If you’ve been reading my recent monthly statements, you likely noticed that I’ve been splurging quite a bit on some relatively big items. The first of course was the media projector, then came the surround sound system, and finally this month, a new computer. I don’t feel bad about these purchases, but they’ve certainly put a strain on my ability to save money during the last few months. So why did I do it? What about saving money? and do I really need these things?
These are difficult questions to answer. Obviously nobody really needs a media projector or a surround sound system. Nobody really needs anything other than a roof over their head, some food, medical supplies and some clothes. Anything else is ultimately unnecessary. You also don’t even need that much of these life essentials. I’m sure almost everyone could live in a tent, eat berries or find sustenance by dumpster diving. But who wants to live that way, right?
You also don’t want your life to become so tedious that you’re only living to save money for the future. That’s a one way ticket to the psychologist’s couch if you ask me. It’s also a pretty big gamble – since you could get eaten by a ravenous army of zombie squirrels and die (or become a zombie squirrel yourself). That actually might be cool, but you get the point. What’s the point of saving everything if you might never benefit from those savings?
Over the years I’ve learned that it’s ok to splurge on myself every so often. I can’t just live for the future. But one trick I’ve learned is to put off these kinds of purchases for as long as I can. If I still want that shiny PS4 after a couple of months or even years – it’s likely going to bring me some kind of emotional benefit. In my case, I’ve been eying a media projector for a long time, and my parents accidentally threw away my previous sound system — so it was a proverbial no-brainer: I knew I would use them, so I saw no harm in getting them.
If I have a point here, it’s that despite wanting to be financially independent, it’s okay to live in the moment too. The goal is to find a balance that works for me. Nobody should have to sacrifice their mental well being (by being utterly bored and unstimulated) by pinching every penny possible to save for the future. But I won’t be able to spend everything I have either — if that’s what I wanted, then FI wouldn’t be for me, obviously. My goal is to save at least 35% of my monthly income for the future, and despite these purchases, I’m sure I can make it. The rest of my money I can use at my discretion. Sometimes I save more, sometimes less. I’m not going to beat myself up because of it. Neither should you.