Spend & Save: Where Do You Use Your Money?

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Personal finance blogs often dwell on savings, investing, and self-sacrifice for the greater good of your financial life. But when it comes down to it, if you don’t spend your money on the things you love, you’ll go crazy and end up spending $499 on a new dining set at Costco just because you kept the lock on your wallet to tight.

I’m sure that some people assume since I write about money related topics, I sit at home and monitor my bank account 12 hours a day. I do pay close attention to my money because personal finance interests me, but I spend my money on stuff just like the average person who doesn’t pay attention to their money.

Since I’ve started learning about personal finance, I do spend significantly less than I did. I recall going to 6 concerts my spring trimester of freshman year. I loved each of the experiences, but that’s something I wouldn’t spend my money on now.

I do spend on things I love. For example:

Travel: Last weekend Corinne and I traveled to Nagoya to visit our friend and go to a concert. I had a wonderful time and the memories from the trip are worth more to me than a new iPod or shirt would be. Next weekend, we’re headed to Osaka to see sumo. I didn’t think twice about the price tag when the opportunity arose. This December, after a year and a half of working, Corinne and I are planning on going to Hawaii. It’ll be a chance to experience some America for the first time in 18 months, get warm, and visit a place I’ve always been interested in seeing.

Memories appreciate with time and paying for travel will always be something I’ll do.

Food: I’m not a large guy, but I love to eat good meals. Corinne enjoys cooking so we often share nice sized meals if we have a night together. We shop frugally, but we don’t smother our food budget to save an extra $25 a month. A nice glass of wine and a well-rounded meal is worth it to us. We’ll spend on groceries because we enjoy the time spent, the socializing, and the food that comes with a meal at home.

We also enjoy going out to meals. We won’t blow $150 bucks, but if a friend invites us out to dinner, we’ll definitely go because the experience, the socializing, and food are what matters to us.

On the other hand, there are some things that I won’t pay extra for and I do attempt to cut in order to save:

Clothes: I enjoy dressing nice, but I’m rather cheap when it comes to clothes. I was a big thrift store fan when I was in America and I still have t-shirts that are over 5 years old.

I’ll never spend over $25 on a nice shirt or $40 on a pair of pants. I rarely go shopping for clothes and instead try to use the ones I have for a long period of time. I realize these prices aren’t that low, but compared to how some people compulsively shop, I consider myself very frugal when it comes to clothes.

Books/movies/music: All these items are the ones I got at the library in America. I rarely spent money on these items since I could usually wait less than a week and have them for free at the library.

I will spend money on an iTunes album if it’s for a band I love, but that is about the only time I’ll spend money on this category of entertainment. On top of savings money, a big reason I avoid purchasing these items is the clutter. It’s not worth it to have them sitting around an apartment, taking up space, and collecting dust.

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So on this Sunday, I ask you the readers a question:

What do you love spending money on? What areas do you cut back on to save an extra buck?

I’m interested to see what the results are – enjoy your Sunday!

Photo: Rpongsaj

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