Saving Every Penny: Is it worth compromising your happiness?
Are you already disheartened by the enthusiastic promises you made to yourself (and anybody else who would listen) as you rang in the New Year? Do you wish you could go back to the happy degenerate you were on December 31st? I too think about it sometimes.
Like most things in life, living and learning to be fiscally responsible requires time, prioritizing and, most important, balance. Most of us tend to commit to a new lifestyle (whether it be exercising, dieting, saving, etc) and then begin by setting the most idealistic goals, without allowing the time required for adjustments nor do we plan for setbacks.
In conversation with a friend of mine recently, I realized that she was utterly miserable because of her drive to save every single penny she earned (apart from what was needed to eat, get to work and keep up some acceptable level of personal hygiene). She was feeling choked by the spending restrictions she had self-imposed. By not allowing herself any treats or nice-to-haves, she was preparing to accept absolute failure and give up her budget and savings plan altogether. My questions: Does it have to be all or nothing?
The important thing to remember is that you need to find an extravagant ying (well, not too extravagant) to your thrifty yang. There will always be something you should be saving for; always more money you could make; and yet another goal to attain. But if you’re not enjoying the ride, what’s the point? Is buying that house or paying down your debt a year later than you had planned really that devastating? Is it worth compromising your happiness?
I say, buy that magazine, go to the movies, or order in a pizza if you need the pick-me-up. This blog is meant to give you tips on how to make your money work for you, not about becoming a slave to it.