Money can’t buy you happiness.
-someone long forgotten but considered wise
As a break from all the preaching we do about saving money, and watching where your dollars (or whatever currency) go, I’d like to take a moment to mention that it’s always important to actually spend your hard-earned money. Specifically, spend it on things that bring you joy. In regards to the quote atop this post, my response would be, “Yes, but money can buy you the things and pay for the experiences that bring you happiness!” I’ve held that little motto of mine for quite some time now. I mention this because I stumbled upon a study (via BadMoneyAdvice) focused on a mindset dubbed “hyperopia,” or excessive farsightedness, or more (un)commonly known as Saver’s Remorse. These are the people who penny pinch, and are frugal to an unnecessary, and indeed, irrational degree. But we can know ourselves and compensate accordingly, at least that’s what Ran Kivetz and Itamar Simonson have shown. Not including the chance that being ridiculously stingy can bring a person pleasure, I would say this is a problem just like being prodigious and whimsical with money is a problem. Clearly, this “problem” does not affect many people. But if you’re here and reading this post, you probably have a better chance of being afflicted compared to the average Joe (not the plumber).
Of course, I’m not telling you that everything you’ve ever read on this blog or other personal finance blogs about saving money is hogwash. I’m really preaching the same story I always do, which is to know where your money goes and make choices you can live (happily, I hope) with. Spend money lavishly on things you know you’ll cherish, but make your own lunches for a few days a week to save up that dough. That seems fair to me, anyway. Being financially responsible is kind of like losing weight: It’s not that hard; most people can follow a fixed set of rules and will be hunky dory. The hard part is commitment and discipline. Hmmm… like many things in life, no?