The other day, I opened up an email from a friend who knows about and reads my blog. He lives in the Chicago area and wanted to discuss meeting up by taking a vacation together somewhere with both of our significant others. Halfway through the email, he commented, “I realize that this does not exactly mesh well with your frugal movement”. I got the impression that he was worried that I wouldn’t be able to see him because doing so would be too expensive.
This comment honestly made me a little sad. One of my goals for this site is to show people how to live richly while saving money in New York. I want to show people that it is possible to have a great life and foster great relationships without spending all of your life’s savings.
So I wrote back and told him that we would definitely make a trip happen. Sure, I will probably take a look at exactly how I finance this vacation. I will likely use frequent flyer miles. I will scour AirBnB for a nice house or apartment that we can all chip in for. I will definitely offer to cook some meals so we aren’t eating out three times a day (another perk of AirBnB – most places come with a kitchen!). And I will definitely research inexpensive entertainment options in whatever location we choose.
It’s important to spend money on the things in life that are important to you. Friendships and travel to new places are definitely a priority for me. When you take a moment to think about what is important to you, “sacrificing” the things that aren’t doesn’t really feel like a big sacrifice anymore. If you realize that you don’t care about owning 61″ HD TV, not purchasing it doesn’t even register on your “sacrifice radar”. And when you cut out the expenses that aren’t a priority, you feel better about spending on the things that do matter.
Additional Note: I view the act of saving and investing a large portion of my income differently than most. I actually see it as “spending” on my financial independence. I am buying freedom to work less in the future, travel more, spend time with family and friends, and focus on my own projects. My money habits reflect that priority through my savings rate.
What are your priorities and what do you feel good about spending your money on?
P.S. Thanks so much to the Carnival of Personal Finance for including me in this week’s edition.
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