“It’s Just Money” – The Startup – Medium
And other things I tell myself while spending more than I have
My three best friends are savers. Not as in they like to save a little money here and there.
They are hardcore savers. They live life frugally with the intent to create as much wealth as possible for the future.
I am a spender. Not as in I like to spend a little money every now and then.
I am a hardcore spender. I live life spending every cent I have with the intent to just figure out retirement when it comes.
So how is it that some are more careful with money than others? Where is my “money gene”?
I feel like I am missing out on some great, big secret. I have never been motivated to make money, and I don’t know why.
I sent an instant message to one of my friends yesterday telling her about my summer plan to hike part of the Appalachian Trail. We are expat teachers and travel to the U.S. every summer where we spend thousands of dollars visiting family and soaking up the conveniences of the good ole USA.
The first question she asked, as per usual, was “how much does it cost?”
I typed back, already in defensive mode, “About $1k. But it comes with all the supplies. I just show up.”
You see what I did there? I justified the expense.
She immediately responds: “That’s not a small amount of money.”
I type back: “Yeah, but I want to. It’s my summer and I earned it.”
It’s relentless. I can justify spending any amount of money on anything. If I have it, I will spend it and out will come a litany of excuses to match my spending needs.
Just ask my husband. We have had many arguments over my ability to justify spending money.
And it all comes down to my one fundamental belief: Carpe Diem.
That’s my life motto. Seize the day! Life is short and retirement is a long way off. Why should I sacrifice today for the future?
But admittedly, that’s probably not the best outlook, nor the most financially sound.
I must be missing the “money gene.” I just don’t have it. Money is fun! It buys stuff like airplane tickets and AirPods. I spend more money on experiences than things; as a minimalist, things just bring me more anxiety.
Damn. I just did it again! I justified my mad spending habits with the fact that I spend more money on experiences.
“It’s just money,” I say over and over and over again throughout my days, months, years.
“Money is not important,” I tout as I charge yet another trip to an island in S.E. Asia.
“People are too concerned with money,” I accuse as I defend a decision to upgrade a hotel room.
But when does it stop? How do I convince myself that justifying my spending does not make it right?
How do you change a fundamental belief? A belief that life is short and we should seize the day.
Who is right here? Is it okay that I live life day to day without regard for what the future may hold?
Or should I be sacrificing my wants now for my needs later?
I don’t have the answer. And I don’t know how to change. And maybe I will be writing sixty years from now, unable to quit my job because I didn’t save for retirement. Or maybe I will make a million dollars on a blog. Ha.
It’s confusing, honestly. If I was better with money, then maybe I wouldn’t have so much student loan debt. If I was better with money, then maybe I would own a house. But I am not good with money. And maybe that means that life will be just a little more stressful for me.
I know I am not the only spender in the world, but I wonder if I am the only one that feels like I am doing something a little bit right?
Or is it a little bit wrong?