I like money. I’m not afraid to say it. I like the security and peace of mind that it can provide. I like the pleasures and experiences it can buy. I like the doors it can open. But mostly, I like the freedom and independence that comes with having enough. It is really important to me to get good value for my money. That is not to say that I am cheap, but I will confess to being frugal. I can’t help it. My parents are this way, and I embrace this value wholeheartedly. Oh, and did I mention my husband is Scottish? Talk about wanting to get a good deal!
Everyone has a different idea of what a good deal is. The only way to know for sure that I am wisely appropriating my funds is to know what my priorities are. I don’t like clutter or waste. I enjoy comfortable and pleasant spaces, inside and out. I want room and resources to entertain family and friends. I want to travel near and far. I want to be appropriately and attractively dressed when it matters. I want to be fit and healthy so that I can participate in all of the activities I enjoy. In other words, I tend to be willing to spend extra money to go places (I am always the one who says “Yeah, let’s go do that”) , and then I will excitedly hunt salvage yards for my new front door.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to spend money as much as the next person, but I really don’t like to spend money mindlessly. I don’t like to buy something, only to bring it home and find it really doesn’t fit my personal style (a too-fussy dress), my lifestyle (an expensive gym membership that I never seem to use), or the function isn’t as handy as I thought (the smoothie maker that is not so amazingly better than the blender I already own). This is where the balancing act comes in. Will this really make my life better, easier, more beautiful or joyful?
Of course, the other balancing act has to do with spending money now vs. saving for later. There are many things I would like to buy or do right now, but what about that proverbial rainy day? I don’t want to get caught short down the road. Should we plan that trip to Hawaii, or put more money in our retirement account? My mother-in-law used to say “You’re a long time dead”, and I think about that when I am weighing these kinds of decisions. (By the way, we did the Hawaii trip … thanks for the advice Katie.)
I also feel strongly that there is a point of diminishing returns. When I have too many clothes in my closet and it’s so cluttered that I can’t find anything I really like to wear, I have tipped the balance too far in the wrong direction. I am not a minimalist, but I do believe that less is often more. Of course, this applies to many things … food, accessories, packing a suitcase, lawn to mow – I could go on and on. And yes, it is quite possible we will be contemplating this over a glass of wine later today. Let’s see, shall we share that second glass? The bottom line is, how much is enough?