For a few years, I've been accused of being a, to use a popular invective, "penny pincher." The moniker carries many negative connotations, the most prominent of which is a certain sense of selfishness or uptightness. While there are many out there who place an inordinate value on money and the happiness it purportedly brings, I am not one of them.
In fact, I used to be the diametrical opposite of the spending-conscious type. A few years ago I was a student still on my parents' dime, and although it may be cliche to say this, I didn't care because I wasn't earning the money. Then, all of a sudden, I was out in the real world with no one to depend on financially but myself.
How did this transformation from a spendthrift university kid to coupon-clipping young professional occur? It wasn't simply the fact that an enormous amount of responsibility had been very quickly thrust into my lap. Rather, I thought about the value of money more, thought about the stress that worrying about money induces, and told myself there was, in fact, a different way to live.
We read every day about the enormous amounts of debt that nations and/or businesses have accrued, and we read also about the general financial turmoil that the world is currently in. But these problems are somehow separated from individual debt, and sometimes I feel that we are made to believe that we have no complicity in all of this, that the situation is, all in all, hopeless.
Of course, the stability of global markets cannot be reversed by one or even a handful of individuals. However, even though the job market is dismal overall, and we do not have the spending power, generally speaking, than we did a few years back, that does not mean that we have lost our ability to save money responsibly.
I am not necessarily a neurotic coupon clipper. Rather, "penny pinching" to me simply means being smart about how I spend my money. I keep track of my spending habits, I identify ways in which I can change expenditures that aren't all that beneficial toward my immediate or future happiness, and I conscientiously save at least ten percent of my income every month.
In the final analysis, you can call these tactics "penny pinching" if you want to, but the fact of the matter is that when you assert more control and take on more responsibility in any aspect of your life--whether it's with your personal relationships, your work, or your finances--you reduce stress and generally feel better. And who doesn't want to enhance the quality of their lives?
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who writes on the topics of online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com.
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