Opinion

On merry-go-round of money

by
July 12, 2017

I am continuing to learn ways to be more smart with money. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

The older I get, the more I continue to learn about valuing my money.

Now, I’m only 27, and I’ve never been particularly bad with my money, but in hindsight I could have been a lot better with it.

In my early adult years in Tasmania, it was not uncommon for me to venture out on the town most weekends and spend upwards of $100.

Sometimes I’d go to Melbourne with friends for a weekend — not a cheap exercise — or attend music concerts.

I’m sure this is far from unique to many people around a similar age and, at the time, it was just something you did and the financial consequences were just part of it.

You went out, had a good time, and probably had a few moments of regret the next morning when you logged into your bank and found out how much you had spent the night before.

We’ve probably all been there, right?

I don’t regret any of that really, because you are only young once and there is nothing wrong with partying a little and enjoying yourself while you can.

I worked two jobs while I was studying at university so I could afford to not only live independently, but also have a few luxuries such as a night out or a trip to the mainland every now and then.

But in hindsight, I can’t help but think spending $100 or more on a night out is a lot of money. If you add that up over the course of a year, you’re looking at several thousand dollars.

On some rare occasions, I think ‘‘what if I’d put that money to something more meaningful?’’ — like saving for my future.

But I’m not a person to live with regrets and I certainly don’t regret my lifestyle back then, because I had fun and have many great memories to look back on.

But things change, and priorities change pretty quickly.

Six, seven, eight years ago, I looked forward to the weekend because I could go out on a Saturday night and have a good time.

Now, I probably have about two or three nights out a year, and my financial priorities are very different than they once were.

In recent times, they have ranged from funding a move interstate from Tasmania (expensive), paying for my wedding earlier this year (even more expensive) and, most recently, buying my first home with my wife (the most expensive of all!).

All of these things required planning and discipline with saving.

By no means am I tight with my money, but I am definitely now much more aware of where it is going.

I look at the bigger picture, like if you bought one takeaway coffee every working day of the year, that’s more than a grand just on coffee.

Instead, I probably have one takeaway coffee every week and on other occasions reach for the jar of Moccona when I need a caffeine fix.

I stick to budgets when doing the grocery shopping and look out for the specials to try to save money.

These are just some examples. They are little things but they all add up to something big.

Last month I finished reading Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor which has further inspired me to be sensible with my money, save and invest and plan for the future.

The book contains several ideas and tips for saving and investing your money and securing your future.

If you haven’t already read it, I’d encourage you to check it out. It’s a great read.

Cameron Whiteley is news editor at The News.

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