I Spent It All…

Teen spending vs. realityI got my first job when I was 14. And like many teens with their first job, I happily cashed my check and bought whatever I felt like with the money. To me it was all “spending money”, so why not?

Now it’s not terrible that I spent it all (although I do really wish I’d saved at least 10-20% of it instead), but I wonder if those years of spending freely as a teen impacted the way I looked at my paycheck later on.

After all, I didn’t have my first real regular expense until after I graduated from high school.

Entering reality

Things are different once you have expenses that must be paid regularly. And they’re even more different once you’re actually financially responsible for everything in your life.

It can come as a shock — and the less you were financially responsible for initially and the more your parents provided for you, the bigger the shock.

While of course you aren’t deprived, you can start to feel that way when your money suddenly needs to go to things like bills instead of to indulging whatever whim you like.

Where the “I deserve it” spending comes from

I wonder if that’s where some of the “oh I deserve it”-type spending comes into play. We feel like we should treat ourselves by buying or doing something that costs money, and so we go ahead and do so. Nevermind that there are other things we should be doing with our money instead.

Things that can help us both short- and long-term.

Ironically, the more responsible we are with our money (by saving, investing, and planning for emergencies) the more we really are able to treat ourselves with what’s left.

It wasn’t until I made saving for emergencies, getting out of debt, doing additional saving, and investing that I started to feel like I could do whatever I felt like with my money.

Going back in time…

So if I could go back and do just two things differently with my money, here’s what they would be: I would have saved automatically from the very beginning, and I would not have gotten on the borrowing money bandwagon.

What about you?