GO AHEAD – SPEND MONEY. YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION
EVER FEEL GUILTY ABOUT SPENDING MONEY? Many people do. I hear this frequently from clients. For example, during a call with a client a few weeks ago she mentioned that “we probably spend more than we should”.
IS THIS HOW YOU FEEL – YOU’RE SPENDING MORE THAN YOU SHOULD? How did you determine that? Did you read a blog that says that buying food or clothes is waste of money – that you can make your own wardrobe and provide your own meals? Or living in a house bigger than 500 square feet is throwing money away?
THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF BLOGS THAT PROMOTE THE FRUGAL LIFESTYLE. They are an excellent source of ideas and inspiration. They offer great, practical ideas to help people save money and improve their financial situation. Many of them are life changing for their adherents. People learn to focus their spending and find a more purposeful use for their money. (Some are a bit over the top for me).
OF COURSE IT IS WISE AND IMPORTANT TO BE SMART WITH YOUR MONEY. For many, their income is so modest that they have no choice. They have to learn how to get by on less. And this skill, or trait, can help many have a successful and low stress financial life.
BUT I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT IT IS OK TO SPEND SOME MONEY ON YOURSELF. Or your family. Or your dog. Or whatever. Is it really possible to go through your life without making a few financial “mistakes” or just wasting some money here or there? You have my permission to splurge every once in a while!
BACK TO MY CLIENT. I asked her what she shouldn’t be spending money on. She made a general reference to “we go out to dinner more than we should” and that they recently completed a small remodeling project on her house.
IS THAT IT? GOING OUT TO DINNER? The “we go out to dinner too much” lament is common. Lighten up. It is perfectly fine to go out for a nice dinner. Why not? Are you going to wait until you are 95 to have a nice meal? And on the remodeling project – so what! She improved her home and will enjoy it more. (I suppose she could have purchased a better coffin with the money she would have saved from the remodel). The financial plan I subsequently completed for her revealed that she is in great shape. She has no reason to feel guilty about her spending habits.
I WAS TALKING WITH ANOTHER CLIENT ABOUT VACATION PLANS IN THE FUTURE. I suggested that they should stay at the Four Seasons on their next vacation. They laughed – I was serious! Clearly middle class, this idea was preposterous. Blow money on an upscale hotel? I know their financial situation and they could easily stay in high end hotels for their rest of their lives and there is no way they will ever run out of money.
WE MAKE TRADE-OFFS EVERY DAY. We sacrifice one thing for another. We balance what we want with what we can afford. But there is no point in feeling guilty about occasionally spending money now to enjoy your life and create memories for your future.