I’m a saver by nature and I’ve mentioned that before on the blog multiple times. I’m rarely tempted by material items and love when I can put my entire check straight into savings. But lately, I’ve been wondering where to draw the line. The rental house we live in is still pretty unfurnished, we need patio furniture and I’m due for an upgrade on my computer. But…none of these are necessities which is why I have a hard time justifying the expense.
“Next month if we make XX dollars, then we’ll buy a patio set.” “Once we have XX in savings, I’ll feel more comfortable splurging on furniture.” But the problem for me is when we DO make good money one month or we DO hit our savings goals, I still don’t feel justified spending a lot of money.
So I’m starting to focus on finding balance between spending and saving. Saving is important and always will be, but so is living. While a patio set may not be “necessary,” it sounds glorious to eat dinner out on the deck versus having to eat at the kitchen table. I would love to have a nice office to work in rather than sitting on the couch. I would also love for my house to be more of a home. Furniture isn’t what makes a house a home (it’s the memories we make, after all), but it does make a house a more comfortable place to be in and relax in.
Finding balance between spending and saving
I got to thinking about finding balance between spending and saving and wanted to share a few of my beliefs, in addition to what I’ve started doing to loosen up the purse strings a bit.
Saving should always be first priority
I cannot remember the last month that John and I didn’t save money. Even when we moved across the country, we put money into savings (of course, we took more out than we put in…but it’s the habit of saving that is important). I sometimes get too focused on saving and get into the mindset that “you can never save too much money.” While that’s true to an extent, it’s also OK to spend money on things that matter to you. I’m trying to focus more on saving some money, not all, and enjoying the rest.
Spend money on what matters to you
Perhaps you love dining out with friends. Maybe you love traveling as often as you can. Or maybe you just enjoy getting a Starbucks coffee once a week as a treat (guilty). Spend your money on things that you enjoy and skip on the other things. If you love a lot of things, really think about what’s most important to you and spend your money on that. I read on the blog Afford Anything that “You can afford anything, just not everything.” Choose what’s the most important to you, whether that’s new clothing, exotic vacations or dining out and fit that into your budget.
My personal plan…
I think I’ve said on the blog that we use my husband’s income for all of our living expenses and my income for savings. Since we both work for ourselves, this doesn’t happen every month but it is always the goal. Some months we use some of my income for living and other months we save my income plus some of my husband’s income. No matter what though, we save.
As I mentioned above, I do want to get my house looking more like a home. John is on board and also wants to purchase a few items to spruce up the place a bit. Last month we bought three area rugs – one for the dining room, one for the kitchen nook and one for the front foyer (you can see the photos here). We purchased a charcoal grill yesterday and had our first family BBQ today. It was great – the weather couldn’t have been better, the girls had a great time playing outside and the food was delicious.
Next up we will purchase a few items for the girls’ rooms. They each only have a crib in there haha (don’t worry, they have a playroom that’s nice and full of toys!). Then, I want to furnish our front room by turning it into an office. I already have a desk and a chair, so it should be a relatively cheap room to complete. After that, I’d like to add a few end tables and lamps to the family room, furnish the sitting area in the master and add some wall decor throughout the house.
John and I talked and the plan starting next month will be to spend roughly $300 each month of my income until the home is complete. If I stick to my original plan of wanting to furnish our entire house from Craigslist finds, we could very well have the house done in a month haha!
I know I’m probably a weirdo in that I prefer to save money instead of spend it. While most people are trying to figure out ways to save, I’m trying to figure out ways to not stress out all the time about every single dollar!!
But like anything, balance is what matters.
How do you find balance between spending and saving? Are you naturally a saver like me?
photo credit: Flickr via 401K calculator