Saturday, October 25, 2008

Investing in Meaningful Experiences

Aesthetics matter to me, so having nice surroundings, being able to partake in my interests, and looking my best are kind of important to me. But the older I get, the more I realize, that this does not mean that I should be spending more money than I can comfortably afford to. I am just learning about the dynamics of money, and how you can really pay for money and personal decisions you make when you are young later in life. I definitely want to have more meaningful professional and personal experiences in the future, but I don't want to necessarily spend a lot of money, or incur more debt (than I have already!). To me, meaningful experiences include:
  • Spending time with my loved ones (family and friends)
  • Adding to my circle of friends and acquaintances
  • Learning (hobbies, skills, information, random facts)
  • Volunteering my time to causes I believe in
  • Traveling
  • Daydreaming...which leads to figuring out what I want in life and setting measurable goals to make them happen
Most of these meaningful experiences listed above can either be saved for like travel or cost little to no money, like spending time with the people I deem important in my life. Meaningful experiences don't include shopping or comparing where I am in life professionally, personally or financially to my peers or people I read/learn about. Lately, I have found that I have been looking at my finances (or lack of much discretionary money to spend) as prohibitive to having experiences that I find meaningful, but that is simply not true and not a very positive way to look at life. It's just and opportunity to be more creative. No, I can't just buy that cute dress I saw on my last window shopping excursion, but I can learn how sew and make my own dress (sewing is a long term goal I plan to start tackling in 2009). No I can't take a trip to Europe at the drop of a hat as much as I'd like to. But I can put money aside each month for this goal which will eventually add up to enough money for me to take my European vacation. No I don't have the extra money to spend to go to a hot new club in my city with my friends. But I can invite them over and cook a meal, or we can have another fun, less expensive outing. Your attitude about things really determines weather the glass is half full or half empty, and I choose to be an optimist.


Money Maus said...

Great post! I agree about meaningful experiences. For me, all my close friends (including roommates) LOVE the bars and have more discretionary income (or help from parents) than I do - so, instead of saying "no" and being home by myself, I go out. I will offer to drive and limit myself to 1-2 drinks.

savingcent said...

Lovely post! Its all about the optimistic outlook! I'm trying to learn to sew as well...I recently found some lovely linen fabric for 50% off... I'll be starting my first dress soon... good luck :)

FruGal said...

I totally agree. One of the best things I have found since living more frugaly is getting right into cooking (which I used to be terrible at but am now quite good if I do say so myself), and rediscovering all the fun things that don't cost money but kind of get lost on the side when you're constantly out and on-the-go.

Great post :)