Week 32: Saving stresses

I put a lot of pressure on myself.

That sentence could be applied to just about every aspect of my life, but in this instance, I’m applying it to my savings account: I put a lot of pressure on myself to save money.

I’m thinking about this now because I have spent a bit more than normal the past month. I’ve had friends in town, I’ve been celebrating a friend’s move to L.A., and I’ve had extra days off, so I’ve been doing more going out. (It’s difficult to spend money when you’re working every day). I also registered for a half-marathon and bought concert tickets and baseball tickets.

I will still save some money this month, but I looked at my credit card bill and got a little stressed. In a normal month, I’m very good about saving. I budget well and set aside money after almost every paycheck.

That being said, I want to live my life and enjoy my 20s. Life is going to be very different in 10 or 15 (probably even five) years. So someday — when I do have the husband and house and kids and maybe even dog — I want to look back on this decade and say, ‘Wow, that was awesome. That was a time full of friends and fun and adventures and travel.’ I don’t want to give that up by being too future-oriented.

In this stage of my life, I’ve decided saving while also living requires prioritization. I am incredibly fortunate to earn a decent income and not have credit card debt, student loans or a car payment (anymore). In my situation, if I pick one or two things to splurge on a bit, I won’t blow my budget or my chance to save. So I spend money on traveling and going out (food/drinks). I hardly spend any money on clothes, hair/makeup, movies, electronics, etc. Basically, I don’t buy things for myself, and that allows me to enjoy experiences while still saving.

I realize this is a super first-world problem. I’m in a good place. This is all pressure coming from me. That’s because I have goals. I want to buy a house in a few years. I want to be able to afford the wedding I imagine. I want to live comfortably with a family. I want to put my kids through college. I want to enjoy retirement (and travel). To do all those things someday, I need to save now.

Overall, I’m in a good spot. I am aware of the importance of saving, I am making an effort to save, and I am saving every month. I just have to remember all this when I’m tempted to order that one more drink.

Endnotes:

Currently reading: Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Currently watching: Seinfeld, season 7

Song of the week: Hilary Duff’s “Breathe In, Breathe Out” (Yes, that Hilary Duff! I’m as shocked as you are.)

Plans for the weekend: Not much in the way of big plans, so probably just beach and brunch and happy hour with friends.

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