Guest post from Lauren
When my husband and I got married, we quickly realized that we came from very different financial backgrounds. My husband’s family was always a “don’t buy it unless you can’t live without it” kind of bunch, where my family enjoyed “retail therapy” a little too much!
Over the course of our first few years of marriage, I think we both changed each other, for the better: he got better about being willing to spend, and I got much better about not spending so much!
We accomplished a lot in a pretty short amount of time:
- We paid off a trip to Europe that I’d put on a credit card just before we got married (see what I mean??)
- We paid off all of my school loans.
- We paid for a move to Illinois for his work.
- We bought a home.
- We started purchasing our own health insurance so that I could stay home with our children.
- We had 3 beautiful children in the space of 3 years.
- We paid cash for a new-to-us vehicle.
- We paid cash for numerous home repairs and upgrades.
- We saved a lot for retirement.
However recently, I was feeling guilty for not saving more. As a result, I mentioned to my husband that I was renewing my commitment to try to find extra money to save.
He stopped me with one word: “Why?”
“Why?” I asked. “What do you mean, why? There’s retirement, and college for the kids, and moving to a better school district, and…” “Yes,” he said, “and we’re on track for all of those things. Why do you want to save more?”
I realized then and there: saving had become the goal.
That’s backwards! I’ve always been the type to save for a purpose – this dollar is going toward new curtains for the living room, this dollar toward a car down the road.
Somewhere along the line, though, I’d lost sight of the real goals we had for saving: to have a more comfortable life, to save against eventual needs, to be more generous with our time and resources.
Saving – just saving to hoard it – had become the goal.
We will still continue to tinker with our savings plan, I’m sure. I’m heading back to graduate school this fall, and we’ll have to replenish some of our savings after paying for that. But I won’t let saving money become my goal, my reason, again. I want to enjoy my life, and learning to live within my means will let me do that!
Lauren is Matt’s wife of 7 1/2 years, and stay at home mama to 3 sweet babies: Macy, Zoë, and Mark. Between cooking, cleaning, working at church, and volunteering, she decided she needed something else on her plate, so she’s headed back to school in the fall.