I have a couple hundred blogs on my Google Reader and a large portion of them are financial or lifestyle/life design blogs that post about money on a regular basis.
Many of my blogging readers run personal finance blogs or something along those lines.
While I certainly don’t think that I fit seamlessly into the PF blogging crowd, I read a lot of financial blogs and write a lot of posts on financial topics because – let’s face it – we all earn money (hopefully) and struggle with spending it and investing it and balancing fun and life. So it’s a common interest to all of us.
One thing that gets under my skin time and time again that I see in comments (both in my own posts and other people’s posts) and posts and even on Twitter, is this absurd notion that money should not be spent.
I see it in posts about weddings (people not having one to save money) and comments about Christmas (not celebrating it as to not have to purchase gifts), and Tweets about skipping nights out with friends to stay at home and watch TV for free on your computer because you don’t want to spend money. I’ve even seen posts from people who go to restaurants and not order anything because they don’t want to spend the money (even though they are with friends and possibly making them uncomfortable, as well as taking up prime real estate in a restaurant), or putting garbage bags over your windows because you don’t want to pay for blinds.
People don’t tip, or rent for life so that they don’t have to deal with purchasing a new appliance or home maintenance (not due to lifestyle choices).
When did spending money become so evil?
Now, I’m not discounting the importance of saving. I’m a huge advocate for saving money on things that aren’t important to me. I don’t want to spend 75% more on name brand noodles when no-name would work just fine.
I’m not into spending $100K on a car and I’m okay with $15 wine in lieu of far more expensive bottles.
But skipping out on experiences and spending time with loved ones just to save some money? Or not buying gifts for my family members so that I can invest $300 more in index funds?
Spending money can be just as much as an investment as saving it. You might not get a monetary return, but why do we focus so heavily on monetary returns? Are we over looking emotional returns?
Why are we hoarding something that we work so hard to accumulate?
My favourite saying about money is that you can’t take it with you. That is the truth.
If you have the money… if you make a decent living and have little or no debt, why is spending money on yourself something to be frowned upon?
Money isn’t important
I have to clarify that I do understand just how important money is for those of us who don’t have any.
I went through the starving student phase, and it was heightened by the fact that I paid for (at least) half of my education out of pocket while working full-time. It was even tougher when I moved out of my parent’s house in my first year of college, adding to the bills.
So I understand the need to save money when you are struggling, and I’m not saying “screw it, blow your cash” to those who are in a tough spot financially.
What I’m saying is that if you are financially okay, and you are putting away some money for retirement and emergencies, why cut back on life? What’s the value in forgoing a dinner out with friends for an extra $25 if you are already saving?
Yes, you could go on about the time-value of money and how that $25 would be much, much more than $25 if it goes in a retirement account. And that’s all good. But life isn’t about skipping the fun stuff so you can have more money than you need in retirement.
Is it just PF bloggers that are constantly trying to out-cheap each other? Why, in this community, is spending money – small amounts, when you aren’t accumulating debt – so frowned upon?