Following our complete shock at how much we are going to be able to save without touching our bonuses, we have been wrestling with the VERY first world problem of what exactly we do with our bonuses… This has been difficult because of the conflicting voices:
- extreme early retirement/frugality says that we should obviously just add both our bonuses to our savings
- intentional spending says that we should spend our bonuses on something that we really want… but I’m not sure if it counts as intentional spending if the money-to-spend comes first and the looking-for-something-of-value to spend that money on comes second…
However, the worst part of this whole dilemma has had nothing to do with what we actually do with the money. The worst part has been how anxious and stressed we have felt about trying to decide… and then, worst of all, the gushing guilt over getting so worked up over SUCH a first world problem. Literally our problem is:
“Oh, no! We have more money than we thought we would!”
And yet, somehow, through some warped perspective-losing ability, we have found a way to make that a problem AND get stressed about it. Amazing. And shameful. And someone-please-slap-me-in-the-face.
Why we got so stressed about it all, I’m not so sure… SURELY we couldn’t have been stressed because we had too much money?! Maybe it’s the fact that with privilege comes responsibility, and so with the sudden privilege of having too much money we felt the pressure to make the right [responsible] decision? Maybe we simply didn’t like the uncertainty? Maybe we’re both just naturally anxious people (which we are) and so stressing is our natural modus operandi (including about the good things)? Or maybe we’ve just become real-real brats and lost all perspective about the world? Who knows…
In the end, after a looooooooooot of deliberating and playing with our saving and spending plan we have decided to go to Thailand over our January holiday 🙂 Our bonuses are also going to pay for things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do (buy winter clothes for NZ, go skiing, get two external hard drives, buy a Korean tea set etc). We have over-estimated how much we think these extra things will cost though and so are hoping that we will be able to save more than we have anticipated.
We were really ambivalent about whether we should go to Thailand or not though. In the end there were two things that made the decision for us:
- A fellow blogger’s comment on my previous post. Mrs. Mother Dirt suggested that it’s ok to treat yourself to an experience to replenish yourself after achieving a goal. I loved that she said experience (SO much more valuable than things) and am so grateful to have been reminded about the self-care voice. So thank you Mrs. Mother Dirt! 🙂 (P.S. You should check out her blog, dear Reader, it’s awesome 🙂 )
- We managed to reduce the cost of Thailand and all the other extra stuff so that it didn’t cost as much as we originally thought that it would. The lesson here was not to assume immediately that we couldn’t afford it. Rather, we got very practical and concrete about costs and found to our surprise that we could actually afford it all by only slightly denting our dream-dream saved amount. And we decided that that slight dent was totally worth it 🙂
The confirmation that we had made the right decision came later that night when both of us couldn’t stop grinning like idiots 🙂 Happy days :)And it doesn’t hurt either that our Thailand trip just happens to coincide with my 30th birthday 🙂