As we enter the land of having two munchkins, our expenses and budget are becoming tighter than ever. Consequently, it seems like an odd time to invest in myself.
Having been frugal for a long time mostly out of choice, this life change is going to feel different. Daycare alone could be $17,000 a year for the next two years. Of course, once munchkin 1 goes to Kindergarten, things will change a bit.
But not really. And I’m not sure what to make of it.
- Do we create a bigger cushion (aka - emergency fund)?
- Do we keep investing at the same rate?
- Do we funnel our savings into college funds?
- Do we decide to never have pets again once our old buddies pass away (booo)
- Do we eat only rice and beans?
Or do I spend money on myself as I never have before?!
Cha-ching! Let me explain.
Good Life vs. Great Life
I have to face some brutally honest things about myself.
I’m not very motivated to make money. I never have been. (Look at my career choices - musician and teacher.)
Even when I make money, I spend it in ways that don’t really motivate me to make more. I aim for responsibility, and I’m pretty simple. Freedom with my time is about the only thing that motivates me. And now - MY KIDS.
Some of you might be thinking - what’s the problem lady? Well...
Is there such a thing as being too responsible? Could this be a habit that doubles down once you have children? To the point you limit yourself and take care of basic needs but never reach your creative potential?
- What would be out of my comfort zone at this point? Spending money on myself related to my business.
- What would be really out of my comfort zone? Spending money on myself for no reason whatsoever.
A thought came to me the other day…
"If you play it safe, you are probably going to have a really good life. No regrets. But if you take some risks at the right time and in the right places, you are going to have a great life.”
Two Savings Paths Diverged in the Woods
While there are plenty of free ways to invest in yourself, I’m thinking about pursuing paths that will cost money. I’ve finally clarified a PhD is out of the question. (As time goes on, I feel great about this decision).
However, now the ways I want to invest in myself feel a little untraditional. I like to make albums, write, and indulge in completely random ideas. My critical voice sometimes says these are for someone in their 20s (not their 30s). I’m trying to tell that voice to bug off. Of course, I’m trying to do it “responsibly.”
How? Extra Savings
- Selling items
- Creating low-risk online adventures
- Freelance writing
- Opening up myself to monetizing the blog (Amazon affiliates and maybe even Patreon)
- Buying tech items (such as another computer, software, hoop light, etc.)
- Buying well-researched courses
- Buying time (daycare in the summer 3 days a week)
- Paying to have the songs mastered (if I don’t feel confident doing it myself by then)
- Buying vinyl and CD versions of the album (but not as many as last time)
- Trying out paid advertising
- Launching my physical products/merch (mentioned in a previous post)
Basically, I’m keeping track of every penny I make outside of my traditional employment and giving myself permission to spend it on the above.
This is money I would have otherwise invested (we sure don’t max out all of our tax-advantaged accounts at this point). Also, we don’t max out the 529 plans yet, so if my head really wants to be brutal on myself, investing in me means “taking” from them.
But what if I can get something off the ground that eventually makes money on the side in an enjoyable way?
Happy mom = happy family.
What do you think of this logic? Do you think I will be motivated to make anything on the side if I only put it back into myself?
How have you justified spending money on risky business endeavors?
DISCLAIMER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU NEED PSYCHOLOGICAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE PLEASE SEEK A PROFESSIONAL FOR YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION