Reverb 11 | Prompt 6 | Money

One of my absolute favorite ladies Sarah and her partner-in-crime, Meredith are leading a December blog series called Reverb.  I can’t explain it nearly so well as she does except to say that it involves reflecting on the life you’ve lead over the past year.  The highs, the lows, the changes and your hopes for the year to come.  I told her I would love to join in for a post or two when the prompt felt right.

Prompt for December 6: Money.  Where did you spend your money this year?  Did you save it instead?  What, if anything, would you like to do with your finances this year?

Marcus and I are fairly quiet about our financial situation.

I should like to think that our parents are fairly informed about how we manage our money.  Beyond that, as a rule we try to avoid having conversations about money with other people.

Even though it’s not something to be tucked away or embarrassed about,  I do think that it’s a very personal topic.

But sometimes you should talk about things that get hidden beneath the surface.  Because the things that people don’t talk about end up being the things you need to learn the most about.

This year, we’re blessed to have enough.  Enough to live.  Enough to spend.  Enough to save.

We try to be frugal when we can, and especially when it’s obvious.

What does that look like?

  • It’s why we visit three grocery stores on Sunday mornings.
  • It’s why I (to varying degrees of success) cook dinner at home three times a week.
  • It’s why I choose functional running gear from Target over more well-known brands.
  • It’s why I talked Marcus in to re-finishing a solid oak bed frame when the options were $300 and god-only-knows how many hours of work, or $1000 for something made of particle board.
  • It’s why I refuse to pay full price for any article of clothing.

Sometimes I’ll see something that another blogger has purchased or that another person is wearing and I’ll ask myself, Why can’t I have that? 

I get envious.  I feel like what I have is less-than.  And the feeling doesn’t always pass right away.

I have to take a step back to remind myself that not only is money a tool, but that everyone gets to make their own choices with it.

So what did we choose to spend our money on?

We traveled.

Oh my god how we traveled.

We went on a cruise in January.  I visited Lindsey in Washington D.C.  Twice.  Marcus went to Las Vegas.  We stole away to the cabin.  I spent a weekend in Madison.  Marcus had a guys’ weekend in the Brainerd Lakes.  We took off on the honeymoon of a lifetime and spent 10 days cruising around the Mediterranean and three more days in Paris.

It didn’t seem like very much until I started to type it out, but WOW.

And though our traveling is done until 2012, we’re in the middle of nailing down some specifics for our next trip.  Because our goal is to travel as much as humanly possible before we start a family.  But that is neither here nor there.

When I think about our financial picture for the next year and into the future, what I see is saving.  Saving for retirement.  Saving for the home we hope to purchase five years from now.

For the home we have now, I see improvements.  Buying nightstands.  Finally re-doing the bathroom vanity.  Updating our light fixtures.  Making the office a useable workspace.  Finishing the cabinets in our kitchen to match the island beneath the cut-out window.

And I see giving.  To support friends in their efforts to raise awareness.  To support causes that we are passionate about.  To create positive change in our community.

Will any of this happen overnight?  Of course not.  But it points us in the direction we want to go.

What do you do to save money?

What financial goals do you have for the next year?

Tomorrow: The super-scientific results of The Survey.  Prepare Yourselves Emotionally.


13 responses to “Reverb 11 | Prompt 6 | Money

  1. I totally need a financial adviser! Sometimes I’m really good about saving money and cutting corners and other times I definitely waste money – which I hate because I know that it could be put to better use, whether in my life or someone else’s.

    One way i save money is just to have it automatically taken out of my regular account and put in a retirement savings plan. Forced savings works for me!

  2. Great post! We are in the same place it seems! We do lots to save money – coupons, stocking up on fresh veggies rather than pre-packaged, DIY decor for the home and almost 95% of our meals made at home (with leftovers for lunches). It’s a lot to do but in the end – it’ll all be worth it! Keep it up, Kat!

  3. Here’s the one good thing about getting older…I am finally more stable financially. I remember not traveling for years (at least 5?) and buying groceries that were on sale and perusing Banana Republic’s sale section every week…but now that I’m 35 (!) I can say I’m a little less stressed out about the whole thing.

    Finally, a reason to get older.

    Great post. Love your honesty. Love that you help others. Love everything about you!

  4. If there were a LIKE button, I would press it.

  5. My financial strategy for 2012 is buying lottery tickets. Seriously.

    That and I want to save as much money as possible for traveling! Watch out world, here I come!

  6. Thanks for sharing:) I tend to be kind of vocal about money, because, basically, Matt and I don’t have any right now. Sometimes it gets awkward when people ask us to spend money (aka weddings) and I’d rather be vocal than awkward. That being said, I’m hoping my finacnial situation will improve after the holidays because, fingers crossed, 2012 should be my first full year of employment!

  7. Thanks for reverb-ing along!

    I totally agree with you on feeling envious. I love the blogging world, but sometimes I run across posts about an expensive makeup product or bag or shoe or outfit or kitchen item, and I want it so bad! And I get jealous.

    But! I try to remember, I don’t know other people’s financial situations. Maybe they are on their last dime. Maybe they worked and worked for years and years and scrimped and saved and are now using some of that money. I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.

    I just need to keep my eyes on my own goals and work to get there!

  8. Peachy Keen

    I’m right there with you and have travel as my number 1 expense. Try as I might, I have a very difficult time limiting my plane ticket budget. That said, I aim for balance and haven’t really splashed out on clothing or other little luxury items which I might sincerely want but definitely don’t need.

  9. I really like that you are one of the people who doesn’t broadcast her money situation to the rest of the world, but are open to discussing your outlook on money.

    I’m with you. I like to put travel at the top of my expense list. Although, once I get a big-girl job, I’m interested to see how it changes.

    I think I might try out the “Leap” prompt over the weekend. It seems way too appropriate to pass up. Thanks for introducing me to Reverb!

  10. I try to be as frugal as possible, but sometimes I worry I’m penny wise pound foolish. Then again, I’m never sure how to gauge how others spend.
    I worried, “Oh, I spent money on going out to eat four times last month!” My sister looked at me like I was crazy, becasue a lot of college kids eat out a lot more than that. Or so I’ve been told. It’s mostly groceries that take up my money, and I try to save by shopping on Wednesday. That’s when I’ve heard you should buy your groceries.

  11. I freaked out when I finished grad school and had to face my student loans. So, I threw myself into learning about personal finance and found that knowledge is definitely power, and more accurately for money, control. Knowing where your money is going provides a lot of peace of mind. Anything related to money (paying off debt or saving) is a slow process sometimes, but the patience pays off!

    Resources I would reccomend include LearnVest, a website for women (primarily the Checklists and Bootcamps); anything by Dave Ramsey; and the blogs Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar.

  12. I’m bad with budgeting, but somehow it always works itself out. I stay away from credit cards, coupon clip, and buy on sale when I can. The problem is that I fall off the wagon and “treat myself” and that prevents me from saving more money. I’m an emotional shopper, so that is my downfall.

  13. Great, honest post. Not that I’m trying to be a bad influence, but I thought of #RunningPackintheSky when I saw these, today:

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