If I Didn’t Save Money…

…I would have more stuff…

…and I’d be more stressed out. Way more stressed out. I not only have issues with accumulating more things when I’m stressed out, but I also have difficulty getting rid of things. The piles just grow. Then I see the piles and stress out more because:

a)      They show that I’ve been spending money, and

b)      Because it makes my home look cluttered and disorganized.

When I started decluttering my stuff, my stress levels decreased tremendously. When I stopped buying things, the amount of decluttering that needed to happen went down. If I wasn’t saving money, I’d be spending it. A portion of that money would inevitably translate into “stuff”.

…I would buy more hair care products…

…because I’d have more white hair. That stress I mentioned before? It would be accelerating the amount of prematurely white hair I already have something fierce. I’d be dying it more often because it would be more noticeable when I didn’t. As a result of dying it more often, I’d probably be using more colour protecting products, hair moisturizing masks…

…I would buy more skincare products…

…because I would have more early wrinkles from worrying. And stress acne. Talk about a double whammy! Not only do I get to look older, I don’t get to leave behind the skin issues of my youth either! So not fair. I’d be spending money in vain trying to maintain my skin with more products, facials, interventions, you name it.

…I would weigh more…

…because I have a propensity to turn whatever I have sitting in the bank into food and drinks. Thinking back, I did this in high school as well. Instead of packing a dinner when I was at work, I would buy it. Instead of packing food for when I was figure skating, I would buy something from the canteen. It’s a hard habit to break, but when I have money in my account I feel more comfortable buying food out instead of cooking it at home. A teenage waistline can take it. An adult waistline? Not so much. Moving money into savings means I have less to put towards eating out.

…I would do more yoga…

…mostly out of necessity to deal with my stress levels. Yoga isn’t cheap either, so that would further corrode my financial stability. Which would lead me to doing more yoga.

It’s kind of a cruel, sadistic cycle when you think about it.

…I would take more vacations…

Which would again be needed, because I’d be so bloody stressed out.

…I would have only recently paid off my car, if at all.

I paid $10,000 for my car. During the months I paid it off, I was paying little over $1000 a month on average if you included my income tax return. That would have put me at the paid off point around September this year. If I didn’t use my income tax return on it, I was averaging little under $800 a month, which means I’d be paying it off right about now. Because I already had savings in the bank when I bought it, I was able to knock out the balance last March instead.

If I had bought it at a car dealership with a loan that cost $400 or so a month in payments, I’d be less than half way done paying for it right now.

Woohoo for having savings when you need it.

…I would be jaded towards people who talk about investing…

…because it would be an abstraction to me. I’ve been interested in money and investing since I was in my teens, but I didn’t always feel like I had the money to do it. It was frustrating. I kind of resented my peers who were able to do it. Usually I assumed they had gotten help from mommy and daddy (which was sometimes true), and felt like investing was out of reach for normal people like me. Since I save now, I now have money available to invest.

It doesn’t help when investing advice is targeted to people who already have six figures in cash sitting and waiting to be invested. Woo hoo for discount brokerages with low fees who make investing more accessible for the little guys!

…I would talk like I was going to work until I died.

Have you ever heard someone say that their coworkers will have to wheel them out the door when they die, because they’ll never have enough money to retire? It’s kind of sad. If I wasn’t saving money, I’d be in that same position, so I’d probably be talking like that as well.

Fortunately, I’m right on track to having over $30,000 saved in my retirement account before I turn 30!

Saving money sometimes gets a bad rap for being slow, boring or being a lifestyle buzzkill. Sometimes it takes a while before it seems like it’s worthwhile. Yes, it can change your lifestyle, but at the end of the day those changes are frequently for the better.

What would you be doing if you didn’t save money?

Recommended Reading: Simplified Finances

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12 thoughts on “If I Didn’t Save Money…

  1. I’d drink gourmet coffees daily which means I’d need bigger pants eventually, and those aren’t cheap. And probably a new belt. I’d also have a new fashion scarf for every day of the week. I’d get my hair styled and cut more than once every six months.

    Lastly, I’d buy a nice bedroom set… But I wouldn’t be able to sleep from worry-wart stress from lack of savings.

    PS, thanks for the recommended reading link :)

    • The gourmet coffees are kind of doing me in at the moment. November was kind of a binge month, and now my pants are tight *cringe*. Fortunatly I’ve only purchased one this month.

      Kind of glad I’m not the only person who goes long, long times between haircuts.

      You’re welcome :)

  2. You’re so right! Saving can be slow and is void of instant gratification but it’s so worth it! I finally took the time to build up my savings, even with serious debt, and it feels great. Looking at how different life would be without it is a great exercise!

  3. $30,000 by 30 is monumental! I think I had $1500 at that age! If I didn’t save money, I would probably have a double-stuffed clothes closet, 25 pairs of fashion boots, another book case of books I didn’t have time to read, and continuous tummy troubles from eating out every day!

    • Thank you so much for writing that. I read a lot of blogs that say things like “you should have 1x your gross income saved by the time you turn 30″ and I feel really inadequate.

      Your description sounds really close to what I’d be living :s

  4. Yeah, I’d definitely have more stuff if I wasn’t paying off debt. I would be spending all over the place instead of focusing on my priorities.

    I think my transition from debt payoff to savings will be a difficult one, but I’m definitely looking forward to it! Seriously, I want to earn interest, not pay it!

    • The transition is really difficult, I’m not going to lie. It actually really messed with my head. There is this urge to take a breather for a little bit because you just finished a monumental task (it’s true), but it’s hard to build up the same momentum again unless you have a really specific goal in mind.

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