[This post is my submission for the December edition of Figuring Good Out, the new EA blogging carnival.]
On the quest to be frugal I think many EAs miss good opportunities to invest in themselves.
General wisdom suggests that you shouldn't spend too much of your money on things that you don't need. And that makes perfect sense. As money, time, and attention are limited resources, you need to be selective about how you allocate them. There are a lot of changes most people can make that will save them time and money without sacrificing anything comparable. However, I do think this mindset can be limiting, especially for young people with big dreams and a long road ahead toward achieving them.
Instead, I think that it's often right to spoil yourself by "wasting" time and money. I recommend spending "too much" on clothing, furniture, and other cool stuff. Whether or not you are materialistic or superficial, most other people are. Possessing nice stuff makes you come off as more impressive, more competent, more self-aware, and more attractive. (Yup, halo effect.) You'll also gain confidence, more relatable things to talk about, and, of course, some cool stuff.
I don't think pinching pennies is the necessary way to live as an EA, especially if you're young and building up career capital. Overspending on nice stuff has social repercussions that most EAs could probably use.
The same could be said for time. Taking breaks, having hobbies, learning about new subjects, and generally spoiling yourself can be really useful for keeping you motivated and on track. This might be especially true for those that feel as if they have unusually high potential.
In particular, I'm thinking of items and subjects that are generally considered to be for the superficial, materialistic, and hip: expensive clothing, accessories, pop culture, sports, plants, hip restaurants and cafes, etc.
"Wasting" your time and money is sometimes an effective way of investing in yourself.
Note: I don't think this post applies to everyone but I believe it's often true of myself in my current situation.