On 29 out of 30 days in a month, I feel pretty lousy about my finances.
Maybe it’s the crushing pressure that I put on myself to be perfect all the time, or maybe it’s my overexposure to the “world” of personal finance – where no amount of saving that anyone does seems to be enough, ever – but most of the time I feel like I’m just not doing very well financially, especially for my age (28!).
So sometimes, to save my sanity, I indulge in a little game that I call “yeah, I could buy that.” I look for expensive, extravagant things that I could buy with the cash I have in savings.
A pair of Louboutins? Yeah, I could buy that.
A trendy new sofa? Yeah, I could buy that.
A sleek MacBook Air? Yeah, I could buy that.
Maybe this game is silly and materialistic, or maybe it’s even downright greedy and prideful. But it’s a cognitive trick that keeps me from going nuts about my finances. It’s like, if I reassure myself that I could actually buy tangible things with the money I’m socking away (even though I never would), then that money actually means something, and I feel like I can keep going. I think part of the reason that saving is so hard for me is that I feel sort of disconnected from the money, like it’s this arbitrary, theoretical concept that I’m holding on to for no discernible reason other than that I should. It snaps me back to reality (and lets me spend a few moments daydreaming) to remember that, yes, money buys things and there are a lot of things I could buy but am just choosing not to.
Do you play any mental “games” to keep yourself financially sane?