For a long time, no matter how much money Sam and I made, we struggled with our finances. Every month was simply buying things until we ran out of money.
We’ve made really terrible decisions with our money – buying cars we didn’t need, a home we couldn’t really afford, not having any kind of budget, and using the credit card as a “freebie” account. In the 9 years we’ve been together, we’ve had to face some tough wake up calls when the time came for us to pay up.
I think it was after the short sale of our home and living with only one car for a year that finally knocked some sense into us. We realized we could live on our one person income if we lived within our means. We needed to become better keepers of the money God had given us.
It was hard to wrap my head around not being able to have new things instantly. I was so used to just getting something and paying for it later. But to live like that is crazy; all it did was cause us to fight and wonder why we always struggled. We had to change our perspective on what was important.
We won’t buy a car again unless something major happens to the ones we have. We waited on getting our DSLR until Christmas so we could ask for money to put towards it. Any money I make on here goes to bills and extras. We don’t get to take big vacations and this year going home for the holidays was out of the question. We meal plan, cook at home, canceled tv and our (never used) home phone, and will rent a home until we have a down payment in savings and are done having kids. All things we would have never fathomed doing a few years ago.
We do fun things as a family locally, we can afford little luxuries in day to day life because we save up to splurge. Our definition of “fun” has changed.
We’re slowly recovering from our need to keep up with an image that never got us anywhere. Learning that being debt free is more satisfying than an impulse buy. We stop and ask ourselves, “Will we need it in a year? Is there a reason to have it other than we want it?” A lot of the time, the answer to both is no.
Living simply and frugally is a choice. It’s not always a fun one. But it makes us creative with our time, and appreciate the things that do come our way eventually. Working harder and longer for something you want makes it more worthwhile when you get it.
It took me almost 28 years to figure out something you hear all the time.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be a good steward of the money we are blessed with. To make choices that better us financially. To curb my spending without thinking.
Do you struggle with buying for image or on impulse? Or do you have a good handle on your debt and finances?