I very much feel this way about retirement savings, because (a) the money is basically not accessible to me and (b) its value feels very much out of my control due to stock market swings (and while I could make diff investment choices it’s all guesswork and it’s value at retirement even more so). Cash savings feel a bit more real although contemplating a large purchase is like “wait I can just… spend it? ” (like, IVF, car, house. Important things.)
I definitely end up reframing money saving in other ways.
- We try to keep our big expenses low. We did step up in housing by 35-40% because I was briefly pregnant, but if we’d bumped up another 10-15% we could be in a 4BR or nicer area. But what we have is plenty. We also stick to 1 car.
- If we buy physical things, my question is “Where?” (will we put it). I need to declutter as is. We’re definitely at a point where we are happy with a lot of our “stuff”.
- With regards to experiences the question becomes “when?”. There is only so much vacation time. And lots of weddings to attend! And we both need decompression time at home.
- It helps that we genuinely enjoy cheap activities… Camping, game nights, propagating our succulents.
- We definitely have lifestyle inflation in certain areas, like buying more easy/prepared foods, going out with friends on a whim (or even by ourselves). But the outsourcing is sanity saving sometimes and cultivating friendships is worth it. So maybe that’s just spending with our values right now. (Going out here refers to craft beers and pizza on a Thursday night, not clubbing 3 nights a week every week.)