Confessions of a Spender

I am jealous of people who are naturally good with their money.

We always hear about how there are “savers” and “spenders”.  I am a spender.  I was raised in a household of spenders, most of whom continue to be spenders to this day.

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I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I am always in awe of people who just save naturally, who even find it difficult to spend their money.  I hope that one day this will be the case for me, but I sort of doubt it.  In one specific way, being a spender is a bit like having a chronic medical condition; you’ll always have it, and you have to make sure to continually manage it to make sure that it doesn’t flare up.  Sure, I am capable of saving, but it’s not as though I just turn a switch in my mind and am magically a saver.  When I save, it is not easy.  It is war.  Each day and each week is a bitter, bloody, tooth-and-nail battle of wrestling with myself to not buy whatever it is that my inner spender wants at that moment.  And there is always something new that it wants.  Saving does not feel easy, it feels incredibly difficult, day-in and day-out.  Importantly, I often fail those inner battles. The number of times that I have ended up purchasing something that my inner spender had become obsessed with, only to feel ashamed at having lost the battle to keep my money, well, there are more than I’d care to count.

I find that much of the personal finance material out there talks a lot about the technical details of saving and investing: how to set up an investment account, which savings vehicle you should use, etc.  The problem with this is that it is ignoring the more important “how” that exists like an elephant in the room for all of the born-and-raised spenders like myself, namely, “How do I stop my money from slipping through my fingers on things I am convinced that I “need” at that moment, but that I really do not?”  I think that this is a “how” that cannot be ignored for the spenders among us.

So I’m a spender.  So saving is painful.  Does this mean that I have to fail?  I sure hope not.  Looking at my monthly net worth statements from Mint.com, I have managed to increase my net worth by roughly 29,500.00$ since 2016.  I have paid off almost 12,000$ in credit card debt and I have kept it paid off.  I have learned to use my credit card for the rewards program while paying it off in full each month.  This may not sound amazing to the savers out there, but for a spender like me, these are huge accomplishments.  I wish it felt easier to save, to stay within my budget, and to live within my means, but it doesn’t.  Despite this though, I am still managing to make important gains, and to work toward my goal of paying off my student debt completely.  Being raised a spender doesn’t have to define you, but it’s also okay if it doesn’t feel easy to make that change.

As always, thank you for reading,

Debt Dummy

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