Do You Live For Money Or Use Money To Live? Thumbnail

As a personal finance blogger, guy with two finance degrees, former banker, stock market enthusiast, and someone who once enjoyed rolling around in a big pile of money, you might call me a finance minded individual.  Most of the Yakezie members, like me, think about money a lot.  We think about earning money, we think about saving money, we think about frugal use of money, we think about spending money, we shudder at the idea of wasting money, and we are sickened at the idea of losing money to fees and credit card interest.

My Focus on Spending vs. Saving

I am a big saver.  If you look at my net worth chart, you can see that I am steadily paying down debt and putting money into my savings, retirement, and investment accounts.  I am a saver.  I think hard before I spend.  However, I am not an extreme frugalist that lives on forty-eight cents per day and hates to spend money on myself.

I work hard during the day to ensure I have enough money to live.  Like Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity and Ramit at I Will Teach You To Be Rich (this one is an April fool’s joke), my philosophy is not to save every penny for the sake of it.  I don’t save just to save, I save for a goal.  And I don’t spend frivolously, but I don’t mind spending to improve my quality of life.

For example, over the last year, I have spent thousands of dollars on travel.  I have been on a trip almost once a month for the last few months.  I jumped on a plane to Tel Aviv over the summer.  I flew out to Chicago and Orange County for weddings.  Including hotel, those were not cheap.  In between jobs, I took a last minute trip to Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe. I have another trip planned later this month.  I have spent over $3,300 in travel so far this year and have no regrets.

Pick Where You Spend, But Don’t Go Over Board

Now, just because I spend thousands on travel doesn’t mean it is the right thing for you.  If you are in serious debt, pay that down before spending on anything.  But if you are comfortable and have enough money going into savings and investments, it is okay to spend a few bucks on a hobby.  To me, that hobby is travel.  To my old boss, it was sports cars.  To another friend, it is photography.  To you, it could be anything.

The key is to spend intelligently to enjoy your money without sacrificing your future.  Be responsible, but have fun.  Life is intended for living.  What’s the point of going to work every day if you come home to an empty life?  Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy things and experiences that make you happy.

What is Your Style?

Many of us blog about our style, but let’s try to get it down to Twitter length for the comments.  In a couple of sentences, tell us how you manage your spending and, if you have a weakness or hobby, what is it?

Updated on 2/10/2015

[Photo by Goldberg]