Don’t Sacrifice What You Really Want For What You Want Right Now

  • Sharebar


When my husband and I were first married, money was tight in our home. We both had college degrees, and he had worked a few years at a decent job, however my income was pretty insignificant. To get through college I had taken on quite a few student loans, and as a young married couple our finances were just limited.

So, at twenty-one years old (I thought he was an old man at the age of twenty-five), we very unconsciously decided to live frugally. Neither of us enjoyed spending beyond our means, so being frugal came pretty naturally to us. That didn’t mean however that it didn’t hurt.

We bought our first house just one year into our marriage with a 10% down payment thanks to some serious savings on our part, but it wasn’t easy! My husband and I renovated two homes early in our marriage, and spent many sleepless hours re-painting thirty-year-old particle board cabinets to make them look “cute” with loads of white paint. (It took six coats of paint to transform just one set of cabinets!)

I remember bringing our oldest child home from the hospital a few years later and thinking that I needed to figure out how to nurse my son as there was simply no way we could afford formula. (I had given up my low-paying job as a Youth Director at our local church to stay home with him, but just couldn’t see how we were going to make it on one income.) As he got a little older, I tried to come up with inexpensive homemade snacks so that we wouldn’t have to go to the grocery store between pay checks (which was when I found that homemade bread made a great snack!) I got very creative on how I could stretch cleaning products and household items further than they normally would go, and even calculated exactly how many miles I could drive each week to go to “town” to help pinch an extra penny. (We lived about ten miles from the closest grocery, and I figured every penny I could save was a blessing!)

My son got a little older, and spent hours helping me tear wallpaper off the walls from the mid 70′s . . . it was kind of retro and metallic, so he could see himself in the wallpaper as he worked. (Which was pretty cool for a three-year-old!) Meanwhile, the minute my daughter was old enough to sit up in her exersaucer, I turned on music and let her play while I re-painted any solid surface I could find.

It wasn’t easy. Thumbing through magazines and seeing things that I loved but we really couldn’t afford was tough. Driving cars that no one else would even consider driving was no fun at all. (We even had a car that was actually two car ends glued together . . . my father-in-law convinced me it was a deal because the front end had 60,000 miles on it, but the back end only had around 40,000 . . . we figured we could always drive it backwards as it got older, right?) :) When we finally moved up in the world and decided to get cable, the cable company offered us their best deal on a Spanish-speaking plan, so each Christmas we received cards from the cable company in Spanish (and occasionally they’d call us and speak Spanish as well!)

BUT, I can tell you it was all worth it. Every. single. bit. Fifteen years later, my husband and I live in a nice home (not amazing, but certainly more than we need!) with no debt besides our house. We’re able to travel on some fantastic vacations, give our children opportunities I never even dreamed of as a child, and help others outside our family as we’re able. It’s an amazing feeling to not be strapped financially, and all the years of choosing to live frugally have definitely paid off. There are still things that I would still love to have (granite countertops would make me really happy one of these days!) But I don’t need them, and seeing others in need has changed the way I consider my own wants compared to my needs. (EEK!)

I wouldn’t trade the way we started out for anything . . . I look back at those days when my husband and I spent Friday nights competing to see who could change a hinge out faster (he’d use a manual screwdriver, I’d use an electric, and he’d still win.) I’ll never forget what it felt like each time our sweat equity paid a bigger down payment on a larger home, and I wouldn’t trade the lessons we learned through living frugally for anything.

If you’re in the midst of financial struggles right now, don’t lose heart. There are blessings to be found right where you are that you’ll not learn any other way, and when you look back you’ll be amazed at how God’s hand (along with a little determination . . . ) will bring you to a new place in life. So, don’t give up, and don’t sacrifice what you really want for what you want right now.

Photo Credit

Print Friendly

Comments

  1. L says:

    Laurie, I can’t thank you enough for this post today. Your timing is perfect and it has really struck me. I’m inspired, I’m hopeful, and I know we can do it! Being frugal sure does build character doesn’t it? :) Thank you–happy holidays!

    • Laurie says:

      It definitely builds some character… whether you want it to or not! But I definitely wouldn’t change it for anything, although I’m not sure I would have said that 15 years ago :) You can totally do it, and it’s so fun to look back in the end to see how far you’ve come!

  2. Shannon Cape says:

    Thank you, I really needed this today. My husband and I just bought our first house in April of this year and have been struggling to find a way to fix up the little things until we can afford to tackle bigger projects. I have an 18 year old son that will be graduating this year and looking at college, I have a 15 year old son, and my husband and I have a 15 month old baby boy. So with buying the house and trying to get things for my oldest to go to college, the cost of raising a baby and 2 teenagers, and Christmas right around the corner, I was just feeling down. This reminded me why I coupon and not to give up that things will work out someday.

    • Laurie says:

      Hang in there Shannon! If you have any energy for it, my favorite thing to fix up a house cheaply is PAINT! We’ve purchased quite a bit in the reject bins at Home Depot – and gotten a whole gallon for $5 :)

      It’s so hard to be in the middle of that at Christmas time, but I know you’ll find so many other precious memories this Christmas that money won’t by. May God’s blessings on you this Christmas!!!

  3. Kailin says:

    Oh my gosh, Laurie, I laughed out loud at the car thing! Thanks for the humor :-)

    Living in God’s economy is ALWAYS worth it no matter what the apparent sacrifices are. Good work, and I pray that He continues to bless you and your family!

    • Laurie says:

      Kailin – I wish you could have seen my (naive…young…) face when my father-in-law of just a few short months told me how great my car was going to be (it was a Chrysler LeBaron, and the front half was maroon / back half white) when I first saw it. He promised me they would paint it before I had to drive it – it was AWFUL! But, I have to say, waayyyyyy better than the two cars I had before it – they were ones that our local electric company sold when they were completely ruined, and had rusty extra holes in them for electric “stuff”. No A/C, radio, nothing. Sure makes me love my Honda Minivan!

      And you’re right, God definitely has His own economy – hard to wait when you’re in the midst of it but sure a hoot to look back on!!!

  4. Jaime says:

    Love this! I think I’ll print out a copy of it and put it in front of my debit card, the perfect reminder to rethink if I really need what I’m about to buy!

  5. Dana says:

    Great words for me to read today. I have been having many financial thoughts hindering my mind. Thanks for a post to help put things in perspective.

  6. Tammy Shelton says:

    I knew we had a connection. I used to be a youth pastor too. Went to Concordia University Seward NE. :D

    Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me hope to know with hard work (what we are working on now) things will get better.

    • Laurie says:

      How neat Tammy! There definitely is hope… but some days it’s overwhelming! Love that you did youth ministry too – I miss those days (but not the over-night lockins; those always did me in!)

  7. Kim Farthing says:

    Laurie I have truly enjoyed reading about you and James and how you started out. I will use your website in the future and I have showed it to a few of my friends. You are doing a great job and I appreciate all of your work on trying to help me and others. You are a very special person…

    • Laurie says:

      You’re so sweet Kim! I wish you could have seen the look on Don & Jennie’s face when they showed me the great car deal they found (Don did make sure they painted the car all one color to match!) Thanks so much for sharing PPP with folks way up in Illinois…. I appreciate that more than you know! :)

  8. Debra says:

    What a great article! I think back of things I have done and sometimes still do to save a buck. It’s a good reminder for people not to lose sight of the bigger picture!.

  9. Judy hart says:

    Love it, Laurie. Mike and I were the same way. Although I did teach and mike had a great paying job, we still watched what we bought. We have built 3 houses, renovated one and always made money which we socked away. Now we are both retired and are financially able to travel, our dream from very early in our marriage. We still watch what we spend and live very comfortably. Love you and James

    • Laurie says:

      That’s so encouraging Judy! It really is amazing how good it feels not to worry so much about finances, and to be able to travel like you all have sounds so wonderful. Such a good example to so many of us! :)

  10. Great post. I love frugally day-to-day to allow myself vacations. I've had to learn to loosen up a little so I can have some fun in between vacations. most of my vacations are road trips, which I love, and I pack some food but eat out some. rather low income compared to most but not in debt. don't own my own home but don't want maintenance issues and want to be free as a bird when retired. think your post meant the most to me 'cause so many of my friends/relatives make more $$ and spend, spend, spent but are in debt. glad to know I'm not the only one counting pennies.

  11. Joan Falldine says:

    Your transparency is going to be a big encouragement to so many people.

  12. Shannon Glenn Caracciolo says:

    Thank you.

  13. Robyn Crawford says:

    Thank you for this! Needed a reminder that while things are thight now they won't always be!

  14. Stefanie says:

    Thanks for your transparency. Though I got married much later in life (38), and hubs and I both had zero school loans and solid well paying careers, we are ver fiscally aware not to spend irrationally. We live in one of the most expensive counties in the country, which coming from the Midwest and knowing how far ones money can stretch for housing, is disheartening. I always said I would continue working as long as it worked for our family. In almost 9 years of marriage we have adopted 7 children from Ukraine and I am about to celebrate 21 years working for the same company. It is truly a juggling act, that hubs and I work very hard to balance. We just ‘fired’ our greedy landscaper as we have made the choice to better use the money by taking 4 of our children to a math tutor for the summer to keep their skills strong. We do everything ourselves but you know what? At 55 we will have 30+ years in with our jobs with a pension. Their have been days when I have been envious of those moms who stayed home and did not have their attention divided with a job outside the home, but I know the job I have has been a gift to our family and affords our kids amazing academic and extra curricular activities. Thanks for the reminder that intoning is forever and sacrifice and hard work does pay off.

  15. When someone told me we had a low amount of debt with our student loans & our small car loans ($7500 originially for both cars), I was shocked. I want no debt!

  16. Wendy Hardy says:

    Thank you so very much….this is a huge eye opener and I know now…im certainly not alone!….Thank you and a Dutch hello to you from The Netherlands :D

Speak Your Mind

*



Close
I'm so glad you're here!
Follow PPP on Facebook or Google+ and never miss a deal, plus get a free printable price list when you join our Facebook page.