This post has been brewing for a really long time. It’s a subject that has fascinated me since I got my first proper job at the age of 13 and 9 months – should I spend or save?
Any money-savvy person will swing towards save and for good reason. My boyfriend is a notorious saver (except for when it comes to coffee and snacks) to the point where I have to reason with him on why he needs to spend more than $20 on a decent pair of work shoes.
But then there are the free spirits, the ones who crave experiences over big ticket items or having a massive home loan debt to their name. They prefer to live in the now and worry about back up plans later. I’m not saying that they’re irresponsible, but they’re less controlled.
Which am I, you may ask? Well, I’m one of those annoying hybrids. My heart says “fuck saving, jump on that plane to see Flight Facilities” and my brain says “bitch, you need to think about saving for that trip you’re supposed to be taking in four months”. It’s a constant battle, and one that has had equal wins and losses for both sides.
Whenever I am saving for a big holiday (because let’s face it, that’s all I’ve really ever had to save for besides from cars) I often face the dilemma of “do I buy this item that I’ve been wanting for months or do I put it off until I’ve been on this holiday – even though I will inevitably blow 10x more money during said holiday and I could’ve just left with a bit less and had said item?” Confused yet? Me too.
Money (and managing it) has become a topic that I’m majorly intrigued by, and one that I have taken it upon myself to learn more about. I love discussing how different people manage their bills and what systems they’ve put in place to efficiently have a comfortable lifestyle, save a bit, and still be able to splurge if it’s necessary.
A book that I read last year that massively impacted by money mindset was Money & Mindfulness by Lisa Messanger. Lisa boldly breaks through every stigma surrounding money and is blatantly honest about her successes, fuck ups and how she’s grown to know her worth. Reading her book gave me that flicking a switch moment, and taught me not to be so bloody afraid of money and not having enough of it – or valuing it too deeply. So if you’re currently struggling with all things cash, I’d start there.
Despite learning how to positively think about money, it still hasn’t stopped my internal ping pong tournament of to spend or not to spend. It’s always there, and I always find that I have to justify a purchase to myself when it’s not completely essential re: lunch at work or a jumper that I’ve been lusting over all season.
I’ve found that setting some boundaries helps. I like to set myself maximum budgets and frequencies of spending and try my best to stick with them when it comes to non-essential items (basically anything other than bills, food and fuel).
For example, we rarely go out to dinner, so I don’t mind when we order our weekly batch of fish and chips. It’s not everyday, but it’s still relatively cheap and a nice end of the week treat.
When it comes to clothes, I am royally screwed.
I adore fashion, but don’t have the income to keep up with the weekly drops of new arrivals. I try to choose brands that are small businesses, have an ethical production process, or have beautiful, lasting products (having all 3 is the dream). Choosing quality over quantity however, generally means there is a higher price tag which equals less spending opportunities and me having to really want the piece. So I guess that kind of sorts itself in a way.
I could go on and on all night about how I justify spending on this and that, but you’re probably getting bored of hearing about my acute shopping addiction.
Did I even answer the original question that sparked this ramble? Kind of but not really.
I don’t think you can always spend or always save – not if you plan on living comfortably in the 21st century. Things like electricity bills and car registrations pop up at regular intervals, so if you plan on living in a house or commuting anywhere besides within a major city, then you need to be prepared.
It’s a pretty darn sobering experience when you become independent from your parents (either financially or in a living situation). You get to ideally spend 18 years being supported, and then you’re suddenly thrown out into the real world with no readily accessible back up funds. It’s scary as hell, but also the only way to learn how to look after yourself.
And once you get the hang of it, it’s an awesome feeling.