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.

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.