Learning to Enjoy My Money
Written by Jane Switzer

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

I would describe my money personality type as "anxious saver."

Even though I'm debt-free, I save, I invest and earn a decent living, I find it hard to spend money on more expensive things like travel, furniture that isn't made of particle board, or a quality item of clothing that I know will last longer than the average piece of fast fashion.

Recently, I joked to a friend that I wish I had been more "irresponsible" with my money and taken more vacations before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Being smart with money has sustained me through periods of unemployment and financial uncertainty, but the last few months awakened a new financial priority: learning to live a little and enjoy spending the money I have.

A New Financial Goal: Spend With Intention

Spending a lot of time at home made me realize that I value having a clean and well-decorated apartment, both for entertaining family and friends, and for my own mental well-being. I'm currently tackling a project I've been putting off for years: getting two vintage armchairs I inherited from my grandma reupholstered.

The quote I received from a local business puts the cost at around $800 to $1,000 for both chairs, which is a significant chunk of money for me. However, working with the upholstery company to pick out colours, fabrics and designs has been a fun creative outlet.

When the job is complete, spending money on a stylish reincarnation of a sentimental item is something I'll actually feel good about.

I'm Learning More About Saving and Investing

Good intentions apply to savings, too. Part of easing financial anxiety and enjoying spending money means knowing where my savings are going.

When it comes to my investments, it's about knowing how my money is being invested, and how those investments are working for me.

The intricacies of investing (and all the jargon) can feel overwhelming. Reading as much as I can has really demystified investing and made it way less scary. After diving deeper into books, blogs and online resources, I feel more confident about taking a more active role in planning for my future.

Following Through on Long-Term Goals

Planning international vacations has always stressed me out, and I've put off opportunities to travel because I thought "there's always next year." Recently, I set up and labelled a new savings account with a very specific travel-related goal — "Luggage 2021" — because I'm in my 30s and I still borrow suitcases from my parents.

I don't know when my next vacation will be, or what international travel will be like over the next year or two, but saving up for a sleek new suitcase is giving me something to look forward to.

Easing Financial Anxieties By Being Proactive

I'm still living within my means and saving, but I'm also working on shifting my spending toward the things I value, and away from what I don't.

Overall, becoming more aware about saving, investing and spending has eased my anxieties about my financial future. And by being more intentional with my money, I'm learning that enjoying spending isn't being "irresponsible" at all.

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