We learned we were pregnant fresh out of high school. Needless to say, adult life hit us pretty quickly. My husband was still determined to go to college, so between part time jobs and a new baby, finding ways to save money was a necessity early in our young marriage. Now, 15 years later, even though my husband and I have worked our way into a more financially stable situation—and are happy to enjoy the kind of freedom that comes with that—we still spend wisely. Knowing we are on the same page where spending/saving our money is concerned is a bond we share and there is definitely a sense of freedom that comes with having discipline.
Today, my husband and I pride ourselves on finding a good deal, but it hasn’t always been this easy. Through practice and patience I taught myself to be a good shopper and to have the patience to wait for items to go on sale. Now I have a knack for finding great deals. I take advantage of store savings cards, rebate offers, and other various sales and discounts. With a little bit of planning, you can wait for specials where you can combine multiple offers, coupons and rewards points, and get great deals. There are many websites that will tell you what days certain stores discount which items, and what times of year are best to purchase big-ticket items. If you are a DIY type, a lot of times you can make your own items for fractions of the cost of premade. I’ll also buy knock off versions of more expensive items to save money.
Now, after a lot of hard work and patience, there’s room in our budget to allow ourselves to occasionally treat ourselves with something special and it’s important to have those little rewards in sight. I remember a time I wanted to treat myself to a pair of high heels. I had been looking at a pair of beautiful heels for a while. I didn’t own a lot of heels at the time, as a stay at home mom I didn’t have many occasions to wear them, but I loved this pair, I wanted them, and so I (finally) bought them. They weren’t on sale, and they were more than I normally would spend. But I don’t waste my money on a regular basis. I also knew that if I bought them at this price, I’d make darn sure to get my use out of them. And so I purchased them. And I remind myself of that occasionally, to remember what my goals are, and to treat myself for the hard work and discipline I have financially.
It’s not always fun or easy to “do the right thing” and would be a lot more fun to have lots of extra “blings and things,” but that won’t help you sleep at night. The peace my husband and I have comes from knowing our bills are paid, our requirements are met, our kids have everything they need, and that there is still some money left over for wants and fun. Our favorite saying is,“DISCIPLINE IS CHOOSING BETWEEN WHAT YOU WANT NOW AND WHAT YOU WANT MOST.” Living by that motto, to appreciate delaying gratification, is a common bond that we share as a couple and it has strengthened our marriage. My husband and I knew living a frugal lifestyle wouldn’t be easy when we started this, but it has been worth it.