Extravagant: Switch it on and off

Happy New Year! This post is a bit of an experiment; I decided to try out reacting to a prompt. If you’re interested in reading something a little introspective, take a peek under the cut!

I’ve had my own personal bank account since I was in elementary school. I played with fake check books, pored over the finance section in newspapers with my parents, and had the importance of passwords and PINs drilled into me from a young age. You can say I’m a little tight-fisted with money as a result.

Living alone, it’s simpler to budget myself and save money. I withdraw a certain amount every week to use for… whatever, and when it’s gone, I’m done. But as a result, there’s one thing I find very difficult to do: treating myself.

For about 340 days out of the year, I stick to my scheduled budget and wince every time I’m “forced” to go beyond it. Birthday parties, unplanned trips, visits to the doctor… whatever it is, I’m not thrilled about spending anything beyond my plan. So while I talk about going to get a fancy massage, riding the bullet train, or getting a new electronic gadget all the time, I never do. Because that’s out of the budget.

But something funny happens when I reach day 341.

There’s a moment that I reach while paying for something that, in my mind, is “extravagant”. I’ll be at a hotel checking in for the night–a single room, no bells or whistles, don’t care about the room view–when the reception will ask me something innocuous: “Would you like to include breakfast in your stay?”

I’ll pause and go, “…You know what? Yes. Yes I would.”

“All right, we have the standard breakfast that starts at–”

“Give me the deluxe breakfast. Also, I want room service.”

The reception’s eyes will light up, and by this point I’m feeling a rush of determination–not to save my hard-earned cash, but to spend it.

I’ll go through the rest of that day, eager to find something to throw my money at. Video game? Heck yes, let’s buy three! Clothes? We are spending no less than a hundred bucks on stuff I don’t need. Transportation? We’re not walking, we are taking a taxi. Everywhere. Yes, even down the street to the corner.

And you know what? That massage I never get? I’m getting the full 90 minute version, not the half hour I’d been promising myself all year. The spa? I’ll ask for the recommended course, not the budget one.

By day 365 out of 365, there I sit with my new pile of Stuff, recently pampered and spoiled and feeling like king of the world.

But then, the clock rolls back to day 1.

And a brief panic sets in.

What was I thinking, I’ll ask myself, scouring my bank and credit card statements. I know better than that! I know how to budget, why did I let myself go that badly? How can I recover from that damage?

I’ll run through all of my stuff, certain I’ve brought myself to the brink of financial ruin, all because I took a couple of weeks and gave myself something to enjoy.

Finally, I’ll settle back, and relearn the lesson I always end up at.

That it’s okay to be a little extravagant with one’s money once in a while, because after all, why else are we saving it except to use it at a future date?

What do you consider extravagant? Do you have any financial goals you want to hit in 2018? Let me know!

via Daily Prompt: Extravagant

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