AT work we sometimes listen to Dave Ramsey. We've also recently been listening to Suze Orman. They differ in a some ways, but they both advise paying off all of your debts as quickly as possible. I hear calls from people who are so much worse off than I am (for I am not very bad off at all) and I get extremely motivated to pay off my debt ASAP. I don't really have anything terrible - I have about $3000 remaining in student loans and $9000 left on my car. Oh, and my house. But that's probably going to take a little while.
So I get excited because it wouldn't take me very long to be debt-free (other than my house) if I just threw all my extra money towards my little debts. But then I get to thinking about how many things I would like to do/buy. Things that require money. And I also start thinking about how much I love watching my extra money pile up in my checking account. If I put all of my exra money towards my student loan and then my car, it won't accumulate in the bank. I won't have it anymore in case of emergency. I know, of course, that by paying off those things I'd be saving lots of money in the long run. Money that I can then begin to stockpile again. But I want it now, even though it doesn't make sense.
It's just very difficult. There's got to be some sort of middle ground that is financially responsible. Isn't it reasonable for me to pay a little extra on my loans, put some of my extra money in bank, and still go out to dinner, and on vacations, and buy things I like? Isn't it okay to enjoy myself as long as I am not charging things to credit cards? I mean, I will only be here, now, as I am right this moment, once. I will get older and have more responsibilities and become less and less able to do whatever I want. So while I don't want to throw all caution to the wind and spend more than I have, I also don't want to limit myself entirely and miss out on the life I have right now. I just don't know what is the right thing to do.