Everybody talks about all of the wonderful things that happen when you’re saving money and being responsible. I know I do. It’s true, good things do happen. There’s really nothing like the feeling that you’re suddenly not living paycheck to paycheck.
But what about the other side of the coin? What sucks about staying in the black?
1. You have to make choices. When you’re living on credit, you can buy a car, charge an expensive dinner every week, and go on vacation. If you’re not spending real money, then who cares? When you’re living for real, you have to prioritize. Do you buy groceries or video games? Do you buy sexy lingerie or a fancy dinner? Braces or college? You’re given a lot of choices, but you can only pick the ones you can actually afford.
2. You’re no longer the Joneses other people are trying to keep up with. The guy down the street, with the fancy car, big screen TV, and artificially perfect noses on his teenagers? You’re not him, anymore, but that’s okay, because he’s financing his lifestyle 9.9% at a time. Yes, a bit of incoming envy can give you a warm, tingly feeling, but it doesn’t put food on the table.
3. It’s boring. Taking a trip in a fast car and picking up an entourage for a 10-day party is fun. Balancing your checkbook and spending 6 months saving up for your kid’s braces is not. If you’ve been living like a rockstar, rolling back to a responsible standard of living is going to come as a shock, but it’s better than suddenly running out of money and having your world come crashing down around you.
Being responsible comes with a lot of downside, but it’s all superficial. The benefits are real, and long-lasting. What’s the worst thing you’ve had to deal with by being responsible?