Many times when I when I sit down with someone for the first time to do a budget, I am looking at ways they can cut back. Cutting cable, becoming your own barista at home, shopping for everything at Wal Mart, and turning your kitchen into your own dining out experience are some of the easy fixes we can make to cut back our lifestyle so we can clean up the financial mess we have created for ourselves.
Looking for ways to save money in your monthly budget?
At first thought, this doesn’t really sound fun. Exactly. Since getting into debt is so easy (a caveman can do it), then getting out of debt is going to have to be hard. Hello, Captain Obvious! In 2011 we cut our lifestyle back so much I don’t think you could even insert “style” into the word lifestyle. However, we were able to pay off $52k in 7 months and finally get our lives back. We sacrificed and then sacrificed a little more to free ourselves from the chains of debt. During that time, we also dreamed of what we would do when we were one day debt free. It is what helped keep us motivated.
When I was working overtime for the fire department, cleaning pools on my off days, cancelling vacations with our friends, and being “cheap with money” (I could not stand hearing that), I would dream. I would tell myself,
“When we get out of debt, we are going to _______”.
I have at least 1,056 ideas in my head every second of the day, so therefore I had a long list of things we were going to do when we were debt free. These ideas gave me the drive to overcome the ridicule of being “cheap”. They gave me the strength to grab my pool brush and clean pools in my own neighborhood during the hot Phoenix summer. They allowed me to pretend my coffee was actually Starbucks and that our used Kia was a luxury car. They gave us hope because we knew if we sacrificed now, “one day” was right around the corner. We paid off our last debt (not including our mortgage) in 2011, and then pulled the trigger and did one of the “When we get out of debt we are going to ________”
When we get out of debt we are going to BUY A BOAT!
I remember the homeowner for one of the pools I cleaned had an awesome blue ski boat. I grew up with boats in our family and some of my best memories as a kid were growing up on the lake. I remember staring at that boat and saying, someday…..someday we will have a boat. That day was 2 weeks ago.
Is it okay to be the guy telling you to cancel your cable, revert to a flip phone, pick up a side job delivering pizzas, and then go out and buy a freakin’ boat? Heck yes it is! I am living proof that sacrifice and more sacrifice on the front end will allow you to do some of the things in life that you can only dream about now. One of my hopes was to one day save up cash and buy a boat for the family to take to the lake. It is no longer a hope, but something we can actually do. What is something you hope or dream of? What is one of your guilty pleasures you would like to have without the guilt?
Dream about it, create hope, focus, and go there.
The “Cheap Family” Actually Spent Money?
As soon as people found out we bought the boat, they looked at us and said “Really?” (Insert confused face along side here). People were shocked that we actually spent money on something. How could the
cheap frugal Peach Family go out and buy a boat? Why is it okay for them to tell everyone else to sell the luxury cars, vacation in the backyard, and do date night at the RedBox, while they are going to the lake in their freakin’ boat!? Here is why:
We paid the price already. We sacrificed our lives to clean up our financial mess so one day we could give more, save more, and also SPEND a little more. We also pay attention to our net worth and we chose to buy a boat that we could afford. When I say afford, I mean two things:
- We could save up and pay cash for (we will never go into debt again for as long as I can breathe air)
- It would be such a small portion of our net worth, it wouldn’t matter if we bought the boat and it sank an hour later. For those of you who like numbers, our new 15-year-old boat is less than 2% of our net worth.
Is it okay to enjoy your money too? I sure hope so. You work hard and you should be able to enjoy some of your money. Whether it is a 10 day Mediterranean Cruise, a 100″ television, a $500 bottle of wine, or a 15-year-old boat; it’s okay to actually spend your money. However, spend it when you are out of debt and actually have it. Our society encourages you to spend what you don’t have so you can live a life of payments. I still think the old fashion way works best: Get out of debt, save up cash, and buy a _______. It’s okay to live (a little)….and a little will feel like a lot when you pay the price to one day live a little.
Be good to yourself, your friends, your love, and BE GOOD TO YOUR MONEY!