Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Save For What You Want

Tip #71 - Save For What You Want. In today’s “I want it now” mentality, try to take time the time to budget and save for something you want badly. For each person this "want" will be different - whether it be a car, a vacation, or a new dress. The point is to work hard and save up for a purchase. Don't just put every want you have on your credit card. If everything you want is bought instantly without having to work for it, then it’s usually not very appreciated. That is part of the evils of credit cards. We are able to get instant satisfaction from something that we have not necessarily worked hard to acquire.

Instead of spontaneously buying something you want, put money away each week or each month faithfully in anticipation of purchasing something in the future. As you are in the process of saving the money, think about what you will be buying, how you will put it to good use, and the enjoyment you will get out of it. Then when you have saved up enough, you will savor the moment that the item or the experience it is yours. You will appreciate what you bought because you will remember all of the work and dreaming that went into saving up for it. And you will treat the item or the experience very carefully, with the honor and respect it deserves.

In Real Life (IRL) – Ever since I was a child, I have always liked to travel – whether it be to the Jersey Shore, on car trips up and down the East Coast, or to faraway places in Europe. I still remember the buildup to some of those trips. My dad would pull out the large roadmap to plan our travel route. I would look at all of the names of the small towns we’d pass along the way and wonder what it would be like to live there. I would pore over travel books we had in the house to try to figure out what sights we would see in our destination. And I would look at colorful pictures in coffee table books and dream about people in far off places and how they lived. The build-up to my vacation was often half the fun.

When I was a senior in high school I was given a fabulous opportunity to travel to France with the foreign languages department, something I had wanted to do since I had learned in my sophomore year that our school would be going to France when I was in twelfth grade. For three years I looked forward to going there. And months beforehand, I counted down the days, literally, to that trip. I dreamed about being in France. I went to the library and read up on sites that we would see in the country. And I practiced my French that I had been studying since eighth grade. And when I got to France, I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a trip that had been in my heart and soul for so long that I truly cherished being there. Even though my parents paid my way to go, I appreciated it immensly because I was living something I had dreamed about for three years.

Because of my love of travel, I have always made room in my budget to go on vacation yearly. I could live without fancy dinners in restaurants that a few families enjoy, designer clothes that other women covet, or a big house the some feel are necessary. To me, travel has to be part of my life as long as I can afford it. I am not talking about spur-of the moment vacations to all-inclusive resorts at a Caribbean Island, I am talking about trips that I plan and save for each month. Ever since I have been in my twenties, I have put about $200 monthly into a savings account so that I can travel somewhere for a week or two. It isn’t necessarily somewhere exotic (I actually dislike to fly). It may be a car trip to Florida, a vacation around the National Parks out West, a tour of New Orleans, or a visit to New England. Our country is varied enough to experience a variety of topography and lifestyles that I can still get an over-the-top experience without leaving our shores.

I know that a week’s vacation can be considered a frivolous purchase to some people, and I do know that it is a luxury that not everyone can afford. But because I save for it each month, I appreciate this opportunity that I can take advantage of, just like someone else might appreciate a $2,000 purse that they have saved up for over the course of a year. Whatever it is you hope to acquire or experience, the more time you spend saving for your desire, the wiser your purchase will be and the more you will appreciate it.

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