Monday, July 9, 2007

Addicted to saving money?

I think I have a problem. I spend hours every day at my computer, reading and writing about money. I keep a blog and I write about money. I read about 6-10 blogs a day, all about money. I participate in 2-3 forums, all of which are about money. I listen to podcasts about money, I watch video clips about money, I read books about money, I search for articles that will tell me how to save money. I click and click and click.

When did it all become about the money?

I am saving money, it’s true. I’m making some money too, between the clicking and the writing, but the truth is I don’t feel like I’m a very interesting person right now. A lot of it, I know, is the anxiety, but I’m just tired of walking around all day thinking about saving money. I want to play, I want to read a book that has nothing to do with money, I want to write poetry again.

Does this mean I want to stop saving money? No, of course not. But the truth is, the reading is not what is saving me the money, it’s the doing. I may find one or two more little tricks to save money, but the truth is I already know most of what I need to know to save money. I just need to get off my rear end, shut off the computer, and do them. I need to have more time in my life, more life in my life. I’m saving money so I can afford to do things I love, but I’m not doing things I love.

It seems like anymore, I don’t save money to be able to afford what I need or want. I save money to save money, for the thrill of saving the money. After a while, it does become like an addiction, where my tolerance level rises. The same amount of savings stops being enough, stops providing the thrill. I need more, more, more. That’s not healthy.

It’s pretty easy to lose perspective. I think a lot of us have a tendency to fixate on one or a few things that are important to us. It’s important, though, to remember to balance that with other things.


Mike said...

I've wondered about that a lot recently, as well. I've got you beat on the number of "money" blogs; I read twelve daily. My wife and I also discovered Dave Ramsey, and, honestly, we've gotten a bit obsessed. My (requested) birthday gift was an annual subscription to his premier service so I could listen to his full 3 hour podcast each day. We both listen to the show, and talk about our favorite callers. I find myself spouting "Dave-isms" all the time. It's gotten a little ridiculous.

Having said all that, I think the constant attention helps us. We've got close to $50k in credit cards and student loan debt. Having the constant reminder, being ever mindful of money and our finances, helps us to keep our "gazelle intensity". We don't make (as many) impulse purchases as we used to. So while, yes, I fully admit to having a seemingly one track mind lately, I have a clear goal to accomplish with a defined endpoint, and that focus helps me reach it.

Stephanie said...

I also noticed recently that I've become a bit "money obsessed". I've been reading tons of personal finance blogs (it has become especially easy with my Google Reader...the magic of RSS), but it's weird, because I don't think there's really that much more I can do. I mean, I'm recently out of college, and trying to pay down my student loans as aggressively as possible. But I think I just like reading the blogs because it helps me to know that others are finding ways to deal with their debts and other financial shortcomings...I'm not alone! And every once in a while, I come across a really good idea, something I hadn't thought of before, or something I forgot to do, and I'm thankful I read it! That actually happened when I was reading the book "The Wealthy Barber"...I realized I was being foolish by hoarding away so much money in an interest bearing account when I owed much more money than that in student loans at almost twice the interest rate!

Well, at least you also know you're not alone with the obsession!

story girl said...

It's true that it provides a lot of motivation. I listen to Dave Ramsey too, and have made a rule for myself that I'm not allowed to listen unless I'm cleaning, cooking, folding laundry or doing something productive with my hands.

And of course I'm going to keep reading lots of blogs because I love you guys! The best thing about pfblogs is getting to know all you awesome people. . . sometimes I just get sick of myself.