Spend your Money

Megan Harper, Features Editor

  I’ve always loved shopping. For as long as I can remember. I’ve craved the excitement of buying things, opening a package, or spending the day lost in a mall. I wouldn’t even really consider myself a materialistic person, but there’s something about seeing your hard work come into fruition that is so satisfying to me. It makes me feel like I didn’t spend all of those hours at work for nothing.

   Don’t get me wrong, saving money is important, especially as you get older. It’s always good to have money set aside in case of an emergency. That being said, my favorite kind of savings are those with an end goal in mind. I find that I am more motivated not to spend money in the short term if I’m working toward a long-term goal. 

   I guess I’m contradicting myself in a way, though, because I am no stranger to impulse purchases. That’s the luxury of having my own money: to an extent, if I want something, I can buy it. Maybe that’s just me. Retail therapy, if you will.

   To be fair, I’m not rich. I make just over minimum wage and nearly half of that goes to taxes. There are things I want that I simply can’t afford, even if I save, and that’s okay. It motivates me to work harder to put myself in a position where I could buy virtually anything I want.

   I think there’s a time and place in your life to be saving as much money as possible. I’m fortunate to be young and have very few actual expenses, so I can choose what happens to every dollar in my bank account.

   My perspective on life changed when I got my first real job. I had done different things to make money in the past, but none of them compared to that first paycheck. I felt so free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without the worry of asking my parents for money or having to collect up change. I felt old.

   When school was virtual, I was making more money because I could work more hours. Now that school is fully in-person, I haven’t worked as much, and that’s okay. I have all my life to work. I’ve just had to adjust my spending accordingly.

   We never know what tomorrow will bring, and we’re literally living through a global pandemic right now, so we should live every day to its fullest. If that means buying something just because you feel like it, so be it.

   When I go through a period where I don’t have as much money as I did a few weeks before, I remind myself that there is always a better time coming. As I get older, I’ll have more opportunities for better-paying jobs. I’ll be able to pursue something I’m passionate about rather than just the first job I could find.

   I can only hope that someday I’ll be in a position financially where I can afford to buy everything I need and still have room for the things I want. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Easier said than done.

   A few years down the line, I might have a completely different attitude about all of this. Being in school full-time, I won’t have time to work forty or even twenty hours a week. I’ll have to find a way to budget and save so that I’m not behind on necessary expenses. Not to mention, I’ll be paying off student loan debt probably forever.

   If you’ve been thinking about buying something for a while, this is your sign. You only live once, and everything works itself out in time. Go buy it. I certainly would.