Life is Short: Loosen the Reins on Spending?

We say it all the time: Life it short, make sure you enjoy today, you might not have a tomorrow, live like you were dying, make memories while you can, etc. Usually we throw these philosophical statements out as justifications for spending on something that we really can’t afford. Maybe we want a vacation to an expensive destination but the money really isn’t there. Well, we say, the kids are only young once and we could die tomorrow so what the heck. Pack the bags and let’s go. Deep down we don’t really believe that we may die tomorrow, but it seems as good a reason as any to justify the purchase.

This is not a responsible approach if your basic needs aren’t b


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13 Responses to Life is Short: Loosen the Reins on Spending?

  1. Monkey Mama says:

    My parents grew up very poor and always had a TIGHT rein on the money. Didn’t help they moved from rural Kansas to somewhere with an insanely high cost of living. They did quite well, but they didn’t feel they had much to enjoy.

    But when I was about 10, my aunt died very suddenly. Aenurysm. She was the healthiest of everyone, and very young, and she just dropped dead one day.

    My parents totally changed their tune so I was lucky to grow up with a fair amount of balance, through most of my childhood. We splurged a lot more after I was 10, for sure. I can think my aunt – she really changed the way we view life.

    As an adult I think we have a good balance and I realize most people really don’t. I realize it was a blessing to be raised in that matter – to put savings and security first, but I never got the whole deprivation thing. I think we have a lot more material things than most of the frugal crowd (that we enjoy) but also a lot more financial security than most of our peers. Win-win. You can have it both ways. 😀

    BTW, glad you are okay – how scary!

  2. M E 2 says:

    I think it is a double-edged sword.

    How often do we hear of people who scrimped and saved all their adult lives, never took a vacation, never ate out, never went to the theater, etc. All this was so that once they had retired, they could become a globe-trotting, world traveler. And within 6 months to 1 year of retirement, they passed away. What a waste!

    As with anything / all things . . . it is not about deprivation but moderation.

  3. Joan says:

    How often do I hear that, M E 2? Never. I’ve never known anyone who lived in complete self-denial during their working years with plans to spend it all when they retired. So I have never known an ascetic who retired and then within 6 months died, leaving their money unspent.

    If you are a middle class USAmerican, chances are the message of this blog does not apply to you. Most still need the topic of this website, “savings advice.”

  4. ThriftoRama says:

    You have to have balance. My In-laws did nothing but scrimp and save. No vacations no nothing. Retirement was their only goal. hey both got cancer and almost died 5 years before retirement. And now that they ARE retired, they are wishing they had done more.

  5. SaveForHouse says:

    Like this article a lot, very well written. I personally see splurging once in a while as a motivator to save more diligently. Even though I’m working hard to save for my first house, I decided to buy a sports car that set me back a bit. Why? I use my car every single day and enjoy it a ton! Adding to my daily personal enjoyment is worth it. Also, it has motivated me to work and save even harder. It has set me back from my overall savings goal, but you have to splurge on yourself once in a while. A strategy that has worked for me also is “save up $x” and when I reach that goal I’ll buy myself something special.

  6. AJ says:

    One of my very good friends, several years before retirement, all he talked about was retiring. The last several years of his life were working towards retirement. On the day of his retirement party, the last day of his working life, he had a major heart attack and passed away. Still to this day I think of him. He missed out because he was saving everything for retirement. I have a slogan – “save for a rainy day but don’t miss all the sunny ones.” Essentially, enjoy the now as well as prepare for the latter.

  7. xinecho says:

    I love this article very much, thank you,

  8. Robin says:

    I’ve been having similar thoughts myself lately. I realize that while I am good about not spending money on unnecessary “things”, I need to be a little more willing to spend money on experiences/trips, etc that help me grow in my connections with family and friends.

    And Joan, I work for hospice, and I see what ME2 is referring to all the time. It is very sad. However, I also see people who become ill, and lose everything they have because they didn’t have sufficient savings. And now they and their family’s losses are multiplied, at the most difficult time of their lives. We just have to try to enjoy every day, focus on spending our hard earned dollars on what counts most, and prepare for whatever may come our way.

    I really appreciated this article!

  9. Ana G. R. says:

    Great article. I’m teary eyed. Life is beautiful, you just proved it.

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  12. Gail says:

    Three weeks after marrying my hubby I came down with a virus which turn on my arthritis to full boil and became disabled. All our plans for what we wanted to, how much money would be coming in, etc. went down the tubes. Plans and goals had to be reset (once we knew I was going to live as it wasn’t a sure thing then). I still enjoy life, but it isn’t what had been planned for. I’m just glad that I was financially prudent and still am. But I have learned to literally take time to smell the roses!

  13. Oasdg says:

    First off-thank goodness you’re okay. It can be really scary when you have a sudden onset allergy like that!

    Secondly, I have very mixed feelings about this. I’ve noticed that most of the time when I hear people saying that they can’t take it with them, or things along those lines, they’re not preparing for other things. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of family losses this year, one of whom was a very young single mother. And none of them had planned for their passing. It’s been a very emotionally hard time for all of us, but with the sheer number of losses this year, it’s also been extremely difficult financial time for the family(ies).

    Although, I also agree that you should be able to enjoy the income you have, I also feel like people shouldn’t use it as an excuse to not plan for the future of their loved ones.

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