Confessions of a Miser

by Justin Weinger on April 9, 2007

I have a confession to make – I love money more than almost anything.  Don’t get me wrong, my family and friends come first, but I don’t know if I can think of anything else that would be ahead of money on my list.

And because I’m this way, I’ve been called miserly, stingy, tightfisted, penny pinching and cheap.  Unfortunately, I like to think that I’m pennywise, fiscally responsible, frugal and certainly not cheap.

That being said, there are plenty of times when I think that my life would probably be a little less dull and a little more enjoyable if I would be willing to spend just a little of what I’ve worked so hard to save.

For example, I haven’t taken a real vacation since it was on my parents’ dime.  I never went on spring break in college, didn’t take a break between graduation and my first day at work, and will reluctantly take a day or two of vacation here and there, mostly just to take care of things I can’t schedule for after work or on the weekends.

Despite the fact that I’m doing just fine financially, money is still my number one worry.  I never feel like I have enough, even though I squirrel away money in my 401k, a Roth IRA and still have enough to store in various savings and investing accounts.

I scrutinize every purchase I make, seemingly forcing myself to justify every little purchase.  And God forbid I actually follow through and make a big purchase because I’ll be feeling buyer’s remorse for the next week.

Anyway, being a miser certainly isn’t all bad.  I know that if I ever got into a pinch, I would probably have enough reserves to be okay.  I’m not as worried about retirement as many people who go paycheck to paycheck, and if I could ever teach myself to enjoy an every-once-in-a-while splurge, I could easily afford it.

So, for as much as I talk about fiscal responsibility and storing away money, you also have to be able to strike a balance and know when it’s okay to let loose and spend.  If you can’t do that, and end up doing one or the other (saving OR spending) you’re setting yourself up for a lot of sleepless nights and unhappiness.


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