I have discussed in a few posts how important I feel it is to be “savings savvy,” but I do feel there are exceptions to this rule and a moderation principle I failed to address.
Yes, I like to cut coupons, and have given up getting my nails done, because my husband and I are not in the Gates family and we do not have an infinite amount to spend every day, BUT that does not mean I /we don’t deserve to treat ourselves every once in a while.
I remember sitting in a class last summer, learning about addiction and the genetic make-up that may be behind it…whether it be drugs, food, exercise, gambling or spending, all addicts have similarities within their brains and thought process.
The instructor of the seminar made me so fearful that I would leave my residential treatment center after 60 days, go home and become obsessed with something else, that I came back to PA and lived in a social bubble.
“People tend to switch addictions, replace one bad habit with another!” she claimed and it played over, and over and over again in my mind until I paniced over every scenerio that could possibly happen…
Holy shmoly, maybe I will become an alcoholic! Or maybe I will spend everything I have and then some and we will have no money left to survive!
These ridiculous ideas ran through my head the rest of the lecture, meaning I probably did not even hear or take in the end of the lesson (the most important part of the lesson!!) about moderation.
It did start to click, however, when I picked up Genene Roth’s latest book, Lost and Found, Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money.
Roth is pretty famous for her work on eating disorders and the tranlations they have with other aspects of life. I have never actually read her other works, but I could really resonate with this one.
My financial beliefs, decisions, and life mirrored my actions towards food, which all stemmed from the basic idea of self-worth, or my lack thereof.
After college, when I had my own bank account, paid my credit card very responsibly and lived in a house my husband and I bought, I would walk into a store, find something I loved (within my budget I might add) and put it back right away.
Clothes for example….
I would absolutely love a shirt. It would be my size, according to the salesperson look fantastic (I bet they say that to everyone), be on sale and absolutely the perfect purchasing scenario and I would leave it in the store. I would go for entire days to King of Prussia, window shopping, gawking at all the gorgeous sales and reasonably priced accessories, and come home empty handed.
This probably does not sound like such a bad thing, but I used to tell Ryan all about my days adventures and what I could have, or should have bought, and he would ask, “Well, why didn’t you? It sounds like it was a pretty good deal…”
I could not actually answer this question. I wanted the darn shirt! I did think it looked nice. Why couldn’t I buy it?
I could not purchase a $15 dollar blouse because I did not feel like I deserved it.
In my mind I wasn’t worth a lousy 15 buckaroos.
I didn’t mind spending entirely, just spending on myself. I love buying other people things. Who doesn’t love giving a gift and watching the recipient appreciate your choice!?
But at the same time I would drive past, lets say a Panera Bread (ha, Panera overload the past two days!) because it is one of my favorites, and want something for lunch so bad, but I would wait the extra half hour until I got home because I could not justify the ten dollar lunch I would have gotten. Now this example is two fold because this is both a restriction of food and a restriction of money, but do you see how they correlate?
Essentially, I was scared if I bought one shirt at Express, I would need 569487 more. If I splurged and got myself a new pair of boots, I wouldn’t be able to stop spending. It would be boots then jeans then purses and hair clips…I would not be capable of controlling myself!
That’s exactly how I felt about food! It was better to just not start, or go out of my comfort zone and get something I was really craving, because then I would want it ALL the time!
My point is, the world we live in is not black and white. Do not save every penny you have because you feel like you don’t deserve nice things. Don’t sit around at home because you feel you arent worthy of going out for a nice dinner or date. Do these things within your means and it is completely, one hundred percent acceptable and encouraged! Isnt life too short, too unpredictable, to save all those hard earned pay checks and not enjoy the results of your work?
My new philosophy, one I did have before I got all self-conscious and negative about myself, was to save in some areas and splurge in others (kind of the definition of moderation, right?).
For Ryan and I we choose vacations. We love to go away and spend time together and would rather travel once a year to a super awesome trip, than take random little side trips where we cant really relax because we hate the hotel we selected simply because of the rate, or we were only gone for a brief two days.
We are both fortunate enough to have jobs, save some of our incomes for retirement and investments, and pay our bills, so why shouldn’t we use some of what is left over for fun?
If you eat healthily all week, and on Friday night you want a couple cocktails and dessert, shouldn’t you be able to have that? Yes! Yes you should!
Of course everyone is different and your priority may be to save all your money for your children’s’ education, or to purchase a new car, or even donate to charity. The list really is endless, but ultimately I am trying to say, YOU and I are worth it.
I honestly feel that if you put the effort into a job, or some form of societal contribution, you should be able to enjoy some of the rewards.
Does this mean I am going to go buy myself a new Louis Vuitton handbag tomorrow?
No! I wish! But absolutely not.
It means I am working harder to practice moderation, in all aspects of my life.
If you think you might have a problem with deprivation, I am merely suggesting you evaluate your choices, in finances, food, love and countless other areas in life, and maybe you will see you arent living in balance either, or that you restrict things you want because you feel you aren’t worthy.
Like everyone else, you (AND I) deserve to be happy. It is ok to splurge every not and then!
So now, how are you going to treat yourself?
How do you, or are you going to, show yourself you are worth it?