One of your comments to my recent post Are you letting ‘future you’ pay for today really got me thinking. While that post was all about people making big purchases now hoping that “future them” will be able to pay for it, reader Cat made an interesting point. She commented:
I think it’s a fine line between letting the future you pay for the “now” and then worrying so much about the future that you don’t let yourself have any fun now. I’m the latter version of this. I plan, plan, plan, and pay down debt and never let myself have any fun or do anything exciting
(Hey Cat: bet you didn’t think you’d be in a blog post!)
I used to be like this myself. Before I met The Hubby, I was a huge budget miser. I rarely let myself get coffee out (unless I was meeting up with a friend to catch up). I bought the cheapest of everything. I never splurged. I was so worried about getting into debt like I saw of my friends doing or living a financial wreck of a life like my parents. (More on that in a future post…)
Every spare cent went towards paying down my student loans and saving up for the future. I was terrified to spend anything on myself or “just for the fun of it.” Then The Hubby came along and made me realize that, as much as he admired my discipline, I was maybe being a leeetle too hard on myself.
You shouldn’t make future you OR present you miserable
My trouble was that I was taking financial responsibility to the extreme, like Ebenezer Scrooge living in his tiny freezing apartment eating gruel every night even though he had more than enough money to live in comfort.
In finances, as in any other part of life, it’s all about balance. Going too far to either extreme isn’t healthy, and it isn’t good for your happiness level. We need to learn to find that middle ground where we’re planning for the future but also allowing ourselves to enjoy the present. As I wrote (in my very second post for B&B!), balance when it comes to money, in my mind, means:
Having enough money to not have to worry about things (like when our house breaks or if one of us gets sick)…but not being obsessed with money. I mean, do I budget? Absolutely! It gets on The Hubby’s nerves sometimes how careful I am about it. But, if we want to give ourselves a break in the kitchen one night and order out for a treat? Sure! Hand me the takeout menu and I’ll be the first to pick something. (Probably eggplant parm.)
Part of managing your money smartly, I think, is being careful about how you spend but also being cool enough to let yourself have a little fun sometimes. (And, if you are careful with your money, you can afford to do that.)
So while I’m always going to be giving you guys tips on how to save more and spend less and be more financially responsible, I also try to remind you sometimes that it’s okay to treat yourself now and then. It’s okay to use your money to enjoy life sometimes. As long as you continuously manage your money and keep up with all the transactions you make through a bbt.com checking account, you can feel free to splurge when it feels right. You just need to make sure that you’re enjoying life now in a way that also lets you know you’ll be able to enjoy it in the future.
Balance. It’s all about balance.
Does your financial strategy feel balanced, or are you tipping too far in one direction or another?
photo credit: BlakJakDavy