I come from a family of quasi-hoarders. For the most part the homes of my Mom and Grandmother look neat and put together, but then you’ll find pockets of old, outdated items; in dresser drawers and in garages, and workshops. Sets of china, blankets, art work that don’t have any value other than sentimental and way more than any one person would need. My mom even has a storage unit full of items she doesn’t use any more! Because of this, I am very anti-clutter. I purge constantly, and hate the feeling of having superfluous items around me. Subsequently, I have a hoarder’s approach to saving.
And by hoarding I mean I have no rhyme or reason to my saving plan. I just take what I can squirrel away and put it into my savings account. You wouldn’t think this is a bad thing, except there are a few pros and cons to my hoarder’s approach to saving:
I save about 20% more than I did when I had automated savings from my account—I used to transfer $200 into my savings account come rain or shine. Doing this allowed me to save, but then I also spent whatever else I had left in my checking account, which meant I never accelerated my savings. By shoveling what I can willy nilly into the account, I end up saving about 20% more (on average) which fluffs up my safety net.
Saving extra money helps with the unexpected expenses- It has been a watershed month for me in terms of my finances. I am currently renovating a house, and it feels as if checks are just flying out of the checkbook and I have no real foundation in reality since most of the spending is done through the contractor. Having the extra money socketed away has helped cushion the blow of this financial trauma, and also reminds me to keep at it while I can.
I don’t spend it on things I actually need– This is why I call it “hoarding,” because there are things I actually need to do with that money, and I don’t because I like the feeling of having it. This causes me to delay things down the road, until before you know it I need to spend $500 to fix my car. $500 in one month is devastating compared to $100 spread out over several months.
You never feel like it is enough– The psychology behind hoarding is fascinating, which explains America’s obsession with watching Hoarder behavior on television. Whatever the emotional precursor to the hoarding one thing is true about all hoarders: you never feel like it is enough. No hoarder wakes up one morning and says, “You know, I have plenty, I am fulfilled.”
While it can seem like good behavior to constantly want to save money, I recognize that feeling that I’ll never have enough is a problem I have to fix within myself.
What about you? How do you approach saving? Are you a hoarder like me?
About the Author: Lauren is the blogger behind the popular personal finance and lifestyle site, L Bee and the Money Tree. By day, Lauren works as a marketing manager for a software company and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her fiancé and puppy, Murray. Lauren enjoys finance, pink things, and red wine.