“Spenders are proud of how much they spend, savers are proud of how much they save, but neither are happy. Spenders are never satisfied and savers are never comfortable.”
I can admit now that when I was in college, I wasn’tt frugal. I was cheap! If there was a way to save rather than spend, I did it. I rode my bicycle to class. I ate boxed dinners. I wore clothes from thrift stores. On road trips, I voted for someone else to drive. Or if I drove, I didn’t use the air-conditioning. Many times I shrugged it off as being frugal or wise with my money, but that wasn’t the truth. I was stingy and cheap. I was proud of my self-deprivation.
“Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. ‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”
After college, like most graduates, I entered the American workforce. You’d think earning more money would help me loosen up and spend more liberally. Not surprisingly, though, I still gravitated towards saving. Constantly thinking about how much something costs, where I can save a few cents, and how much money is in the bank was exhausting. I believed spending money was the root of all evil, but what I didn’t know, or didn’t understand, was that hoarding it is just as taxing on the mind, body, and soul. What I needed all along was not more money, but simplification. That didn’t come until I was around 28 years old. My lifestyle, as simple as it was already, needed to change. More specifically, my perspective needed an overhaul. As a saver, I was just as wrong as a person who spent their way into major financial debt. The quote above is true, saving or spending won’t make you happy. There needs to be a balance between the two. If you live strictly on one side or the other, you will either never be satisfied and therefore keep buying things to make you happy, or you will deprive yourself of anything good and comfort will not be an experience you ever have.
This is still a learning experience for me. I am very good at being frugal, and I’m becoming better at spending. The best way to leave it for now is to think of everything as luxury. We can live without air-conditioning, we can live without a car. But if you have air-conditioning and a car, enjoy them both as a luxurious blessing.