confessions of a money hoarder: how to find the balance between saving & spending

 Photo Credit:  Sergey Zolkin

Photo Credit:  Sergey Zolkin

It’s New Year’s resolution time, folks.  But first, a confession:

I don’t know when my intensity to save money began, but I know I had at least started to develop my frugal ways back in high school.  My dad had set up Roth IRAs for both my brother and me back when Neal (that’s my brother from the same mother) was driving a Bonneville and I a Lumina (RIP), and I can always remember the end of year question of how much I wanted to put towards it.  Here’s a flashback:

Dad:  How much do you want to put into your Roth this year?

Britt:  $300

Dad:  Only $300? That’s a little slim.

Britt:  I think it’s enough.  I’ve got clothes to buy, Pops.

Dad:  Good grief. (He literally says this in real life. Like Charlie Brown.)  You’ll regret that.

Sassy Britt:  No, I won’t.  $300 is more than enough.  It’ll almost bankrupt me as it is.

Neal:  I’ll put in $500.

Britt:  Okay, I’ll do $501.

Sooo maybe my love of saving started as a hearty competition against Neal.  (Sibling rivalry at its best.) But it slowly morphed into a competition with myself, and one morning I woke up to find myself sitting on a small arsenal of cash with no army upon which to fire it.  I’m one of those people that saves just to save, with no goal in sight other than to see my account balance inch higher and higher.  I actually tried to convince myself at one point to save for a more expensive car (Jeep Grand Cherokee, come at me) just so I would have something to use my stockpile for.  And then I realized that not only would my registration fees and gas expenses skyrocket, but I’d have to parallel park that big block of metal.  No, thank you.

In a nutshell, I have trouble finding a balance.  I am so concerned that I won’t have money for some unforeseen event (even though my emergency fund is fully stocked and well in place), that I’ve thrown myself to the far side of saving spectrum, cowering there in fear of this made-up money-sucking monster.  And that fear-stricken corner is where the theme of my New Year’s resolutions stemmed from.  For me, 2016 is going to be all about taking risks.  You can only play it safe for so long, and I’ve come to be tired of it.

So back to the resolutions:

First up, this blog:  this is my baby, my brain child.  And for awhile, I’ve basked in the comfort of where I currently stand, publishing posts a few times a month in the hopes that Pinterest or Twitter will increase my viewing base.  I love helping/sharing with you all, and I’d like to do that on a grander scale and in more ways; thus, I’m going to push the envelope a bit in 2016.  Devote more time to creating more content.  Get published on other sites.  Expand my audience.  Maybe start a Youtube channel to provide tutorials or develop a product to market.  I’ve had big dreams for this little blog sitting in my head for so long, and this year, I’m going to try to make some of them reality.  And you know what?  Some may flop.  That’s scary but inevitable when you’re trying to spark growth.  However, I’m hoping to find that come December 31, 2016, I can honestly say this is the year that launched this blog into something more.  Damn, it’s frightening to even say that.

Second, my outlook.  Like I stated before, I’ve been so focused on what could go wrong in the future that I’m missing out on what could go right.  I mean, I literally crushed (it’s such a teenage word, but hey, if the shoe fits) on a guy for 6 months without saying a word because I was so afraid of rejection.  And now he’s off the market and I’m kicking myself in the butt for it.  Thus, in the New Year, I’m going to take those chances I wouldn’t normally take.  Say yes to things that may be out of my comfortable bubble.  Do things I’ve put off for whatever reason.  And hopefully meet a lot of new people and have a lot of new experiences along the way. 

Part of this process also involves spending some of that money I’ve been hoarding.  And where is a good chunk of that going to go?  Travel.  I’ve always wanted to get out of the country and have put it off because, frankly, I had no one to go with me.  Traveling solo is a little frightening, especially as a woman (I have seen “Taken,” people), and it’s held me back.  And I honestly thought I’d do a lot of traveling with my future husband, but I’ll be 30 this year and with no husband in sight, I’m simply tired of waiting.

So I thought, why not put my fear aside and go it alone?  I had a location in mind and thought if no one else could go with me, so be it.  I could manage (maybe).  However, in a fortunate turn of events, I was talking about it to a friend, and he decided to jump on the bandwagon with me.  So now not only do I have someone who has already traveled outside of the USA to help me get through customs and figure out the currency exchange but will also help me avoid getting sold into the sex slave trade.

Where am I going, then?  Drumroll please…..

 Photo Credit:  Babak Fakhamzadeh via Unsplash

Photo Credit:  Babak Fakhamzadeh via Unsplash

There you have it – come late spring, I will be taking a 10-day vacation to Peru, which includes a 4 day hike along the Inca trail to Macchu Picchu along with a few days in the northern part of the country to relax afterwards.  It’ll be the first of hopefully many stamps on my passport, and I am so eager to pack my bag and go. 

As always, I am happy to take any suggestions/advice/comments related to the goals I set.  Have ideas or questions about what I should write about?  Know of any personal finance websites looking for freelancers? Been to Peru and have suggestions of what to do? Shoot them my way.  And if you could help keep me on track with words of encouragement (or guilt), it would also be much appreciated.  They say it takes a village…

Hey, I’m here to help you, too.  What New Year’s resolutions are you setting this year? I’m a great cheerleader![1]

[1] Disclosure:  I am a horrible cheerleader.  I can’t touch my toes.  BUT I will do my best to be a great motivator ;)

 Photo Credit: Ezra Jeffrey

Photo Credit: Ezra Jeffrey