As a young American, I am very much a part of the "I want it now" culture. But I also want to have wonderful things in the future and as I grow older, I find myself realizing that those two desires do not and often cannot go hand in hand. So I'm doing what every young person would do, I'm blogging about it ;).
I've had a job since high school and never because I had to. I am blessed with parents who have the means to support me fully. We are, by no means, wealthy but I have lived a comfortable life. My parents have sacrificed a lot in order to put my brother and I through college and have never expected me to work to support myself. In return for their generosity, I have always felt it was my duty to make the most of the opportunities they have given me. They pay for me to go to school, so I take school seriously. They pay for my apartment so I make it a priority to keep things clean and in order. I don't spend their money on frivolous things like alcohol or drugs and I rarely shop anymore. I've also always done my best to pitch in. I have had a job for the past year (no one would hire me freshman year of college since I was only in Chicago during the school semesters) and with that money I pay for things like groceries and craft supplies. No matter how much money I make, it seems to disappear so quickly. So that leaves me questioning my spending habits. While that killer dress from Anthropologie might seem like a piece I cannot pass up right now, in the future when I'm looking to buy a house I'll regret spending the money in such a silly way. So my question is this: How do you balance your current wants with your future dreams?
Right now, I want to own cute clothes and shoes. I want to go out to eat as much as possible because Chicago has amazing food. I want to decorate my apartment and buy things that make me feel at home such as books, wall art, and bouquets of fresh flowers.
In the future, I want to have enough savings to put a down payment on a home. I want to have money to travel. I would love to take cooking classes in foreign countries and get my masters degree from a prestigious school. I would love to be able to take time off of work to write a book (or two or three). When I get married, I want to be able to buy my own dress and pay for the festivities. I never want to depend on my spouse financially. I want to have kids and pay for their college like my parents paid for mine.
When I write out my hopes for the future, suddenly the supplies for that craft I've been eyeing seem wildly unnecessary. When the decision to spend a thousand dollars renovating my apartment or use it for plane tickets to France presents itself, I would so much rather spend it on the tickets. But for me, it's far too easy to lose track of my future dreams while I'm in the present. I don't want to miss opportunities because I'm so focused on the future but I don't want to compromise my future because I want everything in the present.
Does anyone else feel this way? I know finances are an extremely personal matter, but if you're willing to share I would love to hear how you budget so that you can enjoy your present and feel secure in your future.
To get the ball rolling, I'll tell you that I save a minimum of 20% from every paycheck I receive. Granted, my paychecks are tiny (a couple hundred dollars every two weeks) and my expenses are many. I think it's important to save as much as possible while things are good so that I'm set up for tough times.
Okay! Now you! How do you balance your present and future happiness in terms of money?