Living vs Saving

November 15, 2010 at 11:31 am (Quarter Life Crisis) (, , )

I had one of my (approximately) 8 weekly emotional snaps on Saturday night. It was, as they often are, about money. Or more accurately, my lack of it.

My fear of not living life to the fullest means that I spend a lot. I spend it on the gym and personal training to keep myself fit. I spend it on health insurance, osteopath, deep tissue massage and dentist appointments to ensure that my health is in check. I spend it on singing lessons to keep my voice in shape and creative experiences to learn new skills and do interesting things. I spend it on social occasions to keep my relationships with people strong and intact. I spend it on fresh (and often organic) food to keep my body well nourished.

But this means that I don’t save.

Saving money is one of those things that is usually instilled in us as children. Parents set up bank accounts when we’re young and put our pocket money or that $5 note from Grandma for Christmas into them to teach us about the importance of having money available for a “rainy day”. What they don’t tell you is that the cost of rent, petrol and food is continually rising and there is often not a lot left over (especially if you’re trying to be a responsible adult and have a number of different insurances and health checks).

My dilemma is do I stop going out, taking creative classes, eating well and going to the gym to save money for that “rainy day” (or a house, which looks practically impossible with rising prices) or do I continue living my life, experiencing new things and taking care of myself? People are always saying to invest in yourself in your twenties – your health, education and overall experiences in life, but at what cost?

What do you think?

Did you/are you staying at home most nights and declining social invitations/creative pursuits to save money?

Or do you spend every penny you have on living and stress about your lack of funds and assets?



  1. cecylia said,

    This is pretty bad…but I’m a little repulsed by saving…and I’m really repulsed by people who save…it’s just not ‘stylish’ to save =P

    I heard someone once say ‘You get money by earning it…but by saving it’

    But yeah I know what you mean…I want to save!

  2. hollyjcurtis said,

    Ahh when you find the answer to this question, please let me know! I get so stressed about money, or like you said, my lack of it. I can’t imagine having enough money to live comfortably, and I don’t even live out of home yet. Maybe that’s why… I can’t afford to move out… so even with a full time job how will I live AND save… ahh! I want to save as it’s a responsible feeling.. but how do you catch up enough? Great post xx

  3. Cindy said,

    How about an emergency fund? Spend some time saving 3-4 months of living expenses, then when you’re done, go back to spending the rest. That way you don’t have to worry about saving after, and also don’t stress about it since you have the fund.

    I’ve read a ton about personal finance and have other tips if you’re interested. Just let me know!

  4. brooke said,

    see, I’d love to go to the gym and be healthy and fit and I’d love to go out more with my friends, and I’d love to see health professionals more regularly, but the cost is ridiculous. I really admire you for doing it, but I haven’t got the guts.

    at the moment I’m saving half of my pay check. I’m only 20, but damn it, I want a house one day!

    the way I see it, little sacrifices now = a house in a few years, while all my friends are living at home still drinking their weekly pay and wondering why they don’t have a house as well!

    good luck!


  5. Tara said,

    I think that life is a balance. You have to decide what is important to you and then make peace with that choice. Not many of us get to have it all.

    I get a basic hospital coverage and a basic extras. The massages do you really need them? and if you do that is ok, do you need them as often as you do? And if that is a yes, well then you need to accept that is who you are.

    Do you need to be at the gym, or could you run outside? Maybe buy a few weights for home? Do you really need a trainer?

    I guess what I am trying to say is, some people live only for the now. And every now and then those people get unlucky and the “now” involves a car accident or an illness. What funds would you have for that?

    Life is a balance. It is a balance of living for the “now” of today and the “now” of tomorrow. If you want a house and financial freedom you must make sacrifices to have those things. Until you are prepared to do that, then enjoy all the things you have (trainer, massages etc). Make peace with your choices. Otherwise what is the point of having those things, knowing you are delaying a house and being debt free…..AND you are still unhappy with what you are doing.

    Your comments lead me to believe that maybe you realise that all those things are great but not the best choices for now. Maybe that little voice in you that causes you to get upset everynow and then is your voice of reason.

    Try saving up for a while. Get an emergency stash going. Then re evaluate. Living for the now is fantastic. However, when prices continue to rise and slowly push you out of the market you may regret many of your choices.

    Or I could be totally wrong. Food for thought I guess.

  6. Cindy said,

  7. Kenya said,

    I was literally just having this conversation the other day with my gf! I just started working after some time off and now I have some money, I am itching to do all the things I couldn’t do before….like eat out everyday and drink too much at parties! I feel like I deserve it….I work really hard. But then at the end of the week I am scraping to pay my bills…I just feel like its not fair that I work to pay bills and can’t enjoy my money. What am I saving for anyway…the bills next month??? So to answer your post…I’m a liver…not a saver!

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