I find it slightly strange that, the more I go from having no money to making enough to live comfortably, the more reluctant I am to spend it.
As a kid, the money I made was basically my (admittedly large for the time) allowance and birthday checks… yet I loved to spend it and had next to nothing in savings.
In middle school what meager savings I had was eaten up by the Pokemon TCG craze, and I spent way too much money. Still no income.
In high school, I started working a part-time job. Spent a little less, but still had rather large purchases relatively often (such as dropping $300 in one trip to Best Buy to get lots of games) and would splurge on random things like CDs and cafe items at Barnes and Noble.
In college, I worked more regularly and gradually spent less and less each year as I made more and more money from internship experiences. I self-imposed a $50/month spending limit (excluding essentials like food and toiletries, and excluding larger purchases like my DSLR and laptop) and stuck to it (at times dropping it to $30 when I wasn’t actively making money from jobs).
Post-graduation, I have an awesome job that pays well, but I am extremely reluctant to spend it. I still stick to the $50/month spending limit and, if anything, include more items under that now than I did in college (generally resulting in me buying even less now).
I’ve wanted a new computer since I started work over a year and a half ago. My laptop, at this point, is relatively unusable due to its lack of internet and ability to randomly turn off or reboot. Yet I can’t justify the $700 purchase to myself because, after all, the laptop *does* still work, and I can accomplish things on it like making cards and tagging photos.
My DSLR is rather broken, as I can no longer shoot with it at shutter speeds over 1/50 (or zoomed in at all) unless I turn it upside down. Yet I can’t justify the $1000 purchase for a new camera. Instead, I purchased a small, crappy, point-and-shoot camera for $80. It doesn’t really do what I need it to (although the portability is excellent), but I was much more willing to deal with the sub-$100 price tag. At this point, it’s kind of my replacement for the SLR.
Food-wise, I used to eat out a lot in college, and even when I first moved here. Now just about every meal is cooked at home (or provided as leftovers free from work courtesy other peoples’ lunch meetings) and I am extremely reluctant to order at restaurants (even when I go with friends).
As far as the groceries go, I no longer go to the store and pick up whatever looks good. I now scour the weekly ads and make a list and effectively buy only sale items (or items that I have coupons for). I buy chicken on sale and freeze it. I buy 10 jars of pasta sauce when it’s cheap. I have saved at least 50% on each of my grocery bills in the past 6 months, with only one or two exceptions (mostly when I’m feeding other people like my parents). On the plus side, this results in me eating healthier as I tend to buy more vegetables and staple foods rather than snacks. But it’s still a huge change from college.
(As far as my large trading card purchases go, the cost gets spread out across subsequent months, so I effectively borrow ahead a couple months’ $50 budgets, then don’t buy anything else in those months. I did the same for my point and shoot… it will be paid off at the end of this month.)
I’m not entirely sure what this says about me.
On the one hand, it’s nice building up a nice savings account in the event that something goes wrong. It’s a good feeling to know that there isn’t much that can hurt you financially at this point, and that you have enough saved up to maintain your standard of living for well over a year should anything happen.
On the other hand, it seems silly that I’m not really using the money I make from my job to buy and do things that make me happy (besides saving it, which I suppose makes me happy), especially because I already have a nice savings account built up. It’s not even about luxuries like a TV (don’t need) or eating out all the time (don’t want)… but little things like a new computer or a printer that I’ve been wanting for over a year and can’t justify to myself.
So yeah. I guess I’m just really strange or something.
Am I the only person who does this (spends less and less as time goes on)?
(Also, seeing as it is almost 3 AM, I should probably try that sleep thing again.)