Life isn’t a cheap endeavour. In fact, an astounding 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. It seems these days everyone is struggling to keep up with the Joneses on top of paying for large houses, SUVs, soccer camp, and student loans. To offset the high cost of living, people are trying to figure out where they can cut corners. They’re eating out less, taking less time off work for vacations, and cutting the cord on cable and other household expenses. There are some parts of life, however, where you shouldn’t cut corners. Here are some things worth spending your money on.

Investing in Your Home

If you’re a homeowner, then you may know that your house is an investment, but only if it maintains its equity. If you simply purchase your home and let it sit for the next thirty years without ever making any home improvements, routine maintenance, or repairs, then your home is likely going to deteriorate quickly. Investing in your home in a way that makes sense can be beneficial when the time comes to sell your home. It may not pay off to install that gigantic home theater you’ve been dreaming of, but updating your kitchen so it’s in this century, making sure your home is up to code, and keeping the roofing, windows, and HVAC system can be smart money moves.

Healthy Food

Often, junk food comes with a lower price tag than healthier alternatives. It can be tempting to get more bang for your buck and stock up on chips, cookies, and fattening foods. However, over time, consuming these unhealthy foods can actually cost you more money due to diabetes, dental issues, and unnecessary weight gain. Invest more money up front by purchasing high quality, healthy foods for your family. Not only can it keep you healthier than consuming junk food, but you’ll instill good habits in your children to eat things that are good for them.

Your Health

People often neglect their health when they’re trying to save money, but that can be a mistake. Skipping out on your yearly checkups and failing to rest when you’re sick can actually make your sicker and cause you lost wages and time with your family. If you’re worried about copays and deductibles, invest in a good health insurance plan, which can give you added peace of mind knowing that not only you’re protected in the event of a health emergency, but your family can be taken care of as well.

Vacation

You may be tempted to skip the family vacation this year to save money, but try to refrain. Skipping out on vacation can be detrimental to your mental and physical health, not to mention you’ll be losing out on the opportunity to create precious family memories. There is real value in investing in experiences over things, since the memories generally last longer than material objects. Taking time off can also help you combat stress, fatigue, and burnout and make you a more productive employee when you do return to work.

Your Future

Retirement may seem like it’s eons away, but it sneaks up faster than you realize. Don’t waste years of your life having an “I’ll do it later” attitude, or you may find yourself cruising into your golden years with less money than you need to live on. Take advantage of your employer match, ramp up your contributions, and change your investment strategy to align with your retirement goals.

There are a lot of areas in life where cutting corners may sense and can help free up money in your budget. However, when it comes to these five areas, it may only hurt you more in the long run if you try to cut corners, so try to avoid doing so if you can.