Balancing Virtue and Vice

Those of us who are personal finance savvy are often sharing new ways to save our pennies, unclutter, limit, and downsize. This is a great thing and something that we should all continue to work on but in doing so we need to make sure we don’t lose our balance. Living frugally and saving money can sometimes take over; we can get to a point where we are no longer living life, we are just saving for it. This is when we have become unbalanced and we need to get back on track.

I know for myself this is a constant battle. I have a few good weeks or a month and then I find myself off course again and needing a refocus. Sometimes I can get too wrapped up in the details that no matter what plan I am using, I fail. Balancing our virtues of money smarts with our vices of pleasure is something that we all need to keep in mind and assess regularly. We need to examine ourselves to make sure we are meeting our financial goals as well as our PERSONAL goals and that we are truly happy. This is the only way we will attain the future we want; the future that we started saving for in the first place. It will also help us to stay on a manageable spending track.

In order to get myself back on track, I write down a list of the activities/items that are really important to me, things I want to do on a regular basis. This helps me prioritize where I want my “fun money” to go so that I don’t feel overwhelmed and restricted by using my other money for saving and investing. Here is the most recent list that I came up with:

  • Studio Pilates. I have been actively doing pilates for a few years now to strengthenĀ  my back post an injury. I know that there are home videos I could use that would cost me less, but having an instructor correct me and make sure I am in the right position so I don’t injure myself is more important to me than saving money.
  • Studio Yoga. Same reason as above. When I am twisting and stretching my body, I want to make sure I am doing it right.
  • Gourmet cooking. My husband and I love to cook. It is our hobby. We love to experiment with different recipes and try new flavours. This often leads us to purchasing obscure ingredients that sometimes cost a bit. But I wouldn’t give this up. It is the way we bond and spend quality time together and our relationship is more important than how much money we have in the bank.
  • Travel. As you all know, I love to travel. Each year we put aside money to go on an exotic vacation. As much as we could be investing or saving this money, those travel experiences are integral to our future happiness. Neither one of us want to look back when we are retired and regret not traveling when we were younger and had more energy.

Sure, I don’t need any of these things like I need to pay for heat and water. But my point is this, by cutting back on everything including the things that we enjoy, we put ourselves in a great position to get burned out, unmotivated, and resent saving all together. Responsible spending of “fun money” is what will keep us on the saving track and on the road to financial freedom.

So what are you vices? Are they consistent with your goals and things that make you happy? How much money do you allow per month for fun money?


Comments

Balancing Virtue and Vice — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Miss T., great article. I got myself in debt a while back and had to go a while without spending money on any luxuries. It was tough, and there were a few items I hated to dispense with; like the gym. I found out I could save to pay down my debt and got an attorney to negotiate the rest away. My story is at my blog. Thanks for a good perspective on frugality.

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