Sunday, January 6, 2008

Will I Ever Be this Wealthy? I Doubt it.

There is a great article over at Get Rich Slowly. Basically a guy who never made much more than $10 an hour is now a millionaire due to saving and not spending. I think the story is great. I think this guy did himself a huge favor and now has significant wealth because of it.

However, I have been thinking lately that my husband and I had made some really poor choices. I was looking around at some of our possessions the other day, and yes, there are many we could do without. I was starting to feel like all of this was a waste and thinking of all the money we could have saved without it. While it is true that the money could still be in the bank earning interest, I don’t regret these purchases. (I do regret not saving for our furniture first, because it is a large chunk of my debt, but we were in dire need of new furniture.)

I try to be frugal where I can. If I was buying whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted then I would have no chance of building any wealth at all. And, I certainly agree that things do not make you happy, and “life is not about the bling”. But, is there a point where frugality becomes too extreme? Should I pinch every last penny today and live with very little so that I can have huge amounts of money when I am older? I guess this is a personal choice.

I am doing a little experiment. I won’t know if it works or not until I am much older, but to me it is worth it. I intend to spend my money in moderation while I continue to save. I would love to be a millionaire by the time I retire, but not if it means I can’t enjoy my life the way I want to right now. That doesn’t mean I buy every thing I want. I have given up many things that I love to do. I no longer go to movies at the theater, I rarely rent them. I wait until they come on cable now and record them on the cable box. I don’t go out to dinner very often actually less than once a month (probably less than once every three months). I will never buy a new car. Ever. And, those are just some examples. There are things that I am comfortable giving up. But, I don’t want to feel guilty for every penny I spend. I don’t want to feel like I am robbing myself in the future. I have decided that I will continue to live as frugally as I can, but not to the point of misery.

As I said, it is a personal decision. The man in the article may have still felt he lived a comfortable life. If he did, then he has earned a great reward. However, if he was miserable all those years and is only now, at 78, enjoying his life… well, I find that pretty sad.

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