When Reaching Your Financial Goals Means You Don’t Look Like Everyone Else
By: Charissa from www.thenotsobusymom.com
6 years ago, my family and I began our financial journey.
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6 years ago, I read a book that inspired and challenged me. I passed it along to my husband right before he got on a plane, he read it, and returned from his trip inspired and challenged.
What was this inspiring and challenging book? The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
Prior to those 6 years, we were responsible with our money. We were being thoughtful about how we spent and saved, but we didn’t have any solid financial goals. Then something clicked, and we became focused, unified, and determined. We began making changes, and then set a big goal for ourselves.
Our big financial goal at that time was to become debt free (except for our house). Currently, we have reached that goal and are continuing to make good progress in paying down our mortgage.
Reaching our financials goals has not been an easy process, and one of the biggest reasons is because reaching our financial goals has usually meant we don’t look like everyone else around us.
In order to reach our financial goals, we have chosen to live below our means. Our lifestyle does not look much different than it did 12 years ago when we were first married and just starting out. Our income has increased, but our lifestyle has remained simple.
We have also kept a long-term vision in mind. With a long-term vision in mind we can and do say “no” to certain things (even good things) knowing that with patience and determination, we will make progress. We have carefully considered our needs versus our wants. We have everything we need: shelter, food, clothing, and transportation. We even have many of our wants, but we avoid chasing more of our wants knowing we have important goals to reach.
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More specifically, reaching our financial goals has looked like not upgrading to a larger home yet. We are a family of 5 living in a 900-sq. ft. house with just one bathroom. Compared to most of the world we live in a mansion, but here, in this country, some have referred to our home as a “cute cottage”.
Paid for Vehicles
Reaching our financial goals looks like driving older, paid-for cars. My husband and I have always said that our cars are not a reflection of who we are. We’re not looking to impress anyone with a fancy car. Sometimes our cars make funny noises; they have bumps, dings and scratches. We love them, though, because they are paid for, and they do their job, getting us from Point A to Point B.
Because of our financial goals, we don’t take fancy vacations. We spend plenty of time together as a family, but at this point we are choosing to enjoy time closer to home. We dream about and plan for future trips, but for now we enjoy the beautiful surroundings right outside our door.
We also choose free or inexpensive entertainment. There is so much “fun” available for little to no cost. We spend our free time hanging out at local parks and playgrounds. We enjoy lazy afternoons in our own backyard. Movies on the couch and date nights in are most appealing to my husband and me.
If you are just beginning your financial journey, if you are setting goals (both big and small), know that most likely you aren’t going to look like the people around you. You might have the smallest house in the neighborhood. You might drive the oldest car in the school pick-up line. You may be the one couple that does more at home dates than dinners out at a restaurant. Perhaps you’ll be the people saying “no” more than you’ll be saying “yes”.
But you know what? It’s worth it. You are looking to move forward; you are working to gain financial freedom and peace. It’s okay to not look like everyone else. Look like you! Your future self will thank you.
Hi, I’m Charissa. I’m a wife, mother, former 5th grader teacher, and now a blogger. I encourage women to live a full life without all the busy. Come join me on this journey! You can read all about it at http://www.thenotsobusymom.com/.
That’s awesome! Love the part about the cars and date nights in. That’s our story too. We haven’t had a car payment since 2002 and our date nights are pretty fun (see my blog – lol). This year we cut ourselves loose from credit cards. I didn’t really believe Dave Ramsey when he said cash/debit card only, but he’s totally right! I own two businesses and gave up the CC even for both businesses. That’s for the validating blog post!
Our generation, with the constant exposure to reality TV (#guilty) makes people think that they need to live at a certain caliber.. Thanks for sharing this! Very helpful to hear of another person living below her means, prolonging the satisfaction of later. It’s so worth it!
Mummy Kate says
I totally agree about having ‘free fun’. As a family, our most enjoyable days are definitely those spent in the garden, at the park or on dog walks! No money required… the best things in life are free! Xx
I love this post! It’s okay to live below your means when it leads to financial stability. It’s a whole lot better than the people I see waste their money on unnecessary wants and can’t even provide for their needs.
Thank you. I have always been so bad at saving and buying unnecessary stuff just because it was cool or convenient. I need to focus and my goals are. Thank you.
Your journey looks a lot like mine. I’m a SAHM so our entertainment is free or very inexpensive. We don’t eat out, no vacations, i’m fine with it though!
It’s sometimes difficult to keep the long-term in mind, but well worth it! Great post.
Ellie Chan says
With all the super materialistic “reality” tv shows like the real housewives and Kardashian types I think our generation and younger doesn’t have the respect for money that former generations do. Financial responsibility is so important and who cares if your lipstick is drugstore or Dior! If anyone can tell the difference then they’re too close and need a slap!
Ellie | http://Www.scotchandstilettos.com
Akosua Evelyn's Blog says
this is a very great topic treated.Thanks for sharing
Lisa Newman-Morris says
Congrats it’s great to hear how much success you’ve had sticking to your budget and plans.
We have been struggling to make that lifestyle change we know we need but it’s been very difficult. Reading your story gives me hope that it can be done!
I love how honest you are about your lifestyle and living BELOW your means. We are a historically debted country and have been since the beginning. We have been taught by society to over spend and live beyond our means. When you become educated about money, savings, investing, etc you are setting yourself and family up for a long term gain. No it is not easy, but it is worth if you truly want FINANCIAL FREEDOM! Thank you for your gift to the world!
Murielle Marie says
This is a really great article. We are flooded with these stories of financial success and over the top luxury that we sometimes feel we need to live up to them to be successful. But there’s more to happiness than your bank account. Thank you for the gentle reminder x
I love this – it means that one can have lot of fun without overspending. I only buy things that i really need rather than want in order to minimise my expenses.
True!! A lot of people nowadays try to define and judge others with their materialistically flashy belongings but in the back of my mind I always think how broke they actually are for having such since most of the people nowadays acquire these things through credit
I have read the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover in the past and even worked it to a certain degree. I have to admit I wasn’t totally committed to it. Recently, I have had some changes in my life that is warranting me to make some financial changes and as I research and work on our budget I believe I will be getting back on this program.
Jessica Swanda says
What an encouraging post! I’ve been noticing this “not looking like everyone else” bit in mine and my husband’s lives lately, so I needed to hear that others are doing the same thing and it’s perfectly ok! Thanks 🙂
Greta @ Pickles Travel blog says
Love this! Tips to save money are so important and such a cool journey that you’ve taken! Thanks for sharing