A testimony from Rachael from Thriving on Thrifty
When my husband and I first got married in 2009, he was still driving around his first car, a small 1998 Nissan — verging on 200,000 miles. With this in mind, we knew that a vehicle purchase would be in our near future. However, saving and money-management was something I had never really practiced before we got married.
Life quickly set in though as two newly married 20-year-olds, with only a part-time job between us, and my husband still in college full-time. We had the option of either going into debt with no end in sight or figuring out how to live within our means.
Fortunately, I was able to find a full-time job within two weeks of getting married and we cut back on everything. We made a plan and stuck to it… and within 7 months of being married we were able to start putting money in a savings account!
By that time, my husband had graduated college and was also working his first-full time job. My husband and I both hoped that one day I would be able to be a stay at home mom, so we decided to only “live” off of one salary so we didn’t become accustomed to living off of two salaries. We used my income primarily for savings and paying off debt.
In today’s times, we didn’t know if being a one-income family was even possible, but we had that goal in mind knowing that we needed to pay down our debt, fund an emergency fund, and of course still save for that vehicle.
Within a two-year period, my husband and I were able save enough money to pay cash for our 2008 Honda Civic. No, it wasn’t new, but it was new to us and we didn’t have to finance it.
Not only had we paid cash for our Civic, but we had funded our emergency fund and paid off ALL of our debt (with the exception of our house) all in time to find out we were expecting our first child!
The following is my encouragement and tips to others out there:
Write down your goals:
Make a list of everything you want to accomplish. By writing it down, you can make yourself more accountable to sticking to it.
Yes, life happens and sometimes things don’t go as planned, but writing it down can at least help you stay more focused on your goals — not to mention, writing down all of your goals can really help you figure out which goals are most important to you and start focusing on those first.
Make a plan:
Once you have figured out your goals, make a plan and stick to it. Really do your homework and make a specific, reasonable plan. Crunch the numbers and figure out what you have to cut back on in order to reach your goal in your desired time-table.
Save, Save, Save:
After you determine your plan, start saving! Even if you have months where you can’t save what you had hoped, save what you can. Keep your chin up and don’t get discouraged.
I am now able to stay home with my 15-month-old son, and I find creative ways to save money and make a little income on the side — including blogging on my new blog, Thriving on Thrifty, where I write about money management, deals I find, ways to save, and other life management skills. Buying items after we have saved the money versus going into debt has lessened our financial stress and given me the opportunity to be a stay at home mom.
Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.