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Saving Money = Feeling Deprived?


I read an interesting post by Jennifer at SavingAdvice. She asked if saving money makes you feel deprived. I think it’s only natural to feel that way, especially if you were used to spending money when you wanted to but you’ve been forced to tighten your wallet.

We went through that feeling of deprivation for a little while. I think the biggest thing for me was home updating. Our home was stuck in the 60s when we bought it and we spent some money (on credit) to spruce up some rooms. We did it cheaply – which I kick myself about now. The cheap stick-on tiles in the kitchen are not holding up at all. We did still spend money we didn’t have at the time.

After we started our debt reduction journey, that spending stopped for a while. I did start to feel a little deprived because not all rooms in our home were updated. Our bathroom has been a biggie. It’s pretty darn u-g-l-y and there is trim missing. I’m glad I only have to see it a few times a day. I feel a bit petty to be talking about our bathroom in such a way. It is functional, after all. Just ugly.

To help combat my feelings about the bathroom, I have been picking up things here and there for the past three years. I had an idea in my mind of what I wanted and thanks to giving the project some time, I now have almost everything we need to work on the bathroom this summer. The best part is that we saved some serious money by doing it that way because almost everything was a deal. From the 99 cent clearance borders to the “mistake color for another person but not for us” discounted paint purchased at the hardware store. We spent about $75 so far. The last thing we need is some trim and we’re ready to go. I haven’t caught that on sale, but I’m hoping to be able to make it to a discount lumber store this summer.

I guess that would be my contribution as to a suggestion on how to combat feeling deprived. If there is a project that you really want done – pick at it here and there over a long time frame. Gather all your materials and shop for the deals. Every time I found a deal for our bathroom I was so happy. I still have to deal with the ugly bathroom for a while, but at least it won’t be for too much longer. If all goes well, it will be a nice summer project 🙂


  • Reply Debbie Lacy, MoneyMindful |

    You found a way to get what you wanted while staying within your means, which is what people used to do before credit cards. I think our society has become too accustomed to instant gratification. We feel deprived when we can’t have what we want when we want it. Personally, most of my credit card debt was the result of not being able to delay gratification. Too often, our purchases only meet the immediate need/want and do nothing for our long-term goals & dreams. In fact, the immediate gratification purchases make it harder for us to achieve our bigger, much more meaningful goals.

    Now, instead of feeling deprived because I can’t have the wardrobe I want right now or the car or the whatever, I remember that each time I save and put money in one of my long-term “pots,” I’m funding my dreams… not depriving myself in any way. Quite the opposite really.

  • Reply Sandy |

    I think it all worked out! The way that you are living your life now allowed you to recognize and take advantage of some great deals. The old you might have gone for a 10K bathroom remodel when the new you is fine doing a face lift on your own time and on your own dime.

  • Reply DCS |

    Have you checked the Habitat for Humanity ReStore? They have trim and stuff sometimes. According to the web site, there’s one in your area.

    I love that mis-mixed paint. Hard to get four walls worth on a big room, but it’s so very cheap, often for the really good paint. I’ve been tempted to ask them to color-match a full-price gallon to the discount batch, then just blend them to save $ and insure consistency of color.

  • Reply Margot |

    More often than not, I don’t feel deprived because I focus my thoughts on how nice it is to feel the financial freedom and security that comes from having money in the bank and no debts. Once you really feel how nice it is to not be living at the financial edge, all of the material stuff won’t feel as great.

  • Reply Kev |

    It’s the total opposite with me. Saving money = Feeling Empowered. What I’ve found is that having the OPTION to buy stuff is actually better than BUYING it.

  • Reply Mr Plasectomy |

    I don’t think you should have to feel deprived when you are saving money. Yeah the instant gratification is no longer there, but the feeling of accomplishment by saving I think would be far better and last longer. Do you ever sit back and think, wow it sure was great to swipe my card for that new tv, bed, furniture, wallpaper, you name it? No, probably not. You will however remember when you saved for weeks, months or even years for that item and most likely be proud that you are not STILL paying for them via minimum monthly credit card payments.

    Going cold turkey to save is extremely hard and is more than likely going to fail. It so important when starting out to save to do a dollar amount and increase it over time.

  • Reply tina |

    Tricia, i think you are amazing!! I am so impressed on how you are able to wait for what you want. When we bought our home it needed a lot of work and i think I may have acted like a spoiled brat getting what i wanted. We didn’t go into debt to remodel however, that money would have been better spent on debt we did have at the time.

    We are now debt free and our home will be paid off in about 3 yrs, we only took out a 10 yr mortgage so that was one SMART thing we did. I have to say, I could not have continued with our debt journey without blogs like yours. Level headed people that plan for tomorrow by sacrificing today!!

    i LOVE your blog, keep up the good work!!

  • Reply danielle |

    omg, are you really only $199 away from savings=debt now? Aaaahhhh!

    To answer the question about this post, no, I never feel deprived. And, I save a lot of money. Today, I put down several poster boards and let my 21 month old daughter experiment with crayons, markers, colored pencils and paint. I sat and watched her and cut squares out of fabric that people from my freecycle groups gave me. It was a very full day, and cost just about nothing. It all depends on your perspective. I have to admit, though, sometimes I feel deprived that I only have one child. If I could afford 18 kids, I would have them.

  • Reply Tricia |

    danielle – LOL. Yep, I updated the debt total but didn’t get a chance to write a post yet 🙂

    tina – well, we weren’t always that patient. It’s great to see our debt go down, but I really cherish how our attitude about so many things has changed during the process.

  • Reply Rachel |

    I wonder if I should feel more deprived than I do? My husband & I are still new to being responsible with our finances and getting out of debt and I don’t know if all our decisions are the wise ones. For instance, this month we’ll be going on a very inexpensive ($150) weekend vacation…but I also need a new clutch and have nothing saved. If I saved for the vacation we wouldn’t go for years because we have so much else to pay off. So I feel stuck!

  • Reply emmi |

    Hard to get four walls worth on a big room, but it’s so very cheap, often for the really good paint. I’ve been tempted to ask them to color-match a full-price gallon to the discount batch, then just blend them to save $ and insure consistency of color.

    I was just going to suggest this. I always make a point of having an extra half gallon left over anyway, labelled for what room it belongs in. Good paint comes in those nice plastic jugs that never rust and boy is it nice 6-7 years on to be able to quickly touch up a room like new without fully repainting the whole thing. *Thats* where you really save the money (and time).

  • Reply James @ GoingBrokeBlog |

    Discipline is a hard skill to learn, and often isn’t learned until the lack of it has created a real hurt in your life.

    I spent 10 years of my life, from before high school graduation to getting married, buying on credit, enjoying the immature lust of immediate gratification, and growing my level of work and worry at the same rate of my debt.

    They say you don’t know the worth of what you have until you don’t have it anymore, and financial freedom definitely fits that lesson. It took me until I was working two jobs over 80 hours a week just to pay the bills and minimum credit card payments before I realized that, truly, what I owned owned me.

    Delayed gratification is far more a blessing than a curse in life. I am now thankful to have the good sense to wait to buy something until it’s a year old, no longer a fad, or can be bought used or at a discount.

So, what do you think ?