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?
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.