This is part 4 of a 4 part series, Becoming Centsible: My Frugal Journey.
Sigh… I never learn! At least this time, I had the means to pay it off and began to do so. It was this time that I met Scott. As I said, he was just buying his house. In fact, just about a month after I met him, he sat down to have a meeting regarding the colors inside his home. His mom said to make sure he picked neutral colors, so someday his future wife could decorate however she wanted. And that’s why I now live in a home that is completely beige from top to bottom, except the extraordinarily bold navy blue countertop in my master bathroom.
Scott stretched out his move in date and home building as long as possible, so he could continue to save, finally putting half down on the home. About that time, Scott and I decided to get married. When I moved in finally, we took some money we had saved up to furnish the home, but couldn’t afford all I wanted. I apparently still hadn’t learned my lesson, because I convinced Scott to get some items that were more extravagant than we could afford and suddenly I had another debt to pay.
We paid bills and made ends meet. And then we got the shock of our lives. After being told I’d never have kids, I found out I was pregnant. I was excited. I was scared. More than anything, I’d always wanted to be a mom and there it was, on the horizon. My life flipped upsidedown and my priorities changed. I didn’t want to miss a minute of being a mom. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. But, I knew that meant big changes in our lives, especially financially.
With a new goal in mind, my husband and I set up a plan to get out of debt before the baby arrived. We started living on one income, using my income to get our heads above water. I had to get creative with menus, grocery shopping, and looked at how we could cut our bills. I found I loved frugal shopping way more than I loved spending money I didn’t have. Together we worked towards our one goal and by the time our daughter joined our family in 2004, we only had our mortgage left to pay. It was enough. We’d made it.
Of course, our budget is tight, living on one income in a two income world. Of course we struggle, but living savvy and being frugal has allowed me to stay home while our three children grow. I don’t have to miss a minute. This is what is important to us and it’s our decision, so instead of complaining about our tight budget, we make it work. We don’t buy anything if we don’t have the money. We find a way to do without. Because, other than our children, there’s nothing we can’t live without.
Now, we have set up plans for college, in case something should happen to Scott or I, and even retirement. We have a plan and together, we’re working towards it without going into debt, because knowing how it feels without bills rolling in, we never want to go back there again.
This year, we have a new (less important and frivolous) financial goal. We’d like to take an all-out vacation to Disney, before our oldest daughter starts Kindergarten. Of course, we’ll still be frugal, but we’d like to splurge a bit to get the full experience, while they kids are young enough to still get chills at the sight of Mickey Mouse and would give anything for Ariel’s autograph. We’d also not like to have to dip into our savings.
We’re pulling the purse strings tighter, eating from the pantry more often, eating out less often, and enjoying more nights together at home as a family. We’ve talked to our children about our goal and sometimes have to remind them, when they are begging for a toy at the store or to go out to eat. Luckily, they’re on board with us! Especially, my 5 year old, who is marking the days off on her calendar. I wonder how long this “we’re saving our money for Disney” routine will work when they ask for something at the store?