right!

  6. I had braces when I was 13, and did OK with wearing my retainer, but my teeth shifted anyways a bit. Before I went off my parents’ insurance I got invaslign, and now religiously wear my retainers. I’m glad I made that decision. I’ve thought about Lasik but it makes me SO so nervous.
    One way I invested in myself this past year was getting certified to be a pilates barre instructor!

  7. Every now and again, when something financial comes up, I giggle at our HLS roommate pairing. The cheapest person on the planet rooming with a not-so-frugal person led to lots of, “But the train only costs $1.75!” “But Uber is so much easier!” “But $1.75!”


    Quitting my job was a HUGE investment in me. And it took a lot of monetary sacrifice for years prior to make it happen (which I’m actually writing about for a post next week).

    Right now, our two big investments aren’t investments yet, just saving for future investments: saving to refinish our basement and saving for Baby J’s college. Oh! And paying off our house. We’d love to own our house outright by the time the kid goes off to college.

    • Gretchensays:

      Hahaha, it’s so true. One of the only ways we are not twinsies, hahaha. But that’s why you are such a good influence on me! Because while I’m sure I will always be of the mindset that I’ll pay a little more for ease/speed/comfort, there are a lot of things I spend money on unnecessarily. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I had LASIK about 15 years ago and it was by far one of the very best things I ever did. It made just a huge difference to my life.

  9. I love this topic! I invest in myself every year by taking an international trip. I live for travel, so for me, it pays to be skimpy about other things all year long so I can take a few trips.

  10. CrystalBsays:

    I have full braces on top and bottom. I am 32. I got them last year because although my teeth were straight, I could not bite through food anymore. Unfortunately, insurance wouldn’t cover it even though I was having trouble eating. On the upside, my husband works for a dental manufacturing facility and they offer employee and family braces in return for being an R&D guinea pig. Three years total, looking like a high school kid, and I couldn’t be happier!

  11. Not to sound too stalker-ish, but I so want to be like you when I grow up! I love that you have blossomed in the past year. There are so many things that you have done, are doing, that I have wanted to do for myself that I am just too chicken to actually go through with. (Your purple hair, Your amazing job with Yelp, Writing a book & publishing it to be a few)

    I have claimed 2014 as the year for me. I have made some pretty life altering decisions for myself this year already. My husband and I are building a house in a town 30 minutes away from where we live now, which means moving away from my mom. I haven’t lived away from my mom since I have had children (5 years). I know that it will be harder, but I also feel that my husband and I will grow so much through having to depend on each other for more. I am excited about finding a new job for next school year, and I am even trying to develop a business plan for a creative gift shop/home goods boutique.

    Thank you for sharing, and if you need a trip partner for HPW I am so down!

  12. Carolinesays:

    So I’ve been reading your site for a few months now but this is the first time I’ve commented. Love following your journey and am totally rooting for you! Also had to comment because you mentioned Julep to me which was amazing because my cousin’s wife is Jane Park, the founder and CEO of Julep! That is pretty awesome. Do you get the Julep Maven box?

    • Gretchensays:

      No way, that is awesome! Yep, I’m a Julep Maven! Totally, totally addicted. ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. We’re waiting on a somewhat big job to come through and I have claimed part of it to go get my LASIK consultation and see if I can make it happen because well…it’s what I want! ๐Ÿ™‚

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