I'm through fielding advice about how much I should be saving.I know, I know. Skipping things like daily lattes could help pad my retirement savings. What I really need to know is how to finance the way my family wants to live. Our actions, once in a while, would make some financial planners cringe: We spend money that we should save. Sure, I'm concerned about our retirement and college expenses for three children. But I'm also looking for the balance between planning for the future and creating memories in the present. It's been almost 15 years, for instance, since my husband, Ben, and I gazed at the spectacular blue hues of Frenchman's Bay from the balcony of our luxurious hotel room in Bar Harbor, Maine. But the memory wouldn't be ours to enjoy without spending some cash that, perhaps, would have been more practical to conserve at the time. My cautious nature reminds me that some of the best memories don't cost money. But the harsh reality is that really great memories -- such as our Walt Disney World vacation last year -- require lots of cash. Financial planning experts routinely advise saving the equivalent of between three and six months of living expenses in the event of job loss or illness. It's sensible and responsible advice for clients. My definition of planning ahead, however, also includes enjoying a few perks in life that may become unaffordable or undoable when troubles arise. We didn't know, as we admired the view from our Bar Harbor hotel, that one of us would be out of work for a few months upon returning home. Money was tight, as it would be after we bought our first house -- instead of a less expensive Hovnanian condo -- and welcomed our first child. But indulging ourselves back then doesn't seem to matter that much to our bank account today. Yes, it's critical to save, but sometimes we just have to spend too, before a problem or responsibility gobbles up our extra cash. I didn't always think this way. Ben and I began our married life in 1992 with different views about money. I viewed money as a resource to conserve, not necessarily enjoy -- a philosophy imparted, understandably, by my Depression-era immigrant grandparents. But Ben introduced me to the concept of money as a catalyst for living. He urged me to stay at that spot in Bar Harbor, with a fireplace and comfy bathrobes in our room. A motel away from the water would be fine, I reasoned, since we'd be outside hiking. We compromised, splitting our time between the two places (my choice was memorable too, for our foul-smelling room, where a previous guest had cooked seafood).