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Priorities - Feeling Motivational

January 19th, 2007 at 01:01 pm

Frugality is about setting priorities, not deprivation. Well, at least it is to me.

I just posted a little bit about the philosophy of Suze Orman & Laura Rowley and I guess that is really what it comes down too. I Think you have to have a strong sense of self to be successful financially. Maybe you don't HAVE to, but it sure helps.

I think the best thing my parents ever taught me, which reaches into every aspect of my life, is just to be myself and not worry about other people. I think to many that is the biggest first step in figuring out how to budget and live within your means. Not falling for all the marketing out there, buying things to look cool and please your friends, keeping up with the joneses. & trying to find satisfaction with yourlife outside of material things - I guess that is a big one too. I think a big way my parents taught me this was they were never afraid to be different. & they also never gave into a fad. I remember I thought I Was going to die if I did not get a Cabbage PAtch Doll. My parents never caved. I thought they were horrible because we shopped at Kmart. But my parents gave me a good life and even spoiled me on occassion. But the most important thing I think is they wouldn't give in when I had an impulse and wanted something because of outside influences. I hope I Can be strong enough to say no to my kids the same way because I feel it has served me very well in life.

& once you know what you really want for yourself, set a path and goals to get there. You have to look carefully, and be patient. Because if you can't have it all now, maybe you can down the road - years/decades down the road if you are patient. OR maybe there is something you can never have, you have to seriously list what you want out of your life and how you are going to get there. IF you have too many goals, some will have to be sacrificed. But the upside is only those most important to you will be what you work toward, and what you spend money on. IT is easy to say no to the things that don't matter once you really look hard and see what really matters and doesn't.

Dh and I Were discussing it the other night - we realize we don't put a lot of weight on 2 things - fleeting pleasures (vacations and experiences) or small material things - we are more likely to save for bigger things. To many it really creates the illusion that we are extremely wealthy. Looking at face value at our posessions.

What we have and value:

**A nice house (housing may be expensive but renting is far more expensive and would never get us ahead. Our utilities are dirt cheap and maintenance is low as long as the house is newer. By the time it starts needing more repairs we'll have the cash).

**Reliable Cars - as long as they are reliable and don't have a lot of upkeep they will do.

**Fancy Electronic Toys (computers, games, theatre room. We shop for quality and value, and don't turn our noses up at used. We'll think outside the box for a deal. Dh's theatre room has a nice projector - where it matters - and everything else is not fancy. A big screen t.v. would cost more but we have a 10-foot screen. HE has free HDTV through his computer - projects it in there. HEll of a lot cheaper and nicer than an HDTV thank you). We don't spend much on replacing things or repairs - we shop carefully to avoid these.

**Comfort (electricity will not be set lower than 68 - thanks - LOL).

**Convenience

**Cash in the bank

**Preparing for retirement

**working less and spending more time with the kids

**making less and enjoying our job

**Having a pet

**A weekend away or a nice camping trip

**Not relying on 2 incomes

**Decent HEalth Insurance (believe me I pay well for this! To avoid big insane bills, best we can anyway.)

**Not having debt

What we do NOT value:

**New/Fancy Cars
**A house we can not afford to upkeep
**Electronics - what everyone else has, brand names, etc.
**Home decorating/new furniture
**Being too good to buy used
**Eating out a lot
**Going out a lot
**beauty products & treatments
**fads
**most consumer goods
**fancy vacations
**brand names
**appearances


& so it goes. By not spending a lot of money (or maybe none) on the things we don't value, we have that much more money for things we value.

We put our all into getting a house so that we could stay out in California and not drown in rents and be the ones saying we will never afford a home. & we made it.

I know our theatre room drops jaws. The sound and the picture is FANCY. Never mind the surround sound and DVD player are ancient as dh bought them in college and never replaced. That we got the theatre seating dirt cheap at a going out of business sale. That the decor consists entirely of painted walls and a screen we framed with felt. The room is not going to be featured in a magazine or considered fancy in the least, but the movie screen will blow you away and that is what is important. When the lights are off who cares - LOL.

By simply buying newer and fancier cars there is no way we would have money for a house or a theatre room. So we sacrificed where it didn't matter as much to us. IF we both bought $20k cars, there would go 90% of the down payment on our house. A couple of thousand dollars for a fancy projector is nothing when you don't spend your money on any of the latest electronic gadgets, don't have a car payment, when you just don't buy other stuff.

Oh yeah the reason we were talking about it too is we seem to go in cycles. We will go years with living very tight as we aim for a goal, and then we might let loose and go crazy for a year. The crazy year would be 2005. We were just saying though, you know we could have gone crazy and blew through all our money on nights out and vacations and stuff that would carry no further value to us today. Instead we have a nice new washer/dryer, a laptop which has been heaven on earth for me - I can work while watching the kids or without locking myself away in another room - sometimes I have mindless work to do in the evenings - I do it while I hang out with the family - couldn't without the laptop. We have preschool which is good for everyone in the house, and a gardener which saves SO many headaches. SO we went crazy - we don't regret any of our purchases. Dh has his theatre room, we have 2 decent cars that should last a LONG time. We were saying "so what?" if we have to cut back for a few years as we re-evaluate and put extra money into retirement and as we build back up our cash. At least we didn't blow our money on stuff that we didn't value, that is gone. So we can enjoy what we have for years to come. IT was just interesting as we looked at it that way.

We may NEVER have the money to go on a fancy vacation, to buy NEW furniture, or to eat out more. Some parts of my budget are still as tight as they were as a kid in college making minimum wage. Oh well. There is luckily plenty there for all that we value.

We could value retirement even more and sacrifice some of the fun and fancy things - no doubt. But I think we found a nice balance. I Think too since I love my job I am not in a huge hurry to retire - makes all the difference!

& that is what truly matters.

I am sure everyone's values and non-values will read a little different, and that is fine by me - I don't expect everyone to value what we value. Any mix is fine as long as it is attainable and makes you happy! I think it just gets extra hard with the "keeping up with the joneses" mentality because then way too many "things" flood your "value" list - so many that most of us will never realistically afford. & so goes the debt cycle.

I actually have a rather substantial list (well we both do) of material things we think we might like - and they do tend to be big. But since they don't fit in our overall plans for now they are just on the back burner for now. But I Won't cry about it. We have plenty and I know more things won't make us happier. Why I Am happy to set many things aside... They are at the back of our minds maybe one day when the mortgage is paid and our retirement is set, things we would consider. Then we would value experiences and fancy vacations more. But for now they don't fit with our financial picture and our goals and I think we will live just fine without.









3 Responses to “Priorities - Feeling Motivational”

  1. jriessel Says:

    Well said! Most of my money issues in the past stem from buying the little things - a latte here, a toy or clothing for the girls there. Now I try to stop myself and think - how does buying this object fit in with my goals? Almost 100% of the time it does not and I don't buy it.

  2. Amber Says:

    I went into debt worrying about what others have and it has taken me a long time to get over this hurdle...mind you, it is still a struggle; but I am making progress. Nice post

  3. monkeymama Says:

    I hear you. It is always a struggle to do the right thing financially. I Think we do well 90% of the time, and that too helps when we make a bad choice. But as much as we have it figured out we still get sucked in sometimes. Drawn in by thinking we want something we don't really want or need overall.

    It is easy to stumble.

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