Inside the mind of an avid saver


Dr. Elizabeth Krider

After the author shattered her phone, she realized there was no need to worry; after all, she’d been saving up for a moment just like this one.

My piggy bank jingles as I take it down from the top of my dresser. It’s 2013, and after emptying the dishwasher as a favor for my mom, I now have a small cash reward as a result of my hard work. For a nine-year-old, it’s pretty exciting to get paid for helping out. When my mom handed me the money, a rush of excitement jolted through me. 

As I run up the stairs, however, I don’t think about the Legos I could buy. Instead, I stuff the money into the top of my piggy bank and feel a pang of satisfaction as the bills disappear. Even if it’s just a few dollars, I know that Future Julia will appreciate everything I’m saving now. 

I’ve been saving my money for years now. Whenever I’m thinking of purchasing something, I weigh the benefits, the costs and why I even want the thing in almost an obsessive way. Buying new things does give me an exciting feeling, especially when it’s new clothes or books. But saving brings me even more satisfaction. It’s a way of assuring that I’m doing something now to help myself in the future, even if it is just saving a few dollars. 

You could say I’m a chronic budgeter. 

When I was younger, I used to stress about managing how much money I had to spend at the Scholastic Book Fair or whether or not I should spend a couple bucks on new Rainbow Loom rubber bands. I remember the time I stood in the Target aisle for fifteen minutes, meticulously inspecting the different kinds of Rainbow Loom rubber bands I could buy — even though they were just $4 each. 

Now, I spend my money on different things, but that stress is still there. I consider all my price options and still usually end up not buying anything because I’m so worried about saving my money for potentially more important things in the future. 

Over quarantine, I got really into skincare. I’m sure many other Tologs can second my sentiments when I say that the skincare YouTuber Hyram literally saved my face. But as I would research different products, I would always think about buying the least expensive one — not because I need to save money now, but because when I need to buy more of the product, I don’t want to have to choose between my moisturizer and a more necessary item. 

Being a chronic budgeter says a lot about me as a person, and I think the main conclusion is that I’m unusually preoccupied with the future. 

As a kid, I was a worrier. This manifested itself in my spending habits; since I started getting money for doing chores around the house, I was worried about saving money for the future — whether that be college or that year’s Christmas gifts. 

I worry about all kinds of things. I plan my outfits so that I’m prepared for certain specific situations that are almost definitely not going to happen, like perhaps running into someone I haven’t seen in eight years. Covid and quarantine have turned me into quite the germaphobe, so I’m never without hand sanitizer. 

Over sophomore year, I started fixating on what I wanted to study in college. I initially wanted to do psychology and go into psychological research, which then became science journalism, which then changed into an interest in screenwriting. I’ve also considered statistics, data science, accounting, English, linguistics and philosophy. Yes, I am a little scatter-brained. 

Worrying about college so early has definitely made me realize that I obsess over the future and what I can do today to ensure that it’s as smooth as possible. 

My parents have certainly encouraged this foresight within me. Whenever I receive money in return for doing chores around the house, my mom always says, “Now, you should save your money. It’s yours to spend, but saving is an important habit to have.” 

My dad then follows up with something along the lines of, “Yeah, you should save your money so then I can have an even better Christmas present!”

I’m grateful for this saving instinct my parents have instilled in me. It definitely has made it easier for me to get into the habit of saving and considering all the purchases I make. 

I’m aware that I probably don’t need to be as strict with myself and my money, but I can’t really see myself ever transitioning from an avid saver into a zealous spender. I am, however, really looking forward to saving up enough for a new phone. 

A few weeks ago, I was in line for the Notre Dame college booth at the St. Francis college faire when I reached into my pocket and accidentally flipped my phone onto the ground. When I reached down to grab it, I saw that the screen was shattered and all kinds of weird lights were going off. 

After recovering from my shock, I thought to myself, “Well, at least I’ve been saving for years. It’s all going to pay off now!” I was so glad at that moment that I had been saving up for moments like these. And hey, maybe I’ll still be able to save a few bucks on Black Friday!