All this talk about money is making me think. Why do we need all this money anyway? Or, more specifically, why do I need it? What is it that really motivates me to save, and why should I do it? For me, money isn't really the goal in itself. I do not need a big pile of it just to prove something to myself or anybody else. Sure, seeing a 5 or 6 digit bank account balance would make me happier than seeing a 0, but beyond that, I can't say I care that much. Beyond a certain point, more just stops being better for me, unless I have a specific goal in mind (do I have enough for a condo? that vacation? a new car?).
I do like nice things, and money is a way to get them. But there does seem to be a certain level that I'm happy with there too. I like to have a nice car, but I don't really have any desire for a Bentley or even a Porsche. I like nice clothes, but I don't need a closet full of designer labels. Maybe a piece or two every once in a while would be nice. I'd like to buy a place, but with the market where it is right now, I'm willing to wait. When I do buy, I don't need anything terribly large - a 1 or 2 bedroom condo would be fine with me now and until I have a kid that's big enough to want their own room. I figure that's at least 5 or 6 years out. Aside from the apartment, I have pretty much everything I want right now - my car's newish, my place is finally pretty well furnished, and there aren't any gaping holes in my wardrobe.
So what am I saving for? I've come up with a few things:
Travel - It doesn't really matter how expensive plane tickets get or how much the dollar falls. I have a need to go see the world. I'm always frugal about how I travel, but it adds up no matter what. And I don't mind that one bit.
Hobbies - As a commenter mentioned on a previous post, some of my hobbies aren't cheap. Everything from lift tickets, to ballroom shoes, to wetsuits can end up costing an arm and a leg. I feel like my youth is a unique opportunity to go out and do all that fun stuff, and I don't want to lose out on that because some things can be expensive. Besides, my main hobby (managing my finances) definitely helps pay for the others!
Security - Yes, sometimes it's just about peace of mind. I like knowing that if I needed to move at a moment's notice, had some unexpected medical expenses, or tottalled my car, I'd most likely be able to take care of it without asking for help or going into debt.
Freedom - I don't ever want to be tied to a location, a possession, a relationship or a place of work by money. If I am ever in a situation where I am truly unhappy with something, I want to be able to leave. Having enough money to give myself that flexibility is important. I am grateful that I can choose to live independently of my parents, for example.
Education - This is for both me and any future children I may have. While I'm not sure where I stand on sky-high tuitions and parents that empty their bank (and retirement!) accounts to send their kids to the "right" school, I do think that an education is the most important thing my parents have given me, and the most important thing I can pass on to my own children.