I want it now!! And later too…

As a young American, I am very much a part of the “I want it now” culture. But I also want to have wonderful things in the future and as I grow older, I find myself realizing that those two desires do not and often cannot go hand in hand. So I’m doing what every young person would do, I’m blogging about it ;).

I’ve had a job since high school and never because I had to. I am blessed with parents who have the means to support me fully. We are, by no means, wealthy but I have lived a comfortable life. My parents have sacrificed a lot in order to put my brother and I through college and have never expected me to work to support myself. In return for their generosity, I have always felt it was my duty to make the most of the opportunities they have given me. They pay for me to go to school, so I take school seriously. They pay for my apartment so I make it a priority to keep things clean and in order. I don’t spend their money on frivolous things like alcohol or drugs and I rarely shop anymore. I’ve also always done my best to pitch in. I have had a job for the past year (no one would hire me freshman year of college since I was only in Chicago during the school semesters) and with that money I pay for things like groceries and craft supplies. No matter how much money I make, it seems to disappear so quickly. So that leaves me questioning my spending habits. While that killer dress from Anthropologie might seem like a piece I cannot pass up right now, in the future when I’m looking to buy a house I’ll regret spending the money in such a silly way. So my question is this: How do you balance your current wants with your future dreams?

Right now, I want to own cute clothes and shoes. I want to go out to eat as much as possible because Chicago has amazing food. I want to decorate my apartment and buy things that make me feel at home such as books, wall art, and bouquets of fresh flowers.

In the future, I want to have enough savings to put a down payment on a home. I want to have money to travel. I would love to take cooking classes in foreign countries and get my masters degree from a prestigious school. I would love to be able to take time off of work to write a book (or two or three). When I get married, I want to be able to buy my own dress and pay for the festivities. I never want to depend on my spouse financially. I want to have kids and pay for their college like my parents paid for mine.

When I write out my hopes for the future, suddenly the supplies for that craft I’ve been eyeing seem wildly unnecessary. When the decision to spend a thousand dollars renovating my apartment or use it for plane tickets to France presents itself, I would so much rather spend it on the tickets. But for me, it’s far too easy to lose track of my future dreams while I’m in the present. I don’t want to miss opportunities because I’m so focused on the future but I don’t want to compromise my future because I want everything in the present.

Does anyone else feel this way? I know finances are an extremely personal matter, but if you’re willing to share I would love to hear how you budget so that you can enjoy your present and feel secure in your future.

To get the ball rolling, I’ll tell you that I save a minimum of 20% from every paycheck I receive. Granted, my paychecks are tiny (a couple hundred dollars every two weeks) and my expenses are many. I think it’s important to save as much as possible while things are good so that I’m set up for tough times.

Okay! Now you! How do you balance your present and future happiness in terms of money?

9 thoughts on “I want it now!! And later too…

  1. I love that advice Alyssa!! I think having a little money set aside for splurges is a great way to buy yourself nice frivolous things while sticking to a budget. I'm definitely going to steal that idea :)

  2. Ah, I can relate, I want it all now and my husband is all about saving, so we balance each other pretty well. We prioritized a long time ago that we want to spend our money on memorable experiences instead of things. That's mostly what we do unless I see a totally sweet pair of shoes. So my advice is to let your spending reflect your priorities, but set aside a little dough for some splurges (i have a small "ladies nice things" budget, no protests allowed from my husband on how i blow it)

  3. Love honesty in blogging about finances! Spending freezes, auto-deposit into savings and budgeting are all great ways to help stay on top of your finances.Credit cards are scary but a necessary evil. I too went all through college without having one and even (shame) through part of my adult life after college without one. I know they pose a danger for ruining your credit, but they are handy for building your credit. When it came time for my husband and I to rent a larger-priced condo from an individual, we had to submit credit reports. My credit was good but it was low because I was new to the credit card world.Do your research and see if the time is right for your start building credit. Never buy more on credit than you would in cash and always pay your balance on-time and in-full. Doing that will ensure that you only build your credit up and will be prepared to prove your credit in the future!

  4. Courtney– that's a great idea! I hate getting all of those emails anyways and they are such a temptation that I may as well unsubscribe from them :). Thanks for sharing your take on this!!

  5. This is such a timely post; I was just talking about saving money with my mom yesterday. She was doing bankruptcy counseling for awhile and it's just so terrifying to realize how easy it is to go from having enough to having nothing. Saving is definitely key, and I'm really hoping to focus more on it myself. As far as wanting things, I definitely get that. I try to not to buy too many things…I always get tripped up on going out to eat. Whether I'm going out with friends or just feel like I'm too busy to cook, I keep finding ways to justify it. One (small) way I keep myself from wanting things is unsubscribing from e-mail lists for stores. When companies keep throwing coupons and sales at you it's so much harder to say no! Not knowing about the coupons and sales makes it a little easier. :)

  6. Mrs. Pancakes– My parents have always told me to avoid credit cards at all costs so luckily I've never had one. I agree that saving for the future generally trumps whatever I want right now.Olivia Dee– ha! I WISH I could cut rent out of my life. So much money and it just seems like such a huge waste. I'm glad you feel the same way though. It's very difficult to avoid splurging on fun expenses right now even though its not the best plan for the long term. Thanks for the comment!!

  7. I'm in the same place right now. I want… everything. And I always manage to finagle my way into getting. if my mind is made up… there is no turning back. just recently the boyfriend and I began to really sit and discuss the future. what we want and how we can get there. of course at the extreme… no rent would be VERY helpful, but it's not likely. Now, we're cutting back on eating out, taking lunches to work/school. and really just sticking to the necessities. even if it means skipping over that dress or those shoes (for me). it's tough. and it's comforting to know i'm not the only one out there feeling this way. the hardest part… is when you circle of friends has a different mind set when it comes to finances.sorry for the novel!

  8. This is an awesome post…i think as i've gotten older i realize that its better to save for what you want and need because credit cards are not worth it…ive learned to delay instant gratifications when it comes to my wants and this has been helpful!

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