Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saving the Moola: the most important money lesson

I'm about to share the most important money lesson, thought and concept I could ever bestow on all of you, and I didn't even come with it myself! No, the credit for this goes to Ms. Suze Orman.

How are you going to save money successfully? When you take more pleasure from saving than you do from spending.

I think I need to write that one more time for you all to read:

You will save money successfully when you take more pleasure from saving than you do from spending.

Years and years ago, I was a spendthrift. I loved shopping, I loved eating at restaurants, I loved vacations. I still love all of these things. But I love other things more: I love earning free items through SwagBucks, I love eating my husband's amazing cooking, and I love taking modest vacations where I pay cash and come home to no new bills.

I may not always practice what I preach, but please believe me when I tell you that in my house, my family and I take extreme pleasure in saving rather than spending - to the point of being called Amish, to the point we are called extreme, to the point we are called weird. Clearly, we are not Amish - we drive cars, use electricity and the like, but this is how far fetched we seem to other people. As far as being extreme and weird, yes, we must seem that way to others as most do not share our viewpoints on this subject.

Many people we've spoken with actually think we're torturing ourselves! They think, "Oh, you have too much time on your hands," "Oh, you must be just miserable having to do all those things."

Here's the thing: we're not miserable. In fact, we're happier than we have ever been in our lives. Seriously. Come to our home (or we'll come to yours!), and you can see our joy for yourself. We don't have to make our own cleaners or line dry our clothes or cook at home every night. But, if we want to pay cash for things most people have loans for (house, car, etc.), if we want to meet our retirement goals, if we want to feel good about our financial situation, we're going to take Mr. Dave Ramsey's advice and live like no one else now so we can live like no one else later.

We so enjoy all of our frugal activities that I doubt we could even stop if we tried. We so enjoy meeting our savings goals months ahead of when we thought we could just by being frugal (and not working a single second extra at our jobs). We have more money in the bank than we've ever had, we're working less than we've ever had and we're happier than we've ever been.

Time is a precious commodity in most of our lives, including my own. My dream is one day I will have nothing to do but eat blueberries and read books. Seriously. But just as time is a precious commodity, you have to be conscious of how you're really spending time. So many people say they don't have time to line-dry their clothes only to sit on their behinds and watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians or The Bachelor for an hour. So many people say they don't have time to cook dinner but they spend countless minutes or hours on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.

It's all about priorities - if you want to watch TV or waste time online, that's fine. That's your choice. But if you want to have more money in the bank, if you want a stronger relationship with your spouse, if you want your kids to grow up happy and responsibly, you'll likely have to choose your priorities wisely. And they probably won't include watching those shows or spending so much time online. If you're raising children right now, then you may not actually have enough time to do all the money-saving ideas you come across. And that's okay. Raising your children should be a top priority; I would just ask that you keep in mind that involving them in some money-saving ideas will be a great lesson for them.

If you want to have more money, work less and be happier, there's really just one simple lesson you have to embrace: spend less, save more. Take more pleasure in saving than you do spending.

Don't look at cooking as a sacrifice. Look at it as a way to learn a new cooking technique, to try a new recipe, to sustain your body and those you're cooking for, and to spend quality time at home with yourself and whomever else gathers around your dining table.

Don't look at making homemade cleaners as a sacrifice. Look at it as a way to know what you're cleaning your house with, to clean your house without adversely affecting your pet or your children and to clean with ingredients that make you feel good.

Don't look at driving an older car as a sacrifice. Look at it as a way to drive an antique without paying a hefty price tag and to see how many years your car will really last. 

Saving money can be fun for you (it's so much fun for us!), and it really just comes down to your attitude. Your attitude is all that is keeping you from realizing your financial dreams and financial freedom. Where there's a will, there's a way. It's truly as simple as that - Jason and I are living proof.


Lydia Lyn said...

Oh my! I read the entire article outloud to my husband!! I cannot tell you how good it feels to know that there are other couples like us who choose to live a different (better) kind of life... giving up what others think are necessities to have what is really important to us. You are 100% right that ATTITUDE makes ALL the difference. When I started my financial encouragement blog ( ) I had no idea that I would right so much about attitude, but I write about keeping the right perspective more than any other subject. It is because how we think about things effects us so much in our financial decisions. I keep reminders of my priorities around me constantly so my mind stays on what is most important. I just want to shout it to the world: THERE IS A BETTER WAY OF LIFE! Thanks for shouting it too!

Jess and Jason said...

Thank you so much Lydia for your lovely and encouraging comment! Your blog is AWESOME! Thanks for popping by, and I have a feeling I'll be popping by yours more often than not ;)

Kris said...

Such a fantastic blog! And, I appreciate the reality check! While I may not be married, and know that one day I will likely have to re-evaluate the way I do my finances if I ever do get married, I can already tell that paying attention to these types of things while I am single will make a huge difference later!