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It’s harder to spend money you’ve saved up

It’s harder to spend money you’ve saved up

Have you ever noticed that it’s harder to spend money that you’ve saved up over time? Even though you may have saved it for a particular purpose?

Suppose you’ve saved for a year for a fabulous vacation, a vacation that you’ve wanted to go on for more than a decade. You have the money in your account. You’ve watched it grow as the year went on, getting ever closer to your goal. But when it comes time to buy the tickets and reserve the hotel, you find yourself feeling a strange mixture of excitement and reluctance.

Why is that?

I think it’s because you know, deep down, that the money sitting in your account represents all the hard work you did to get it there. It represents your time, effort, determination, patience and desire. And it causes you to weigh whether what you’re about to spend it on is really worth all that work.

You start asking yourself questions: Is it really what you want to use the money for? Do you want it badly enough to exchange the money for it? Are you willing to start over at zero for the next goal? What potential opportunities in the future will you be giving up or delaying by spending this money now?

In short, it makes you think. And thinking is a very good thing to do when it comes to spending money.


View Comments (8)
  • I can relate to that too. I see money as energy–energy I’ve spent to trade
    it for paper money. As I value where my energy goes, I definately question
    and weight options before I spend.

  • I can relate. This past year I saved up twice for 2 big purchases. One about 8 months for a new computer, the other about 5 months for a new TV. The whole time I was doing research, waiting for prices to come down till I saved enough to buy. At the same time I understand what you mean, yes it is hard to see that money saved and know it’s going to be spent. At the other hand, I had so much confidence and joy when I was able to afford and make an educated purchase on my items. I worked hard to save the money and did the right research involved to make my decision.


  • I guess it’s a mind of matter!

    how much do you really need that new T.V?

    Do you think people feel the same way when there is available credit on their credit card? Or are they more apt to use that up thinking well….i can pay that back over time?

  • Chelo, I suspect that people don’t feel the same way about available credit. As far as how they do feel, I imagine that varies by person.

  • There’s a very definite “ouch” factor when you spend actual cash that you have saved. You *know* what that money represents, you know how long it took to make it, you know exactly what you decided to not get ort do to hold onto it.

    What’s great about this process is that, because you are much more aware, you start to look at different options than you might otherwise have considered. Is it available in another form? Do I have to spend money to get the same utility (or if yes, do I have to spend as much as I *think* I do?). I know I ask these questions much more vigorously when I’m deliberately allocating money for something, as opposed to just buying it and figuring out where to make it fit later (something I still do from time to time, but thankfully much less often recently).

  • As to credit, you get a little disconnected from the actual purchase with plastic because it doesn’t represent real money at that moment (yes, of course it’s very real and needs to be paid back, but the act of paying jsut feels different).

    On my end, I refuse to purchase anything that I cannot pay off at the end of a month, but I’ll confess that it’s much easier for those purchases to become nebulous to me, whereas when I am just dealing with greenbacks, purchases are never nebulous; I’m *very* aware of just what and how much I’m spending.

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