All work and no play make Jack a dull guy.
We use the phrase to describe those who are always working hard at work, and as a result, miss out on enjoying life. They constantly prioritise saving, investing and thinking about tomorrow, over today.
Sounds like someone that you know?
The good news is that these people are probably financially responsible individuals. They will turn an invitation to dine at a $100 per pax restaurant in order to save $100 more for investing for the month. They will say no to an overseas trip in order to save a few thousands more each year.
But is it always a matter of choosing to be financially responsible over enjoying life? Or is it possible to enjoy the best of both worlds?
Understanding What Are Your Dreams
Like everyone else, financially responsible individuals have their own dreams.
The main difference between financially responsible individuals and others is that financially responsible individuals include financial goals as part of their dreams. These include being able to retire early with sufficient passive income to sustain their desired lifestyle.
It doesn’t mean these individuals have no other dreams. Similar to all of us, they may want to live in a nice home, travel the world, buy the latest gadgets and try the best cuisine. But they also have other goals as well, as opposed to just spending as much as they can each day.
Having The Best Of Both Worlds
Striking a balance in life is important. While we do not advocate for individuals to spend all they earn without a care for the future, we think it’s equally important to not live a miserable life just because you are trying to save every penny you can.
If you want to travel the world, you could. If you want to dine at your favourite restaurant, go ahead. If there is a dream home that you are looking at, save towards it.
The idea here is to know what your dreams are.
All too often, people covet for things not because they really want them, but because they see someone else having it. For example, Singaporeans are travelling to Iceland not because they think Iceland have some amazing culture which they should immerse themselves into, but because their Facebook friends are all going there. Likewise, we want the latest iPhone not because our current iPhone isn’t serving us well, but because we see other people having it.
The same applies to big-ticket items such as owning a car, having a dream wedding and opting for an expensive home renovation.
Plan For Your Dreams
If you understand your own dreams well enough, you can pursue them without caring about what else others are doing. The next thing step will be to plan for it.
Most people have dreams but failed to plan for it. Neither are they good when it comes to giving up some of their less important wants for their dreams.
For example, if your dream is to own a private property in five years time, then you should save and invest towards it, rather than to continue spending on annual holiday trips.
Budget For Your Dreams
Some dreams are expensive. At the same time, it’s possible to reduce the cost for your dreams as long as you are willing to budget properly for it.
For example, if your dream is to take a month long trip across various countries in Europe, you can do it 1) in an expensive way that most tourists do or 2) a more affordable method where you rely on cheap accomodations, affordable local food and public transport to get you around.
Some people can’t differentiate between what their dreams are and other wants that are less important.
For example, if what you want is a stress-free time away from the office, then a simple getaway to a nearby location like Bintan or Bali will be a good and inexpensive option to enjoy luxury living for a few days.
If what you want is to shop, head to Bangkok to get good cheap deals.
If you want to travel and see places around the world, head to cities that fit your criteria.
But don’t take a holiday and expect to book comfortable hotels, a shopping experience and to travel across countries all at once. This will increase your cost in a significant and unnecessary way.
Decide, Plan and Budget For Your Dreams
To end off, we believe it’s possible to be financially responsible and still enjoy your dreams as long as you are able to follow the three steps above.
- Determine what are your dreams, and what are desires that you have because of what others have.
- Plan towards your dream by kicking out unnecessary expenses on other things in life.
- Find ways to accomplish your dreams using cheaper alternatives.
By taking the above three steps, you will be able to enjoy spending on your dreams in a guilt-free and financially responsible way.
DollarsAndSense.sg is a website that aims to provide interesting, bite-sized financial articles which are relevant to the average Singaporean. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter to receive exclusive content not available on our website. Follow us as well on Instagram @DNSsingapore to get your daily dose of finance knowledge through photos.