As I sit here in the luxurious comfort of my Ikea bed, typing this post on my (mostly) shiny, (not quite as) new MacBook Pro, I can’t help but think about how I’ve been managing my money lately. I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of money recently even though I haven’t racked up any debt. At the same time, I’ve still been saving a lot of money, because I have part of each paycheck automatically put into my Roth 401(k) and Roth IRA.
In addition to getting a MacBook Pro, I recently bought a barbecue grill, because you can’t go through summer without grilling food. Of course, it’s not as fun to just barbecue for yourself, so I’ve been inviting friends over. It’s been a lot of fun, but it has definitely put a dent in my wallet. The fun has been worth every penny though.
Spending money is way easier than saving money, because the gratification is immediate. When I bought the grill, I could bring it home and grill a steak on it immediately. If something makes you happy now, who cares about later?
Saving money is all about later though. Putting money into my retirement accounts provides me with practically no immediate benefits now, but it has the potential to pay off big later. The problem is that later is so far away, it’s hard to even imagine what my life will be like then.
Like many things in life, I think the trick is finding a balance between spending and saving that works for you. Instead of asking “Now or later?”, you should try thinking about “Now and later.” Sometimes the answer is as simple as candy.
Have you been spending your money or saving your money?