If you’re a reader of many personal finance blogs you know that we enjoy talking about money. We talk about things like the evils of credit card debt, budgeting, planning for retirement and frugality. Essentially, these all boil down to being wise with money or looking for ways to getting back to a better financial status. Interestingly, what we don’t always talk about is what money allows us to do. Now, before you think I’ve left the ranch, please know that while I do believe in the need to do many, if not all, of the things I mentioned above, I also think that we need to allow ourselves to enjoy life from time to time and discuss what things money can allow us to do.
Life is too Short to be all Consumed With Money
As I shared in my post last year about losing our dear son Isaac shortly after he was born, I have come to grips ever more so with the fact that time is fleeting. We all have a certain number of days, some longer and some shorter and we generally can do nothing to get more time. On the other hand, we can almost always find more ways to make extra money. You can either pick-up a side job, sell things on Ebay/Craigslist, work overtime, etc. They may not be enjoyable, but you can almost always find more ways to bring in more. As much as we can get caught up in the fact of being wise with our money, I think we also lose sight of the fact that money can be used to do some very good things, enjoyable things that create memories that can last a lifetime. While I want to be able to pass on a financial legacy that will benefit our children and their children, I also want to make sure that I do not do that to the point that we’re sacrificing time together to create those memories that our family can cherish. There is a balance to have and one that I’d rather be on the side of enjoying life as opposed to getting blood out of a turnip.
Life is Meant to be Enjoyed
Jen wrote a great post a few months ago about the show “Extreme Cheapskates” and some of the individuals on that show who embrace frugality to an extreme – so much so that there are those who would wipe their butt with a used napkin. Call me crazy, but there is being frugal and there is being ridiculous…but that’s just my opinion. I honestly wonder how those individuals enjoy life. At the end of your days will you be happy that you managed to save a few extra dollars because you chose not to buy new TP, but chose instead to use your already used hand towels? I am sure that some may say yes, but overall I would seriously question those that claimed that they did. You see, just as we can be enslaved to money by living unwisely and spending like crazy, the flip side is also true – we can be enslaved to money when we make completely irrational decisions when it comes to being frugal and saving a few cents here and there. I know it can be easy to fall into that trap, if you allow yourself to, but I’d rather use money as a tool to allow my family to enjoy life as opposed to being a slave to it.
For Me, Money Allows Us to Create Memories
This really was meant to be an inspirational and light hearted post – it really was. :-) That said, while I do all that I can to manage our finances wisely I also do all that I can to use our money to create memories. If you take a look at that picture at the top of the post, it is one of my favorite pictures of our two oldest kids. There’s nothing really spectacular about it, and was really nowhere exotic – it was at the Minnesota State Fair last year. However, they had played their little hearts out at the Fair for two days. It was crazy hot both days, over 100 degrees if I remember correctly, and they had the time of their lives. This picture is an image that I plan on taking with me for years to come. It is the picture of contentment, a picture of fun and most importantly a picture of a love between a brother and a sister who’re sharing something as simple as a bag of popcorn. All of that came about because we made saving for summer vacations a priority where we can get away, spend time together and enjoy things we normally may not and all of that takes money to create. I could be miserly and choose not to do such things, but I’d much rather look back on life 30 or 40 years from now and remember that time we had and the fun our little ones had as opposed to having that money we spent on the trip in our retirement account.
What’s something fun you like to use money on to enjoy life and have you ever regretted it?
Photo courtesy of: Nicole S