It’s time to chat budgeting . . . anyone else with me?
When my husband and I were first married, we bought the cutest little ranch fixer upper. It had a pretty basic floor plan – tiny living and dining room right off the tiny foyer as you walked through the front door.
It was a solid three years before we could afford to do anything with those little rooms (the owners before us chose a lovely neon turquoise carpet ~ seriously ~ who puts in neon turquoise carpet?) When we finally were ready to fluff up those rooms I had big dreams in my head.
My mom gave us our piano, and I just knew that little living room would be perfect if I could just afford two wing back chairs to sit opposite the piano (flanking either side of a tall window ~ I wish I had pictures to show you!) I would move kitchen chairs into the living room to see how they would look. I’d sit in each corner waiting for a chair and just imagine they were already there. And I stayed up at night dreaming of the perfect wingback chairs.
I really wanted those chairs.
It went so far that I actually believed that if I just had those chairs, my daily prayer time would become consistent. Because clearly with those chairs I’d have just the perfect spot to sit down with my Bible and Bible Study book in, so all my excuses would just fly right out the window.
It finally occurred to me that Jesus didn’t exactly need wingback chairs to make way for His own quiet time.
(Y’all, I kid you not, these thoughts really did go through this 23 year old’s head . . . gracious I’ve always been a mess!)
Sure enough, one day while walking through JCPenney I saw a Buy One Get One Free LaZBoy Wingback chair sale.
I needed them.
I convinced my husband they were perfect (what man doesn’t get excited when you say the word LaZBoy?), and was so stinkin’ excited to finish up the room I could hardly stand it. (These were them exactly ~ bleck!)
Because we couldn’t afford what I really wanted (I was dreaming of something more like these back then?), I settled for those chairs, and honestly hated them in every single room we moved them to. I finally sold those suckers on Craigslist two years ago for less than $100, and was so ready to see them go.
And guess what?
They didn’t magically make me spend more time in Bible Study.
They didn’t automatically fix all the other flaws in our home.
And they didn’t just up and make me perfectly happy.
Buying stuff never does.
Fast forward fifteen years.
I’ve learned a lot about stuff. I’ve learned that waiting for what I really want instead of settling for second best is oh-so-worth it.
I’ve learned that Goodwill and thrift stores have awesome bargains, and if I decide eventually to throw away that $2 chair it won’t break my heart the way never being satisfied with those $399 chairs did. (They were $399 for both after the BOGO sale – just to clarify.)
I’ve learned that contentment doesn’t come from stuff to begin with, and you can make just about anything beautiful with a little work and determination.
The moral of the story?
Don’t fool yourself into believing that if you have just that one thing your life will all of a sudden find peace. Because while you may fill that one spot, another ten spots will pop up just waiting for some attention. (Promise. I’ve been there.)
Instead, determine your budget, if you can afford to frugally fix things up have at it, but don’t stress over buying something right this second that you have no business buying. Choose to make whatever space you’re in beautiful by simply tidying it up, clearing off the counters, and slapping some fresh paint on a room if you need to. (Need inexpensive paint? Try the home improvement store clearance bins!)
If you’re just starting out, know that one day your budget really will change, and those things you’ve dreamed of forever might just come into reach. And, odds are your taste will really change along the way, so be patient and do things for as little money as you can while you have time to figure out what you really love.
Determine today to stick to a budget in 2015, and wait patiently for the things you really want until you can afford them. It may take some time to get there, but I promise it’s so worth the wait!