Benefits Of NOT Saving Money

Why Are We So Obsessed With Money?

Last week's hubmob challenge proved to be a tough one. The topic? Saving money. Something I am totally useless at. As my husband says, I have holes in my pockets and of course I love the good life, and thinking about money is just too depressing and boring... On top of that, I am honestly tired of listening about financial crashes, economic crisis, saving money on this and the next thing. All of a sudden money has become the centre of everything, people don't talk about anything else and everybody just complains about the financial situation.

Thankfully for me, I live in France and the financial crisis has had less of an impact in here. True enough, we can hear about it on the news and prices have gone up in supermarkets, but talking about money during parties or gathering with friends is just not done. That is one thing I truly like about France, or at least about my French friends, they are not obsessed about money the way other people from other nationalities seem to be. Perhaps it is because France has seen already its share of bad times during the wars and an economic crisis is just not worth worrying too much after having lived through two world wars. Perhaps it is just that here people see life from a different angle? After all, the French strike and demonstrate on the streets to have more free time rather than to have more money. The average person prefers to work less hours a week and earn less but to have more free time to spend with family and friends enjoying themselves.

Perhaps it is just their attitude to life, the famous phrase: "C'est la vie", a French phrase meaning "That's life". I still remember two years ago we had a severe flood in our neighbourhood. We live between two rivers and both of them had decided to overflow at the same time. Most of my neighbours houses were completely flooded, but as we were waiting for the Firemen to come to the rescue they just started talking about the benefits of the flood and how good it would be to go and pick up wild mushrooms in a couple of days. They were even exchanging recipes and hidden places where to find the best mushrooms! When I asked them if they were not worried about their losses, they just shrugged and one of them said "C'est la vie".

Exchange Parties

This time, with the financial crisis hitting all camps, even my fashionista friends have found a great fun-filled solution to refresh their wardrobe for the upcoming season without spending a euro. The answer to renewing their wardrobe with the best designer clothes is to organize "soirees troc", which is more or less an exchange party. But don't worry; I am not talking about exchanging partners -not this time. A soiree troc is a little cocktail party where all the girls come with their unwanted designer gear. After a few drinks and a chat -about food and men of course- the exchange starts and you can try on anyone's clothes to see what suits you best. At the end of the night you have got rid of your "old" clothes, and you come out with some new items ready to start the new season.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine took her mother in law to one of these soirees. The mother in law came with a suitcase of exquisite vintage items that she had kept in her wardrobe for years hoping to slim down to wear them again. At the end of the night, everybody was delighted; my friend came out with a long vintage mink coat while her mother in law went away with a couple of designer handbags and scarves to refresh her wardrobe!

The Pleasure Of Spending Money

I admit that I cannot save money, but then, I believe that it is important to remind yourself that money or a lack of it doesn't determine who you are. Money is not important unless you are in extreme poverty and do not have enough to feed yourself and your family. Otherwise, money should not be an issue.

There is a certain pleasure in spending money. I do not mean buying the biggest car, or the latest phone. I mean spending money on the people you love in little things that give you pleasure. You do not need to spend a lot, but spending on other people promotes happiness for you and the other person. As I mention in another hub about chocolate gifts, every time I go away on a trip whether it is week long or just a day, I like bringing something, usually chocolate for my husband -a chocoholic. It is nothing really, but it gives me pleasure to spoil him, and it makes him happy to know that I thought about him and brought him a little something.

A Practical Guide On How To Save Money, Spend Less And Live More With A Minimalist Lifestyle

Why Can I Not Save Money?

On writing this article, I have tried to find why I am so reluctant to save and I think that I found the answer.

As a child, I spent my childhood and teenage years in Peru, South America. It was a time of political instability and economic crisis. I still remember clearly the day when Fujimori took over the presidency of the country. His first economic measure was to cancel all the subsidies. As a result, the day after he announced his economic plan, people were stunned, the price of petrol went up 3000%. Yes, that is not a mistake, three thousand percent while the national currency went down 200%. All that in an effort to stop inflation which was higher than 63% a month.

The money people had for their weekly shopping was only worth a couple of pounds of potatoes or rice and nothing else. The banks and cooperatives where people had put their savings to work for them started to close systematically and savers just lost everything! It was a time of REAL economic crisis. Suddenly people found that all their savings had gone and they had no money at all to survive. The index of suicides increased dramatically as well off people saw themselves outside closed banks asking for money to eat! People would even gather outside shops and burst into half empty supermarkets to grab whatever food they could and run away with it.

Even people who had not used banks, but saved their money under the mattress at home, found that the money that would have bought them a car a couple of days ago, suddenly would not even buy them a bicycle or a skateboard.

Before the crisis, I remember lots of parties and streets full of restaurants always animated and full up with people spending money. But the day after the presidential announcement the streets were empty, the restaurants closing one after another. My parents went from having three restaurants at the start of the year to having none and selling off all the restaurant appliances before the end of the year.

I am sure that my reluctance to save comes from there. I have seen too many people losing everything. I know that Peru's situation was exceptional, but in way it helps you to see that you should enjoy the moment. Enjoy what you have when you have it. Why wait until retirement to do that European trip? Do it now! Do it instead of saving money for a new car or a bigger house that you do not really need.

I do believe in spending in treating myself and the people I love. After all, a spa weekend can save you many days of sick time at work as well as psychologist bills for stress. A vacation with your husband can save bills on marital councillors. The trick is in learning to live with what you have, the peace of mind that comes from doing it leads to a greater and deeper happiness.

© 2008 Wendy Iturrizaga

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Comments 6 comments

madhavisb profile image

madhavisb 8 years ago from New Delhi

Hmm i have huge holes in my pockets and just cannot save even a penny and i live independently so it's awful. Here we just have to save otherwise we'd all be in deep sh..t. There is absolutely no social security of any kind, so god forbid you fall sick you've had it. And what happens when you stop earning money and reite who in heavens is going to look after you?? Hmm thats something that keeps worrying me, but i never end up doing anything about it except for a few investments in mutual funds that my brothers forced me to make and i must admit they were hugely beneficial when i cracked up my back and wasnt earning anything. My bank balance was zilch except for the dividends i kept getting thankfully because the markets were booming. Well now even htat wont happen as worldwide recession sets in. yuck!


fishskinfreak2008 profile image

fishskinfreak2008 8 years ago from Fremont CA

It's one less thing to worry about


jacobworld profile image

jacobworld 8 years ago from Ireland

saving is easy


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

I think I want to come to France.  I'll bring my older sister and father too because they both love France and they speak French very well.  I love your attitute Princessa, it is great!  Nice job on this hubmob. 


Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

Yeah Princessa, I am with you here :)

I too lived through hyper inflation, and my parents (and dozens of millions USSR elders with them) lost all of their life savings.

There is absolutely no point in restricting yourself to bare necessities for your whole life and lose everything at the end :)


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France Author

madhavisb, fishskinfreak2008 , jacobworld : Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Dottie1 : I am sure you would like it here, I am loving it :-)

Misha: Glad you understand what I mean when I say that it is not worth restricting yourself. It is painful to see hard working people loosing all they have. We should enjoy what we have, because we never know what could happen tomorrow.

BTW, I like your new look ;-)

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