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Hey Savers – It’s Okay to Doubt.

by J. Money on Friday, February 11, 2011

feet at beach
When I was a kid, my mother always told me that if I wanted something really bad that I need to “save up for it.” She was very smart this way, and also very tricky – knowing full well that once I had the cash in hand I wouldn’t want to buy it anymore ;)

And guess what?  It still happens to us as adults!  Just the other day I overheard someone say she was *this* close to saving up for her vacation, but now she didn’t know if she should spend it all.  She’d been saving up for so long that it now it feels crazy letting it all go for a quick weekend getaway.  I bet this happens to you guys too, right?

My instinct was to tell her “Yes!  Go and enjoy this quality time with your husband before you have your baby” (she’s preggers — which is a word I used to HATE but now really like for some reason). But baby aside, I’m all about these life experiences.  Anything to do with travel or hanging out with loved ones goes at the top of the priority list for me when it comes to spending money, so I was egging her on to go make it happen.

I’m also a big fan of treating yourself and making sure you don’t go 100% crazy obsessive with your money. Every now and then you have to enjoy your hard work and actually be a HUMAN BEING for once — no one can save every last penny or be Mr/Mrs perfect all the time.  If you can save up for something important to you, and then actually REACH that goal? Awesome, you go with your bad self.  Get out there and enjoy the fruits of your labor, baby.  Especially if it’s at a bed and breakfast!

But guess what?  Changing your mind is perfectly fine too :)  (you see what I did there?  I took both sides and said they were both OK.  *gasp*).  The truth is,  sometimes we change our minds over time or when the situation gets turned. It’s very easy to say “yeah, I’d go out and buy a Ferrari right now if I could” when you don’t have the money.  But if you work your a$$ off and 5 years later wake up with $100k in your hands, I guarantee you’ll second guess your desires.  And that’s totally OK.

We’re allowed to doubt ourselves or have different opinions when situations change — esp when it comes to money. There’s a big difference between not having it, and having it.  So naturally you’re gonna second guess yourself.

So to all you sexy savers out there workin’ toward something big, I say keep on reaching for that goal!  And when you get there (cuz you know you WILL – esp if you keep reading finance blogs! Woop woop) just take a few minutes to make sure you still want whatever it is you were shooting for.  If you do, GREAT!  Go out and get it.  And if not, that’s fine too.  Go do whatever you feel like doing now instead :)  Saving goals are kinda like road trips — sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.  When you finally reach where you’re going, soak it all in and see if it still makes sense.

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(Photo by Jeherv)


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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 retirebyforty February 11, 2011 at 7:46 am

This is a huge reason why we changed to cash allowance. Sure we miss out on credit card reward points, but we are spending a lot less money. I took me quite a few months to save up for a Sigma 30mm lens, but it was worth it. Saving up gave me time to research more lens options and figure out if this is the one I really wanted.

Vacation is a bit different though. We just have to go whenever we can take time off from work so we dip into our saving for vacations and we’ll bring back the saving later. :)

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2 Sense February 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

I also very much think that travel experiences (especially with good friends or family, or to see good friends or family) are number one in my ‘money best spent’ category. I do have to wonder if I’m doing to much of it, though. Right now, I am having the TIME of my life with all of my travels! I have six trips planned this year, two of which are big budget trips (one $4K, one $6K because I am paying partly for myself and partly for my family). I’ve already taken two lower budget, weekend trips this year. I tell myself that can do that because I’m not going into debt, I have no debt, I am still saving each month, I have a good EF, I have been saving for the big budget trips for the past 3 years, etc., but I think I need someone else’s perspective to check me. Recently I turned down a trip to Fiji with a friend because I didn’t think I could afford it, but it was an incredibly difficult decision and it took someone else (on my blog) saying that they didn’t think it was feasible with the budget I had in mind for me to cancel the trip. :(

I tend to save, only to spend it on short term goals, mainly travel, so while it looks like I’m saving lots, actually I just end up spending it on travel experiences (always low budget but as memorable as possible). I wish someone would tell me exactly how much to save for retirement and other very long-term goals so I can relieve that worry! That is my only concern–am I saving enough for non-travel items in my life?? If that concern was taken care of, I’d just keep on traveling to my heart’s content…it really is the thing that I value most and get the most happiness from in my life!

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3 Laura February 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

I am saving to be a Stay At Home Blogger! It’s a great motivator for saving and not spending!

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4 Sense February 11, 2011 at 8:39 am

agh! ‘TOO’ much, not ‘to’ much. that is one of my pet peeves…I need to proofread!

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5 Mike @ debtdewd February 11, 2011 at 8:51 am

This sounds so familiar! I often times get too wrapped up in abstaining from spending on the little things like a coffee here or lunch there, but then allow myself to spend $40 or $50 out for a night with friends.

Regarding your post, I think it goes to show being committed to a budget and responsible for every dollar takes up time and energy. And that’s why it makes it so hard to spend the money that you’ve spent all that energy and time saving up!

Happy Friday!

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6 craig February 11, 2011 at 9:29 am

I agree, go out and enjoy reaching your goal. I saved for over a year for my upcoming trip and was able to pay for it in full. It’s very expensive, but after reaching my goal, and having enough money to go on my trip, I cannot wait. Same with you, enjoy your life, travel, make memories, they are so worth it.

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7 Mercedes February 11, 2011 at 9:30 am

I understand that *this close* feeling. You see your savings account climb every week and know that you have a vacation waiting for you at the end, but the other thing you have waiting for you, a big, fat ZERO on that account. I think that is what scares me more. I’d love to have the experience, but seeing a zero after I worked so hard… feels almost like a catch 22 to me!

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8 Investing Newbie February 11, 2011 at 9:52 am

This is a great post. I was saving up for a condo, but then life happened and I realized, hey maybe I want to be a renter for a while before buying some property. Currently, I’m living with my parents, so the goal is to save up at least a year’s worth of rent before trying my hand at independence!

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9 Jenna February 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Completely agree with this statement “I’m also a big fan of treating yourself and making sure you don’t go 100% crazy obsessive with your money.” I’ve definitely seen friends miss out on life experiences because they were hoarding money “just in case.” Not worth it to me.

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10 J. Money February 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm

@retirebyforty – Yeah, since you have a “vacation fund” it works out great. Everyone should have one of those, and then be forced to use it every now and then :)
@Sense – Don’t we all wish someone would tell us that magical number to save! Haha… I will tell you this though, never in your life will you be as healthy or ABLE to travel as much as you can now. If that’s your #1 fave thing in the world, and you are still saving and staying out of debt, I personally would keep moving forward with it :) I know this is only egging you on, but who knows what’s going to happen in 5-10 years. Friends move away and have families and sometimes don’t travel the world anymore for whatever reason. If they are up for it now, and everyone’s having a good time, I would be all about it. (and in fact, I am! i put traveling w/ friends top priority too — and every year there is less and less chatter of doing fun things together :(). So I’m the wrong person to talk you out of it. But know that you are not alone :)
@Laura – Yes it is!! And I can’t wait for you to accomplish it :)
@Mike @ debtdewd – Friends are important my man, and same with getting out and about every now and then. A very happy Friday to you too :)
@craig – Yesssir!
@Mercedes – I know, that’s true :( Seeing $XXXX in your bank feels sooooo good! The idea of seeing it at $0.00 and starting all over again sucks. But then I ask myself which sucks MORE? Missing out in life, or missing out in some money in my account? We save money for a reason — to one day spend it on what’s important. If you stay on track there, you should always be golden.
@Investing Newbie – You remind me a lot of myself :) Only I went out and bought the place before I realized I shouldn’t have. So good work!
@Jenna – Yup! Money is meant to be spent. Just gotta spend it on what’s important in your life :) Maybe your friends don’t hold travel/adventures that high on their list?

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11 MoneyProgress February 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Thanks for this post!

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12 Lissa February 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I am a chronic ING-accounter for this very reason. It’s difficult to save up, and even more difficult to get a $0 balance at the end of it all. But with a million sub-accounts for everything from emergency car repairs to my next security deposit to vacation, that $0 isn’t representative of all my savings. Thank you, OCD.

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13 Sassy February 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Great post! I love it.

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14 Halee @ Life Less Travelled February 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Spending money on experiences is HUGE on my list… as long as the debt is getting paid of course!

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15 Bobby February 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I’ve finally moved on to saving for a rainy day/travel/fun fund. I can see some of it ending up back into my retirement savings, but at least it’s money that I don’t have to worry about spending. It doesn’t have any prearranged tags on it.

Now I just need to find someone to travel with.

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16 J. Money February 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

@Lissa – Haha… OCD is a best friend of mine too ;)
@Sassy – thanks!
@Halee @ Life Less Travelled – It can be a fine balance :)
@Bobby – Maybe we can find you a date here on the blog? That would be fun ;)

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17 Donny Gamble February 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I try my hardest to safe money, but I just can’t seem to do so.

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18 Bobby February 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm

@J, Haha, let’s do it. Should be fun at the very least.

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19 Barb Friedberg February 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Actually, we regularly SAVE, not for specific goals (except retirement and education for the daughter). When we want a treat, vacation, etc. we spend our savings. It works fine for us, as we both lean towards responsible spending. We love vacations and value putting our savings towards them!

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20 Jaime February 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm

dude I love reading your blog, I’m glad that you’re not one of those PF bloggers who only encourages their readers to save their cash and never spend any of it. Balance is best. ;)

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21 J. Money February 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

@Barb Friedberg – Hey, if that motivates you more power to ya! It certainly keeps things nice and simple :)
@Jaime – Haha, thanks :) Yeah, money is meant to be SPENT for sure – just gotta prioritize it and have that balance like you mentioned. Personal finance covers all aspects, baby!

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