In Discussions, Money, Retirement, Wealth

What are you punishing yourself for? Enjoy your money.

If you have been following me for a while, this right here is what I am all about:

Hit your money goals and then do what you want with the rest of your money.

Save it. Spend it. Retire. Whatever.

Whenever you’re about to buy something, you only need 3 questions to ask yourself:

1. Can you pay cash for it?*

2. Did you or will you still hit all of your money goals?

3. Do you love it?

*Only houses should be a “No” for #1… but to be honest, I considered this question very strongly and decided to pay cash for my place, so you do you.

That’s it.

Let go of your guilt.

You’re doing fine.

Listen, I know that the general principle is if you spent only on basics, you save everything else.

But why? What’s the point?

I mean if I want to go really macabre on you, as a very extreme example you can spend $0 if you just …die, because you won’t be spending anything when you’re dead.

But you’re not dead. You’re alive.

You’re human. You have money. You make choices, and the ones you make are the ones you make peace with especially if they are flaky pastries…

SO WHAT if you don’t retire early before you are 50?

There are people out there who aren’t ever going to retire.

Some are HOPING for 65.

Others are looking at you like you’re crazy for thinking of retiring at 50 and are envious of you. I’d say most people fall in this bucket to be honest.

So if there are people who can retire in their 30s, who cares?

They have had a different start in life and a path that is completely different from what you have had.

They may have started with $0 in student debt, bring home $20K net in their monthly paycheques, etc.

And I am saying this as someone who is IN this bucket of being able to just stop working today and be perfectly fine. I continue to work because I still love my job, find it challenging mentally, and I don’t do very much, truth be told, to make a lot of money now that I have experience up the wazoo and everything seems easy to me now.

Do you talk about your money? Then you’re in the 1%.

Anyone who talks about money and investing is in the less than 1% of the population.

I am going to be generous and say 10% maximum.

MOST PEOPLE DO NOT EVEN KNOW THIS MONEY COMMUNITY EXISTS.

We are all literally living in a bubble!!!

It can be hard to stomach seeing people save so much and make so much at a young age and wonder where you went wrong (I have those jealous thoughts about other people too believe it or not, and I AM someone who makes a lot of money at a young age and saves a lot….), but at the end of the day their money is theirs and yours is yours.

If you’re generally a frugal person who doesn’t really spend money, and you’re going on one beach vacation every year — ENJOY IT. You saved for it, you’re hitting all your money goals, you’re not going into debt… so what’s the big deal?

Let go.

Even if you could save those thousands of dollars and invest it so they can be hundreds of thousands of dollars in 30 years … WHY?

You won’t have that beach vacation. Or memories with your family.

The frugal answer is:

“Oh but I can throw some sand in the backyard, put on sunscreen and it will be exactly the same. Actually, we can make new memories with just playing for Free.99 and save that money instead.”

No it isn’t. Examine your words truthfully.

Look deep into your heart and tell me – if money was not an issue. is it really the same? Sand in your backyard versus a beach?

It is completely different and if it wasn’t, these vacations and luxurious places wouldn’t ever exist. No one would ever go on them because they’d all bloody throw sand in their backyard and not spend money.

It is because these memories and experiences, even things you buy are different, even though they are intangible and/or will disappear.

If it means something to you, if it is real and valid as a purchase.

Don’t lie to yourself

People who say that wearing a luxurious coat versus the one they have had for 30 years FEELS EXACTLY THE SAME, are liars.

Yes, they are LIARS. They’re just maybe really good at suppressing it now and finding excuses for refusing to buy what they really want.

I was cheap AF for years and wore crappy winter coats. Once I finally bought a real goose down winter coat, I realized the first day I used it, how stupid and cheap I’ve been for years.

I was finally warm, comfortable and not shivering, hating every moment of being outside and awake.

I no longer dreaded winter, and being in sub-zero temperatures was a piece of cake now.

Even in more moderate weather — wearing an amazing luxurious and designer coat that is tailored and fits like a dream versus something off the rack — there is a difference and you know why? Because I feel the difference.

I stand taller, I notice small details like the buttons being metal and not plastic, the leather cuffs… it makes a difference to me, and that’s all I care about even if people think I am crazy for loving an item.

Ask yourself: Is that difference worth it to you to pay more for it?

For many super frugal people living on bare essentials, “scorched earth” (a new term I learned about basically living on nothing but necessities) their answer is a big fat No. To them a coat is a coat is a coat. A car is a car is a car.

They only see the price. It is the only option they consider.

For me, I see many more factors than price, I see: environmental impact, quality, cost per use, how I will feel / gain enjoyment out of using it, and desire.

GASP!!! DESIRE? How dare I have unnecessary wants and lusts for consumer goods?

Well I gots them.

I’m human, everyone has these desires even if you willingly suppress them and would rather keep the money in your bank account instead.

This isn’t a new thing — consumerism or status symbols as part of any culture — EVERY culture and time period had them:

  • Byzantine Empire, Roman Emperors, Persian king Cyrus: They all coveted purple clothing because purple dye was so rare and worth more than its weight in gold.
  • French court in Versailles during the reign of King Louis XIV: Men were only allowed to wear high heels (“court shoes” takes its origin from this), if you were French nobility, and only he was allowed to wear red heels.

If I gave you a choice between a luxury car and a normal one, telling you that you’d pay the same price for either or, which one would you take?

Very likely, you’d take the luxury car. Price is really the only thing holding people back from buying things they admire or like.

For my example — I have a real love affair with style and fashion. I just really enjoy it, the combinations and wearing outfits for myself.

As a result, I buy designer items secondhand, and I pay more than a mainstream item at retail, but I still get the quality and the luxuriousness of a perfectly tailored piece of clothing.

It is worth it to me to pay more money for a secondhand coat (but less compared to new at retail) because  I FEEL that retail price tag when I wear it, and not what I actually paid for it.

We all flex — it depends on with what with.

Some people flex with being proud of having a cheap AF car and a FKLOAD money in the bank, and others flex outwardly with having a luxury car with moderate savings.

They’re both showing off in a way, but only one is considered “acceptable” when you talk to people in a money-minded community.

(You can guess which one.)

But let’s be clear — We all flex. Just HOW we do it differs.

Some flex with an 80% savings rate.

Some flex with how little they can spend on an income below 6-figures.

Others flex with their investment properties.

All that matters is if that difference of savings or spendings matters to you or not, and how happy you are with what you’re doing.

From my informal observations, I’m seeing that people who are extremely frugal are always trying to justify their savings and not spending.

I actually make it a game to see how many excuses people can come up with to justify not buying what they actually want in their hearts.

They say things like – Well we didn’t get to go on that expensive vacation we really wanted, but we got to save that money in our investment accounts instead!!

They WANT to spend money but feel like they cannot for either feeling guilty for splashing out, or want to be a martyr.

Isn’t that exhausting?

To try and live up to an ideal of yourself when you are personally just not that happy?

I had a very good friend tell me the other day she felt guilty that they had so much money and she was able to not worry about having to work while being pregnant, while handling a toddler under the age of 5.

I told her — I did the same thing. I stopped working once I became pregnant, and didn’t go back to work until Little Bun was 7 months old. I felt ZERO GUILT because I saved that money to be able to do it.

I basically told her — Stop feeling guilty for having money. Money is what buys you time and it doesn’t really change who you are as a person, it just enhances your personality; you are still hardworking, smart and intelligent even if you’re taking a break because you can afford it to focus on the pregnancy and your little one.

Why martyr yourself? Who does that serve? What does guilt achieve? Nothing. You just feel bad and who needs that?

BUY THOSE MACARONS for $3 each!!!! ENJOY THEM!!!

If you have it, and can afford it, then spend it if you want to, no guilt.

Don’t listen to money ‘gurus’ and compare yourself to people breaking their backs to save more than 50% of their income, denying themselves things they actually want – there is a fine line.

Ever since I started thinking more about my money, I have seen it as a challenge to try and save 90% of my income, not a chore which is why I set that goal.

Then, as the months went by, I realized 90% was unsustainable and making me unhappy.

I was literally MISERABLE thinking: How can I cut back in future months to hit this 90%? Do I give up my trip to NYC? ..

…then it dawned on me.

WHO CARES if I hit that goal or not?

NO ONE, but I would be miserable trying to not spend money just because of some stupid, arbitrary goal. I’d be hurting MYSELF and my own enjoyment of life, trying to stress over some number.

So, I am mentally scaling it back down to 85% maybe 80% even, and not feeling miserable, just challenged enough to be conscious about my purchases, which is the whole point of setting this goal to begin with.

I came back to the reason why I am doing it — it is to be challenged, to do it out of pure curiousity, be environmentally conscious, save money, and still not feel deprived but happy and fulfilled.

http://www.cartier.com/en-us/collections/watches/womens-watches/tank/tank-solo/wsta0030-tank-solo-watch.html

What are you punishing yourself for?

No one has the right to make anyone feel like they’re not doing enough if they don’t live on just necessities and constantly refuse to treat themselves to anything, and berate themselves for being ‘wasteful’ or being a wasteful consumerist for liking/desiring nice things.

What kind of nonsense is this?

Why are we living in a harsh puritanical mindset that punishes any kind of enjoyment of money?

I’ll say it again:

Hit your money goals and then do what you want with the rest of your money.

Save it. Spend it. Retire. Whatever.

And that’s all that matters.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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10 Comments

  1. Bobby

    I agree with you about spending your money. I’m going to Mexico in April and plan on enjoying every minute of it. To me life’s too short to not experience the little things that make you happy.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Go for it. Just be safe and don’t bring a variant of COVID to the locals there.

      Reply
  2. raluca

    I am one of those persons that denied myself that big vacation for which I had money in the bank and I could easily afford. I’ve also denied myself lots and lots of luxuries but nothing that would make me absolutely miserable.

    I don’t regret it at all. It was the best thing I ever did. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease that will slowly get worse and worse, that will slowly rob me of my independence. I’m youngish (38), 36 at the time of the diagnosis. By the time I’m 45, I might not be able to continue working at my current job, because of cognitive issues and or losing resistance to stress. By the time I’m 55-60, i might not be able to move much. Maybe I’ll be lucky, my disease might progress slowly, maybe I’ll be lucky and a cure might be found. Maybe not.

    No vacation can compare with the feeling of relief that I have money in the bank and I will not have to continue working forever, with a more and more debilitating disease. No luxury will ever come close to the piece of mind that I get after a hard day at the office, knowing that I can stop going to work if I want to and that I won’t have to work if my disease gets worse. Or that if a cure is found, I will probably have enough money for it.

    I will freely admit that most people are not as unlucky as I am, since this is very rare disease. But life will have bad surprises in store for everyone. And when it does, the best thing that can happen is that money is not an added burden. We, humans, at bad at assessing risk in our personal lives. We are also often guilty of overindulging in life little luxuries, especially if there’s some money in the bank. I don’t mean never have luxuries, that would be very bad in my opinion. But also, consider not having ALL the luxuries. I don’t mean you Sherry, you have enough money in the bank so that if anything happens, you’ll be fine. But I would wager that the average reader of this blog would be better off looking at my cautionary tale and consider what would happen to them in my situation.

    Reply
    1. SSS Fan

      Raluca, I’m sorry to hear about the progressive, incurable disease! You got very unlucky!!! It is a good thing you saved a ton of money so you’ll be able to flex around it. What a terrible thing to happen to you! You’re right most people won’t have to deal with the same issues as you, at least not as shockingly young as you. I agree Sherry would be fine if, God forbid, she had to wrestle with a similarly awful diagnosis. Thank you for sharing this burden with us. It’s easy to dismiss the possibility of a degenerative disease when one is young.

      Reply
      1. raluca

        Thank you for your kindness!

        Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Oh my goodness!!! I am so sorry to hear about this disease. I am however, happy you have that money to give you peace of mind to help you with it. I am floored that it’s uncurable and you already know what will happen, more or less as you age with such a rare disease. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
      1. raluca

        I didn’t mean to bring my issues on this blog, didn’t mean to bring anyone down, just wanted to offer a counter point and show that sometimes, when you are really unlucky, saving money early and heavily is the right thing to do. But then, it’s just a risk reward equation: it’s a risk that occurs rarely, but it can be devastating. I was both very unlucky to have the disease and very lucky to be well prepared. Such is life.

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          Oh my goodness of course not. DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THIS. You brought up a great point, and it’s much appreciated.

          Reply
  3. Gail

    I agree 100%: do what you wish with your money so long as you have it! I am not like you: I get no pleasure from luxury clothes, cars. I do like that we were able to take our kids traveling and that we can afford a nice home and good food. Now we enjoy favors for our grandkids and visiting family and friends in various places as well.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I think my money will now go into having a bigger, more comfortable home and a garden. I do wish I traveled more.

      Reply

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