I’ve been asked a few times my opinion about spending money on life experiences right now, or if it’s best to keep saving and wait for the future. The obvious answer from a frugal, budget loving blogger, who loves to encourage everyone to spend conservatively and plan for their future, would be to advise everyone to wait until later and build your wealth now. The FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) Movement continues to gain popularity. I love the idea of sacrificing now to enjoy life later, and completely support those who are working towards FIRE. However. I actually believe in the importance of budgeting for joy. In THIS moment….because, you know what, those golden years you are anxiously waiting for, they just might not come…..
My sweet mother was a huge saver. I have learned ALL of my frugal ways from her. And, the truth is……I’m still not as frugal as she was, I don’t think I’ll EVER be as frugal as she was.
I think the thing I admire most about her is the fact that she did not need to be frugal, she had a very comfortable income. She chose to be frugal because she understood the value of saving money.
She passed away when she was 48. I was 22.
Losing her at such a young age has had a HUGE impact on the way I view life. I have developed the mindset that life is temporary, short, and fragile. It is a gift to be treasured and celebrated.
- Related: A Financial Tale of Two Sisters
I am fairly confident in saying that my natural instincts would be to work towards FIRE; to save EVERYTHING for the future and look forward to enjoying life once that comfortable retirement kicks in.
But…..my life experiences have taught me a different lesson. Sure, I do believe in saving for your future…..I also believe in spending some money on enjoying life in the present.
It’s important to focus on BALANCE.
It MUST be a priority to pay off all debt, save aggressively for your retirement, save to send your kids to college, try to build wealth, etc…..
At the same time, you need to budget for a little bit of JOY.
This does NOT mean it’s ok to go on a luxury vacation while charging everything to your credit card. And it’s definitely NOT an excuse to blow your budget because you are “enjoying life.”
It does mean it is ok (and I would argue important) to give yourself some fun money, take a break every now and then, explore the areas around you, and LIVE life to it’s fullest.
This will look different for everyone. For some this could be a weekend road trip, others might prefer a quiet stay cation. Do what sparks joy for you, this will look differently for everyone. (and…you know what, it actually doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to have meaningful, joyful experiences!)
In conclusion, be intentional with your spending. Intentional with saving money and intentional with budgeting and building wealth. But also, be intentional with your life experiences. Life is to short to only enjoy it when you get older…..make sure you are experiencing it right now too!
I would love to know your opinion on this subject! We each have had different life experiences that have shaped us into the people we are today. Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Are you trying to be intentional with budgeting AND enjoying life? Do you budget for joy? Let me know in the comments!!