Recently, I was offered a position at another company for a raise of 27%. That’s a pretty hefty raise. What’s more, it’s just going to be diverted to my after-tax investments.

I started to notice something, though.

I had started to buy more. Suddenly I wasn’t beating myself up over eating out at a restaurant for a special occasion (that seemed to be every week). I’d pay for online services like Spotify without a problem. In general, the nagging person inside of me was slowly going silent.

Is this good?

Shouldn’t I just enjoy life without worrying about every single dollar?

Or, am I slacking and using that as an excuse?

Want to know how easy it is to slip a little? Shortly after leaving for the new company, I applied and nearly got a position that paid 97% more than the first position.

I started to dream about moving into a single-family home with a big yard for the dog and larger kitchen. Retirement seemed distant and it seemed a little odd to put so much towards retirement.

I didn’t get the job (I was apparently up against a Googler…so I don’t feel as bad), so thankfully I didn’t have to see the carnage I would have caused with such an increase in pay.

Still, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have bought all that stuff. I probably would have made a life a little fancier.

If I had gotten the job, would I really have saved 82% of it?

I think this is a question that we all ask ourselves. I’m sure this is very common and I’m not breaking new ground, here. I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where I’m fine with spending a bit of money here and there. For instance, I pay $30/mo for web hosting between various sites. Probably more if you count annual domain registrations.

It’s a deliberate spend, though. Without these web projects, I would have never gotten this better job, or had been in contention for an even better gig. It’s amazing how far ahead tinkering alone at home can get you past everybody else, in terms of job skills. Typically jobs land you in a safe-zone that you’re comfortable with — while side projects push your boundaries and make you learn new things.

I’ll spend money on great, healthy groceries…while still feel bad for buying a pizza.

I don’t regret buying my Spotify subscription again, since I listen to it almost 10 hours per day.

I think what happened was…

I tore everything down and only put back what I really wanted and valued.

I mean, there was a time there where I wanted to get rid of my mattress in favor of one of those Japanese roll-out mattress pads. Now, I have a Tuft & Needle mattress that I get a great night’s sleep on.

I think that all of this boils down to: live how you think you’d like to live, but be realistic about your finances.

I know that spending more on things puts me further away from retirement, but, I’d rather spend the 10–15 years of saving on a nice mattress with fun projects and music.

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