Spending Time and Money

When it comes to money, I’m a saver not a spender. I love to save money so much that I will hide the odd $5 or even stash a $20 somewhere out of sight just so that one day I can discover it and feel like it’s free money. I love to accumulate money through automatic transfers to savings accounts, through birthday and Christmas money hoarded in an envelope at the back of my sock drawer, through an empty coffee can that collects our spare change. I love to save up for a big splurge and then cheap out and only spend half what I planned. Actually, I don’t love that, but I do it all the time because I so much prefer to have money saved up than to spend it.

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Some of you might wish you had my problem, and I will admit that I have indulged my pride a time or two, justifying my control binges of locking down spending as discipline. I mentioned that Matt and I are working through a marriage prep course with a couple from our church, and it has been really helpful to go back over the basics of building a healthy relationship together! One of the videos examines the lead couple’s differences in how they handle money – one a saver and one a spender – and how they needed to learn from each other. It is so easy to classify savers as “good with money” because they don’t waste money on frivolous purchases. However, as a saver, I am all too aware of the times I have wasted opportunities to spend my money well because I couldn’t bring myself to let it go.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a recent example – Matt and I took a trip to Mont Tremblant near the end of my mat leave to enjoy a great deal on a condo rental and have some special away time before my return to work. Matt snowboards, and he had a blast on the mountain while I took care of Torre even though it was bitterly cold at the beginning of our trip. He encouraged me to buy a lift ticket and rent skis for at least one day while we were there, but I kept putting it off. I said it was too cold, too complicated, I didn’t think Torre would nap without me putting him down, I wouldn’t know where to go and didn’t know if I could have $200 worth of fun by myself sliding down a mountain.

To be fair, I have some emotional baggage about being friendless on a mountain during a class ski trip in Grade 6, and it would have been more fun for Matt and I to ski together than alone, but that simply wasn’t an option with Torre in tow. I told myself that if I had my own equipment like Matt, then I could pony up the cash for a lift ticket, but to rent on top of buying a lift ticket was too much. Due to my inability to enjoy spending money, I spent almost a week in a fabulous destination mostly changing diapers and watching Cash Cab. Were there some highlights? Of course! But if I could do it again, there would be a wind-burnt selfie of me in on a chairlift in this montage.

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Yup, 15 years from now, my son will be reeeal glad I put that last picture on the internet.

On the flip side, when it comes to spending time… I waste SO. Much. A year ago I read a great book (reviewed here) that helped me realize how disconnected my use of time was compared to my core values and priorities. Unfortunately, lately, I find myself in a similar spot. I am disciplined enough to not usually go on the computer while Torre is up (mostly because it is so impractical – as soon as I get on the computer he wants to push ALL THE BUTTONS then turn it off with a grin), but my evenings have been disappearing like water down a toilet. At least if I was misspending money, I’d eventually get a credit card bill to snap me out of it, right? But wasting time seems to result only in me feeling generally cranky and overwhelmed – there’s no list of bad purchases to hold me to account.

I’ve considered keeping a time log for accountability’s sake, but I’m hoping that maybe I can just make some good changes based on recognizing I have a problem. I spend too much time mindlessly doing things that contribute nothing to my goals as a person, a wife/mom/friend, and most importantly as a follower of Jesus.

Where do you fall as a spender/saver when it comes to time/money? Are you happy with where you’re at, and if not… how can we change!?

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