On Always Wanting More

January 17, 2013

Lets talk about the need to have the best. The need to have more money saved, to have the best car, or the best place to go on vacation, or the urge to squirrel  away money and do nothing with it. Yes, these are topics that most people don’t want to talk about. Well, some people don’t want to talk about them.  I have a strong belief in enjoying life and saving for when I retire.  I don’t understand the 2 extremes. You know what I’m talking about.

The Savers

These are the people who save EVERY SINGLE PENNY. They are extreme couponers, the crazy cheapstakes, the ones who have a hard time spending anything. Why? Well, because they want to save for the future. While there is nothing wrong with that; I do get a little scared to see that type of behaviour. We’re not promised tomorrow, so why are you putting yourself through all sorts of discomfort today to live comfortably tomorrow?  Obviously I’m not saying that saving for retirement is not smart, or putting something away for a rainy day is the best thing you can do for yourself, but the mentality of wanting more tomorrow by sacrificing today scares me. It has always scared me. Life is single best blessing/gift we have been given. The fact that we have the ability to travel the world in a day, and see things that our grandparents dreamt of means that we should enjoy that, or at the very least appreciate it.

The Spenders

These are the people who have to buy the nicest car, order the best/most expensive on the menu. The ones who need to spend $50,000 + on a wedding  (even tho their parents will be paying for it). I cringe every time I watch people looking at expensive wedding gowns on TV. Don’t get me wrong, I drive a pretty car, I like $6 drinks at Starbucks, and I spend way more than I should eating out, spend $25 on a lipstick, but I’ve also learnt how to budget, or at least figured out what percentage of money needs to be allocated to what. Do I have it down right? HELL NO. I mess up all the time, and I try very very hard not to judge anyone who makes mistakes. Its the over the top spenders that scare me. Especially when I know that they are living way way way above their means.

Source: brayola.com via megan on Pinterest



Now you may be wondering why I’m talking about this. You see I have 3 siblings; 2 sisters, and an amazingly fantastic brother (not that my sisters aren’t amazing either). When it comes to money, my sisters are the most cautious people you’ll ever meet. They like thinking over EVERY SINGLE PURCHASE for days. This makes them happy and drives me crazy. 1 of them graduated University without any student debt, and chances that the other will too.  The one who graduated University just started Med School in California. What that means is that her debt load will equal the cost of the average house here.

My brother, on the other hand, just came back from wandering around St Maarten and Anguilla for 2 weeks. We are the same person when it comes to impulsive trips. Our decision making matrix is somewhat broken. I have no doubt that he will have a boat load of debt when he graduates, and starts his Masters.

The difference between us siblings is that 2 of us have stories of our adventures, and the other 2 have no debt. I’m not sure who wins here.

What I do know is that I act according to my beliefs. And I believe that life is for those who are willing to take the risk and do so. I believe that if you’re smart about your money, you can walk away from a great paying job and wander the world for a while. I believe that 80% of your income shouldn’t be saved if you’re living on mac and cheese. And most importantly I believe that today is the only day that we have, but tomorrow is a possibility. So go on an adventure, and make it one to remember, but have something to come home to.

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  • rewind revise January 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Amen! I have a good chunk of student loan debt but I’m currently planning an extensive trip abroad. I’m kind of the mindset of this is why we work, right? To save up and have adventures! Love this post.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Amazing! Where are you going?

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor January 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I suspect I’m more like your sisters, but I envy a little bit people like your brother. The thing is, even if I were totally secure forever financially, I think I wouldn’t choose wandering St Maarten and Anguilla as my recreation. I’d choose to live in an area where I could wander locally forever and enjoy great beauty and magnificent nature (which I’ve done 🙂 ). As with most things, the best course may be somewhere in the middle?

    • Marissa January 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

      Finding the middle ground is rather hard, isn’t it?

  • Catherine January 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Great post. It’s true that there’s no certainly for tomorrow and although we need to be prepared we can’t wish our life away until retirement. Money is meant to be spent but like you said, within means.

    • Marissa January 18, 2013 at 12:39 am


  • Sean @ One Smart Dollar January 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I think it is human nature for us to want more. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to act on it. I always try and live in the moment but also try and think about tomorrow.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      That is a hard balance for some/most.

  • Budget & the Beach January 17, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Yes it’s all about finding the balance between the two for me. I’ve had my fair share of impulsive trips, and usually have a great time with good memories, but then I spend the rest of the year paying off the card or realizing I didn’t have enough for other things. Now I’m a little more calculated in my approach to saving for fun and adventures. That way I can enjoy them more knowing it’s well thought out and paid for.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      I feel that I’m getting to that point as well.

  • Financial Black Sheep January 17, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Moderation is the key to life. I think that is the best way to live life. As for being too frugal, or not frugal enough, I think it is whatever you want personally. If you want student debt and the consequences of paying it off, then go for it. On the other hand if you want to live off Mac and Cheese and Ramen noodles to save every cent, no one is stopping you.

    For me I lean more towards the frugal side, but only because I am not where I want to be financially in life. Once I finish school, have more money in the bank and investments I will loosen my spending, but until then I think I am fine with cooking all of my meals, having Starbucks at home, and only going to 2nd-run movie theaters.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Speaking of Starbucks at home, do you have the new machine?

  • Felix Lee January 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I really enjoyed your article. I have the same thoughts and feelings about people who are crazy about saving and people who squander away their money on the other hand. I would have to say I’m more similar to you and your brother — I like to budget but I will spend for things that make me happy. We have to live life, don’t we?

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm


  • John S @ Frugal Rules January 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Great post Marissa! I think there is a balance to be had between the two. Sure, I’d love to retire when I am 40 and never have to work another day in my life. However, it’s not worth it if I am taking cold showers and eating mac and cheese all the time to get there. Life is meant to be fun, which is great if you’re not throwing money out the window in order to do so.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      There is nothing really wrong with Mac and Cheese 🙂 I just don’t want to eat it every day.

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter January 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I’m with you regarding the need for balance. So many people in the PF world vilify living life AT ALL. It’s all about balance and prioritizing what you value, personally, in a way that is sustainable and achievable.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      I feel people value knowing that they have money in the bank more than enjoying the day.

  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets January 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I’m on both worlds. We have a VERY tight budget because we have to for my wife to stay at home with our little guy. But man can I drop some coin on a nice dinner and an ’06 Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley! And my wife, frugal as she is, has VERY expensive taste. I always joke she has champagne taste on a tap-water budget, lol! But I’m with you, I can’t stand the extremists.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      See, but you’re doing it for a reason. You have to be on a budget for the time being. Plus, I’ve read about some of your decisions when it came to cars. 🙂

  • Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity January 18, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I think the most important thing is that each of you does what makes you happy. Like you said, calculating their purchase decisions makes your sisters happy, and you and your brother have your stories, travels, and adventures. If you ask me there are no losers there. The key to life isn’t what you do per se, but being happy with the things you choose to do. Personally, I value time more than money, since one is the ultimately limited resource and the other can always be recouped. For anyone to tell me that they are “wealthy” but haven’t had any real life experiences or crazy stories to tell, then to me that’s not wealthy in the complete way I would like my own life to be.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      Me neither.

  • Canadianbudgetbinder January 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I believe it’s all personal opinion and really we don’t know what happens behind closed doors or know about a persons past or current situation. For us, we simply enjoy a balance in our life living for today whilst saving for tomorrow. Cheers

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      You make an excellent point. People have different reasons for acting the way they act.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money January 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    “And most importantly I believe that today is the only day that we have, but tomorrow is a possibility. So go on an adventure, and make it one to remember, but have something to come home to.”

    I need to live more in line with this reality. That is all.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm


  • AverageJoe January 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I had some clients that were all about save, save, save, save, save. After I experienced a few clients passing away, I began to realize that it’s about balance: live today, but save enough so that you can live tomorrow, too.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      What happens to those who save save save? They pass on their savings to their kids, which as great as it is, is not the reason to suffer thru life.

  • Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin January 20, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I agree that you need to have a little bit of balance. In my diet I have a cheat day where I can eat and drink literally anything I want. I do this with my finances as well, the difference is that I save enough money into a savings account and call it my splurge fund. So if I have the impulse to buy something on the spot it comes out of that account.

    • Marissa January 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Whats the best thing you’ve splurged on?

  • Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals January 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    This is such a great post, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about this issue a LOT lately. I was known as a bit of a miser – even in my family of misers! – for a while, but recently, we had a major change in income and we feel comfortable “splurging” a little more. I’m really working to find a happy medium between being a spender and a saver. It’s hard to find that middle ground, but I’m convinced it does exist.

  • eemusings January 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Sigh. I’m one of those annoying people that agonises over every decision, including financial ones. I’m terrified of being penniless in my old age, but I think I’m more concerned about enjoying my life NOW while I’m young.

  • Girl Meets Debt January 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Great post Marissa! I definately use to be a spender, trying to be a saver now. I don’t think I can ever be someone who SAVES EVERY SINGLE PENNY because I enjoy life (in the present) too much but I’m finding my happy medium 🙂

  • S. B. January 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Our society and especially our media like to focus on extremes and outliers, as they make for more interesting discussion. Hence, there are strong expectations to be an outlier for many people – financially or otherwise. Horace wrote of est modus in rebus, but the average person today does not have an appreciation for the middle ground. This is too bad because obviously an individual cannot maximize or minimize very many variables in their life. Being somewhere in the middle, neither a miser nor a spendthrift, is likely to result in more happiness in the long run.