A “girlfriend” posted on my Facebook page the other day lamenting that her husband was accusing her of being miserly. That got me to thinking, when does our savings cross the line from thriftiness to “Ebenezer Scrooge?”
A couple of questions to ask
- Ask yourself what you are saving for?
- Do you have an emergency savings goal that you are trying to reach?
- Are you saving for a vacation?
- Christmas gifts?
- A new car?
And then the follow up questions
- Have you reached that goal?
- Are you using the money for the intended purpose? This is an important question because if you aren’t using the emergency savings money for the broken down car, dishwasher, dryer, etc. then you have probably crossed the line, in my humble opinion.
I say this from experience. I have been guilty of miserly behavior. I have also been accused of being a hoarder of money.
I am not saying saving money is wrong, quite the contrary. What I am saying is that you need to use that savings for its intended purpose, especially if you have a spouse who knows what the original goal amount and purpose was for.
Finances are one of the TOP issues that couples argue about. A way to alleviate some of that strife is to honor the goals that are set.
Setting the goal
- Figure out what you want to save toward…emergency savings, vacation, Christmas gifts, whatever.
- What’s your timeline? Do you want to reach that goal in 3 months, 6 months, a year?
- Review your budget. What will it take to reach that goal within the allotted time you set. For example, you would like to save $5,000 in your emergency savings within the year. Divide $5,000 by 12 months and you will need to save approximately $417/mo.
- Is your goal reasonable? Some people will find $417/mo easy enough to save and others will be robbing Peter to pay Paul. The worst that will happen is that you will get discouraged and throw up your hands. Please DON’T do that. Just change your goal amount or your time period. Every goal is attainable if you really want it.
- Once your goal and dollar amount are established, determine where you will stash the cash. Do you have a savings account already? Do you need a separate one? This is all personal preference.
Why do we behave this way?
I attribute my miserly/hoarding behavior to my humble beginnings. I am not interested in heading back in that direction so the more I can save the safer I will feel. Except that is not the case at all. Now I have even more fear…what if it somehow disappears?? I know, deep psychological issues to contend with. I am working on them. I bought and KEPT, most importantly, my new MacBook Pro. It was all I could do though not to return it. I even tried to justify not spending the extra money on Microsoft Office.
So if you are saving for a car and you hit the goal number, then buy the car. If you are saving for a cruise and your goal number arrives, take your cruise.
As my husband always says You can’t take it with you.