Ask Pete: Do you like spending money?

Written by
Peter Dunn

People often ask me, do I like spending money? Maybe people think I'm a financial buzzkill, but the truth is I actually do like to spend money. To hear all about how much I like to spend money, listen to this clip from The Pete the Planner Show on 93 WIBC:

If we were to group people into spenders and savers I would definitely be a spender. Lucky for me, I married a saver. Mrs. Planner has really helped me see the merits of saving over the years, but I actually have to credit someone else for helping me prioritize.

My wife and I had a friend named Jane in college and every time she sat down to a meal she would quickly, in her mind, rank the foods on the plate. She would list the foods from what she liked least and work her way up to what she liked the most. Her theory was if she could take care of business quickly by eating the foods she didn't like she would be able to fully enjoy her favorite part of the meal.

I can't say I made the connection then, but now I see this as a perfect example of how I enjoy spending money. It becomes the 'pay yourself first' mentality. If I get all the "bad" stuff out of the way first, I can fully enjoy whatever money is left over. The way my finances are set up my bills, savings, retirement, and college savings are all taken out immediately when I get my paycheck. After that, special funds for things like a new car or a house project are taken out. Then comes our donations to charity. So basically what happens at the end of the month is whatever money is left over, is just that, left over. We can use it for whatever we want. I could spend that money on the dumbest stuff ever and I wouldn't feel an ounce of guilt about it because everything else is fully funded.

This is the beauty of financial wellness. If you have paid off debt, saved an emergency fund, and are saving for retirement and college, you are free to use your "extra" money for anything you want. I like to spend money on stuff, but I don't always. Part of what comes with financial wellness is the knowledge that spending money isn't always satisfying. Spending is one of those behaviors which is often associated with success. If I have enough money to spend on whatever I want, I'm successful. This mentality rarely works long-term. I may have the luxury to spend money when there is some left over, but I don't equate it with success. The success is that I had money to save and pay for everything in the first place.

So the answer to the question is yes, I do love to spend money, but it is no longer what I define my success by.

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