After So Much Time Saving Money… Spending Feels Weird!

shift from saving investing to spendingTori and I have lived a fairly basic life since we’ve graduated from college.

First, we worked hard to pay down Tori’s roughly $80,000 of student loan debt in less than three years.

Next, we saved up six months worth of expenses in cash then added another six months worth of expenses in a taxable investment account.

Most recently, we started saving for some specific large purchases we wanted but had been putting off.

Now that it is time to pull the trigger and spend the money, it feels weird!

The Shift From Saving To Spending Is Strange

After being stuck in one gear for so long, the pay down debt and saving up money gear, it feels weird to shift into another gear.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re looking forward to the purchases we’ll be making in the next few months.

However, due to the large prices on these purchases, we have had to double check to make sure we’re doing the right thing. We ran through a few considerations to make sure we weren’t just blowing our money.

Wants vs. Needs

Thankfully, we’re to the point where we can spend some money on things we want instead of just things we need, so we knew off the bat that none of these purchases would count as needs. That took a bit of time to adjust to, but once we got comfortable with the idea we moved on to the next consideration.

Splurge vs. Planned Purchase

Next we thought long and hard about the potential purchases we were making to determine if they were a splurge purchase or something we truly wanted for a long time. It was easy to see that we’ve wanted these items for a while, so we passed this test, too.

Inexpensive vs. Quality

Since these purchases won’t be small purchases, we next considered the quality of the items we were looking to purchase. Our initial thought was to try to find something inexpensive because we would still be spending a lot of money.

After further thought, we decided that instead we should purchase quality items even if they did cost a significant amount more money since we’re hoping these purchases will last for at least ten years.

Setting a Price Limit

Finally, we set a limit for how much we would be willing to spend after investigating the markets for the items we were looking at. No matter what you buy, there is always a super expensive ultra luxury version of every item.

After we completed our research we found the sweet spot between buying a quality item versus getting into luxury item territory and set our price point there.

Why We’re Glad We’re Spending

Even though it will still feel weird to make these large purchases, we’re glad to spend the money on these items. We’re finally upgrading from hand me downs to something we picked out ourselves and that is pretty awesome for us.

To top it all off, these items will help us continue the process of making our home our own. Since we’ve lived in our current house for two years already, we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do with the place now. These purchases fit perfectly into that plan.

It’s time for us to take advantage and enjoy the opportunities our hard work and earned money provides for us. Now that we have built a very strong foundation of our financial house, we’re ready to move into the enjoyment phase of our money while still responsibly saving and investing for our future and our retirement.

Have you ever shifted from a paying down debt and saving mindset to an enjoying your money mindset? How did you balance saving and investing for the future against enjoying some of the money you earn? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Image by: Brilliant Michael Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Once you reach the point of being able to spend. It took us over 4 year to pay off our debt, it’s certainly an adjustment period. You have to think about short term saving (vacations, material upgrades) verse long term (retirement, college saving) and build a new plan. The biggest key is not to fall back into old habits.

  2. It is hard, even to the extent that when I save cash to buy, say…a new handbag…when I actually take the cash to the store and look for the right bag, I often put it back on the shelf and walk away without making the purchase. I have to tell myself that once we got the EF taken care of and our investment accounts are on track, the bills all paid, if we have money left over it is ok to spend. If you don’t spend any of it, why have it? At least that’s what I tell myself.

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