Saving $250/Month: Week Four - Saving as a Way of Life
Thursday, April 3, 2014
It’s been four weeks since I started my self-imposed savings regime.
I have to admit, I’m a little surprised at the affect saving has had on my mindset. I’ve come to realise that I’ve changed my expectations around saving, spending, wants and needs.
Missed the previous instalments?
Am I prepared to part with my savings?
So, I’d really like to buy a leather jacket for winter. I’ve seen a few that I like. They range in price from $400, then jump to $600, then they skip to about $900. There was one beautiful Burberry one that was about $3,100 but even if I won lotto, I think I’d struggle justifying that amount on a jacket.
But there is one question niggling away in the back of my brain. Do I need a new leather jacket? Wanting and needing are very different things.
I already have a lot of jackets in my wardrobe. In fact, there are probably some I didn’t wear last winter. One of them is made of leather. It’s a great piece of vintage clothing. How do I know? Because I bought it in in 1996.
So far, from my savings adventures of the past few weeks, I’ve got an extra $438. In theory, I could buy the $400 jacket and still have $38 left over. Adding another week’s worth of coffee savings and, that amount will top up again to $121.
But, here’s the thing. Now that I’ve started saving, I’m reluctant to spend what I’ve saved on just anything. Before, if I had really wanted the jacket, I’d have found a way to fund it. (What’s eating toast for a month, it’s like being back at university!)
Now, after being so careful with my spending and watching my savings balance steadily increase, I’m thinking differently.
I have adjusted my expectations
I am not prepared to pay for something that is a want, not a need. I’m no longer willing to pay for the life I ‘once expected’ now that I’m being mindful about money.
If I don’t buy the jacket, my new savings tally for this week will be $521. By the end of the month, it will round out to be almost $800. If I can keep saving at the current rate, by the end of the financial year I’ll have around $1,300.
I could take a holiday with $1,300. Is a holiday better than a new leather jacket?
If I did buy the $400 jacket, by the end of the financial year, I’d still have about $900 in savings. Which is by no means a bad outcome for a personal saving challenge!
And yet, I’ve hesitated like never before. I can afford the jacket now, but do I need it?
Saving for the sake of saving
Perhaps it would have been better to begin saving towards a goal – a holiday. That way, maybe I would not be distracted by other things, like leather jackets.
But I didn’t set out to save money to then spend it. I set out to save for the sake of saving money. And, by crikey, I’ve done it.
The temptation to buy things with the savings will continue, I am sure. But now, I’m assessing the thrill of the purchase versus my actual needs.
So, I’ve made the decision. No new leather jacket. The money I have saved is going to sit there, earning interest and growing steadily, as I continue my saving strategy.
Besides, vintage dressing is so hot right now.