It’s not that Shane and I needlessly throw money away, but we don’t count every penny either.
We’ve gone through several philosophical outlooks on money over the past (almost) ten years of our marriage, and I think we’ve finally found a happy medium between frugality and enjoying life.
A look at our financial past
When Shane and I got married back in 2004, we had no clear direction for our lives.
We floated aimlessly from day to day, just waiting to see what happened next.
There was no financial plan.
We did agree on one thing: we didn’t want to use credit cards too much.
A few years later, Shane discovered Dave Ramsey.
As I’ve mentioned before, when Shane gets an idea, he goes at it full force. That is, until something else gets his attention. 😉
So for a while, we attempted to “live like no one else.” The good news is that we were able to get rid of all our credit card debt during that time. The bad news is that life wasn’t very fun.
Then something changed
During the Dave Ramsey Era, crazy things started happening in my family.
My 63-year-old grandmother died unexpectedly following lung cancer surgery. Not long after that, my 48-year-old aunt died unexpectedly in her sleep. Next, a cousin found out she had pancreatic cancer in her mid-40s. She died just a few months later.
These were painful and personal reminders that life is very short.
I started rethinking our whole financial strategy.
None of us are promised tomorrow. What good does it do to prolong enjoying life when you may not even be around to enjoy it?
Fast forward to today
Disclaimer: We do not advocate spending money with reckless abandon to celebrate life.
Instead, we believe in a more balanced approach to finances.
We set short-term and long-term goals for our money, but we also allow some flexibility in our budgeting that allows us to enjoy our lives along the way.
We also believe in more big wins instead of the sum of lots of small wins. For example, we made a huge decision to sell our house when our online businesses started taking off a year ago.
I loved that house – it was beautiful, only a few years old, and most importantly, needed no home improvements. Unfortunately, the mortgage payment was holding us back from leaving our regular jobs.
Other people facing this situation might cut corners here and there to make up the difference. Things like cutting out the Starbucks drive-thru, canceling cable, or opting out of the annual family vacation.
We decided to go for the big win of buying an older, smaller house. Thanks to a dip in mortgage interest rates, our monthly mortgage payment was nearly cut in half. We do have a few more house headaches to deal with here and there (mostly cosmetic), but it’s worth it to have hundreds more dollars each month with no extra effort on our part.
Even though we don’t really follow a specific financial management plan these days, I am very thankful for what we learned on our journey.
First, we are debt free except for our house and a few pesky student loans. Our current long-term financial goal is to get those loans paid off – starting with the student loans and then the house.
Second, we do not use credit cards. Ever. If we cannot pay with cash, we do not buy it.
Next, we always save money for expected expenses. Cars and houses are not maintenance-free. Our short-term savings goals include a new roof and a new vehicle: both of which will be paid for in cash. Painting the house is on the back burner. If we have enough money to pay someone to paint it, we will. If not, I guess we’ll be putting on our painting clothes. 🙂
Finally, we’ve learned that enjoying life is more beneficial than obsessing over every nickel and dime.
The Flipped Lifestyle Financial Plan: Get out of debt, focus on big wins, and live in the moment.
You never know which one will be your last.
You can connect with S&J on social media too!
If you have comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post. See y’all next week!