The Savings “Addiction”

I’ve read personal finance blogs for over a decade, since blogging started to be a thing. My tastes in what I read have shifted from when I first started out my financial journey. Initially, I was very interested in authors who wrote predominantly about frugality and major money-saving techniques. This phase was probably the one that drove my wife completely nuts, as I was perhaps a little intense in implementing major money-saving techniques (something that she had never thought about doing). I never went as far as forcing the household onto single-ply toilet paper, re-using ziploc bags, or drying out paper towels for re-use, although if you asked my wife, I did go a little nutty for a while in an attempt to reduce the waste I saw in my house.

One blog that I still read on a semi-regular basis (although probably not as much as I should because there is a lot of goof information and analysis there) is Dividend Growth Stocks. One part of his blog that I really enjoyed reading about when it first came out was his pocket change portfolio.  I think the premise of this portfolio initially was to take the small amounts of money that was being made from writing posts, and turn that into dividend cash flows for a “fun” portfolio. After 7 years, his “pocket” change portfolio is making almost as much money as my wife and I would need to live on in retirement. I really like this idea, and have thought about doing it for a while. As a way of saving my change, I fill up an empty 100-ounce whiskey bottle (Canadian Club, from my younger and much more foolish days) and every year or two I’ve counted it out and spent it. With the abolishment of the penny, it’s taking me a lot longer to fill the bottle up this year, but it expect there to be significantly more money in there than the last few times.

The last time I emptied out the jar, my wife, who enjoys the tedious task of counting and rolling change, came up with a final count of about $450 – I’d think there would be at least $600 in there, which would be a good start to any sort of “mini-investment” project that I would take on. I could put $600 into an investment account and earn dividends off of it forever, much like the writer from Dividend Growth Stocks. This decision would be probably the most responsible thing to do – create more cash-flow for myself from “free” money forever.

My problem with any savings plan I implement, is that I have a hard time spending any money on anything. I allocate so much of the money I earn at my job to retirement savings right now that it doesn’t really leave a ton of money for some “fun” things – I’m more addicted to saving money than I am to spending it on anything – fun or not. While the savings addiction is beneficial to my current goal of amassing enough money, it is not beneficial when all I end up doing is having separate savings account for various future goals that I haven’t even thought of yet.

I haven’t really decided if it’s a good thing or a bad thing – I could use the $600 to buy a new cell phone next year, but my own “pocket change portfolio” funded with free money is probably a better idea – the decision I have to make is when to stop saving.