My husband and I came into our marriage in 2010 having each cleared up financial issues and debt. We agreed together that we would never let ourselves get into situations like that again. We choose to live a frugal lifestyle that is more on the simple side than most. We very rarely go out to eat, choosing to buy and prepare our meals at home (both for health and budget reasons). We have one new vehicle and one that is older and paid off. We don’t own electronic devices other than our smart phones. While we do use our credit cards to pay for everything, we do not allow a balance and never pay interest on the cards. The small simple choices we make allow us to continue to put away money in our savings account.
After saving all that we could for a full year, we had enough for a down payment and Daniel and I bought our first house in 2013. Knowing what we earn and spend each month is imperative to developing a savings, whether it be for a Disney vacation, a down payment on a car or simply for a rainy day. I balance our budget each month, creating a mock-up estimate of our spending and then log our expenses and compare the truth of our real spending.
Sometimes there are misfortunes, like having to spend $300 last month to repair brakes. At times we look back and say, “I really didn’t need to buy that second pair of shoes”. We all have buyer’s remorse at times, it’s natural to want more. It’s wise however to discern what we merely want versus what we really need.
We really don’t do much with coupons. I used to coupon before I got married, but frankly I was purchasing a lot of things I really didn’t need just because they were on sale and I had a coupon. Now we do most of our shopping in bulk and only buy what we intend to use. Purchases and spending are only when needed, not a “maybe I’ll need this at some point” sort-of-thing. Coupons are great if they are for items you are using in the immediate future and not just becoming a stockpile in the closet.
My husband is the “King of Returns”. He knows the warranty/guarantee of each item he purchases and holds the stores accountable if something is defective. He also isn’t hesitant to return that extra pair of pants he bought and doesn’t really need. The point is to only buy what you need or at least know your rights to return it when you finally wise up!
There are also instances in which paying more for something is worth it. For me, I’d rather buy my kids very good shoes if they cost a bit more rather than cheap shoes that fall apart quickly.
So the irony here of discerning wants from needs isn’t lost on me when I’m saving and planning a rather frivolous vacation! Certainly a trip Disney isn’t a need. But if I stick with the program and budget with wants vs. needs in mind, then my family can actually afford do something we want because we’ve earned it outright. I hope that you’ll follow along with us and bank your vacation fund too!
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!