I hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. Ben and I traveled through Indiana to spend quality time with some friends. We also splurged a little bit and stayed in a couple of nice hotels and treated a group of our friends to dinner.
The trip was a part of our plan of taking mini-vacations and visiting friends that we didn’t get to invite to our wedding. The trips have turned out even better than I thought. Instead of only spending three or four hours with 200 people, we get to hang out with smaller groups of six, eight, or 10 and have real quality time with people that mean a lot to us.
Weekends like this always remind me of the importance of spending money on yourself and keeping your budget in balance.
As someone who is pretty militant about his money, I know immediately how much we’ve spent on a vacation, how that impacts our yearly budget, and by what percentages it reduces the amount we’ve saved. And because of my particular money personality, I sometimes get caught up in the regret of spending too much money at a restaurant, hotel, or event.
However, I’ve learned to make sure to enjoy the benefits money can give, especially when it comes to experiences. I enjoyed myself immensely this past weekend and will relish the time spent with my friends. That feeling far exceeds the money actually spent.
Money is a Tool
Money you have or money that you save is not beneficial in and of itself. It’s a tool to help you do other things: feed your family, get a kid through college, or explore the world around you. And you need to make sure to use that tool for enjoying your life today and planning for the future.
So make sure to spend your money! I know it’s not the typical advice from a financial advisor. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t save, track your expenses, and talk about money. In fact, this principle highlights the importance of doing those things. By using these money fundamentals, you can mindfully make choices of where you want to spend and how to use your money most efficiently. You will catch yourself holding off purchasing that leather jacket in order to save for that cruise your spouse wanted to take. Ben and I didn’t go on a honeymoon or a big vacation this year in order to help pay for our mini-trips. That kind of balanced decision making is a good thing.
Find the Balance
In the end, you have to find a balance. Make sure to set goals and priorities for your money and indulge every now and then. Having the financial tools at your disposal to help make smart money decisions will help you get the most out of your money and your life.