Decide Your (Financial) Dream.

Last weekend James and I spent the weekend away at a conference and had oodles of time in the car to just talk. (A rare treat with kids aged 11 through 18 ~ normally when we're in the car we have oodles of ears listening all over the place!)

After sharing a Facebook Live video about how things we've done right along the way financially, we talked about something we haven't done very well  recently at all.

Are you ready?


We've stopped dreaming.


After twenty two years (our anniversary is tomorrow!) we're in a place of true financial freedom. And while that definitely feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G (SERIOUSLY ~ best gift ever, I wish I could give this precious gift to you!), it also has led to some financial mistakes over the last few months.


#1 or #2? (And the truth.) 🙂 After pinching pennies for 22 years, we’re finally in a place where there’s a little more wiggle room for a little more splurging and a little less pinching. But. As we’ve enjoyed some splurging recently, I’ve realized that the problem with having more is that it’s easy to whittle money away on things because we don’t have a long term “big” financial goal in planned. So, waste $30 on a meal out because maybe you can? Or, buy flowers when you could live without them because there’s a little more moo-lag in the bank? If you have enough, it maybe doesn’t matter, right? WRONG. (At least for me!) I’ve realized we’ve splurged some on things we can totally live without because we haven’t chosen to dream big. (That $100 wasted at a restaurant and on flowers are the beginnings of a paid for vacation!) So, this week as our kids are gone at camp, my hubby and I are going to do some dreaming big about what we REALLY want, instead of what we want right now. (Maybe a nice vacation? Or a new piece of furniture? Or a new ministry to give to? Or dreaming a crazy big long term goal like a vacation rental home?) If you’re in the middle of a splurging season, maybe it’s time to consider (like us!) starting a saving season toward those bigger-than-we’ve-been-dreaming of goals. (That being said – I love the bottom one. But I don’t need it, can live without it, and am going to dream right around it for now too. I’d love to hear which you like best though, and what you’re dreaming big for today!)

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Because we've kind of stopped dreaming of what we really want our money to do, we've settled to just fluff off a little money here and there. (Now, by nature we're not big spenders and put most of our money into our home, but little fluffs have happened in more places than I'd care to admit the last few months.)


We ate out an extra time this week (at a sit down Mexican place no less.)


Even though we all opted for water and my daughter and I split a meal, we still shelled out an extra $50 when we had plenty of food at home.


We splurged more than we ever would have a few years ago on our son's recent graduation.


It was totally worth it, but there were easily a few hundred dollars that could have been reeled back in if we'd had a plan.


We've been a little more frivolous when it comes to buying clothes recently, and while I've loved the extra stuff, it's also just more stuff. (Which turns into more clutter, more to wash, more stuff to just deal with in general . . . )




(Now, I have no problem at all with spending more than you should on things when you have total financial freedom, but for me at least, I want my money to always be working to a big-obnoxious-I-can't-believe-we-could-even-do-that type goal!)


As we talked about our finances, James and I realized how incredibly important it is that no matter where we are in your finances we always want to have a dream and goal to work towards.


That dream can be on the small side ~ like paying cash for a date night out with a babysitter or adding a few bushes outside in an area that needs new landscaping.


Or maybe a wee bit bigger ~ like paying off a student loan, saving up for a fun family vacation, saving to update a bedroom with some fresh paint and a new bedspread, or giving more abundantly to someone in need.



Or maybe even really big ~ like for us, our recent porch addition. (I need to do a post on the before and after pics of our backyard ~ it was an amazing-and-so-worth-it-dream ~ I'm so glad we've chosen to eat at home, clip coupons, and work towards something we really truly have wanted on this one!) 

But you have to choose what you want your money to do, otherwise that same money will get spent with no purpose at all.


So we're working on our next dream.


Because if I'm choosing a cute new outfit (that I really don't need . . .) or an amazing vacation with my family . . . I'd pick the vacation every time.


But if I don't come up with a plan, the plan will choose its own way without me.


So if you have just a minute today, I want you to think of your really-big-I'm-willing-to-pinch-pennies-all-day-long-for-this dream.


I hope it's something big-and-fun-and-crazy-amazing (you know what we're thinking about dreaming? A tiny piece of rental property somewhere that we'd like to vacation to ~ how's that for big dreaming? Surely that will feel way better than an over-priced meal out one day!)


So, come along with us and let's dream big together today. Decide your next big financial dream, and let's work together towards it too. 


What's YOUR big dream right now? Take a second and leave a comment to share ~ I love hearing from you!


Need more encouragement to dream big today? Check out this post on how to make life more liveable during a pretty difficult season ~ I'm so thankful James has always encouraged me to dream big! Also read more about how we both started out frugally right over HERE. I hope this encourages you today!

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  1. We did well for several years then milk prices dropped(what we get paid) so our income went way down. So our extra money to put on our debt stopped. I clean a couple houses & have tried to find more but ALOT of people clean in our area so not as many available as it used to be unfortunately. I have been trying to figure out something I could do but really hard to do little extras because people don’t have alot of extra money so not willing to pay for that. I just keep praying that something comes up for me to do so we can finish getting those debts paid off. Thanks for sharing

    • Thank you so much for sharing Karen! I would definitely try to think of unique ways to make an income – I know there has to be something that’s just the right fit for you! Will be praying you find that (I appreciate you taking the time to comment so much)!

  2. So glad you posted this…… hubby and I are focused on paying off debt. But as you know life gets you very distracted. I was just thinking today…. I need to assign every$$$$ that comes into our home so it has a job.( I listen to Dave Ramsey while I’m torturing myself on the elliptical ). I love the idea of focusing on a big goal….. we have met a few along the way. Refocusing…. and creating a new goal is s great idea. Thank you for the inspiration!!!

    • I love that Julie! It is SOOOO easy to get away from our main financial goal (goodness, I couldn’t believe how quickly we let the reigns out!) And while a little splurge here and there are fine, I don’t want to just throw money on things away often that don’t work towards our long term goals. Thank you for sharing – I know working towards that financial goal of paying off debt will feel AMAZING one day! 🙂

  3. My long-term goal / dream is 2 be debt free. After that it’s to own a fifth wheel and travel the country. I was really never taught finances when growing up, it was always don’t worry about it we’ll take care of you. However that was not the case as I found out when I went through a divorce years later. So for the last 16 years and a Dave Ramsey course I think I may have this money thing figured out and not live beyond my means. Thank you Laurie for all the cost-cutting / coupons that you let us know about. I think the best accomplishment one can have is to realize that just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean I have to go out and buy it right now. I have learned that my expenses come first. And after they are paid then the fun stuff comes along. Yes we do eat out too much but I always try to use a coupon or some sort of discount when buying a meal. Keep up the great work Laurie! I am so glad I found your blog!

    • Oh Angie – I’m so proud of you! I LOVE what Dave Ramsey teaches and know it can make such a huge impact, and absolutely think it’s fantastic that you’ve figured out the most important part (that even a good deal isn’t always a good deal for you right now!)

      THANK YOU so much for reading PPP and taking the time to share ~ I’m so glad it helps!

  4. Always enjoy reading your posts. We also are very lucky to have financial freedom. That being said I do find that I spend more than I should . We have 2 grandkids that I really over spoil. I liked about the dream comment , we built our dream house over the last year, moved in to it in March. I feel like that was the big dream and know our little dreams are of concrete driveways and landscaping having a hard time on trying to be frugal yet not settling fir something less than we want. I always struggle with saving money, how much is enough to have on hand? I feel it’s higher than what my husband thinks LOL. By the way I love you new porch, it’s beautiful.
    Many blessings,

    • I love that you’ve reached a place of financial freedom Sherrie – and how amazing to to have built your dream home! It sounds like you’ve kept your priorities straight and so fun that you can spoil your grandkids due to focusing on what mattered most. Thank you for sharing (and keep dreaming those fun dreams too!)

  5. We’ve also always been frugal. We renovated our 1860’s house our selves. Only debt we have is mortgage and its almost done. We always pay cash for everything and save like crazy for any possibility that might come along. We are at the point that the 1860’s house is too big for 2 people and we want to be closer to our adult daughters and their families. A dream has always been to live on a lake. So hopefully within the next three or four years we can sell our house for that lake house. No new mortgage. It has always been fun to be able to give when we see a need, or helping our daughters and families out with things they can’t afford yet. God is good all the time, because all the time God is good. Even with just finding out our 32 year old daughter has breast cancer . If you are a praying person, please pray for her healing.

    • Oh Linda – I’m praying for your sweet daughter right now (I can’t even imagine what you all are going through but do know God has an amazing plan for her!)

      Thank you for sharing your story and your dreams ~ I’m going to say an extra prayer that your dream big goals come true even sooner than you think. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Such a great post! These words ring so true!!!

    “But if I don’t come up with a plan, the plan will choose its own way without me.”. I know these words. I’ve lived it several times.

    Our short term goal is to redo the backyard. Long term Is to own a couple more rental properties

    • Thank you Nicola for your kind words – goodness it’s so true how easily our money can choose its path without us! I love the dreams of re-doing the backyard and rental property (those are two of our favorites too!) Thanks so much for commenting – I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  7. Laurie thank you for all your hard work! I pass on your fabulous advice and phenomenal deals to my daughters. I live on a fixed income with some costs ALWAYS going up I am always adjusting the outgo to match the income. Dreaming is FREE AND SOMETIMES becomes a reality.

  8. Kandy Hanna says

    Your post is a great reminder to me to get back to watching every dollar! Aiming to be debt free! “If we take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” Your new porch is beautiful. I know you will enjoy it.

  9. Pat Enecks says

    I started listening to The Dave Ramsey Show & started his baby step plan to becoming debt free! It’s been slow, but I am making forward progress by paying with cash & cutting up the credit cards!
    “Debt is dumb Cash is king & the paid off house has taken the place of the BMW as the new status symbol!! That’s one of the reasons I joined your site to penny pinch & those crockpot meals sure cut out grocery bill down!

    Thank you very much

  10. This is exactly what I needed to hear this morning. It just reminded me of what my husband and I have been working SO hard towards: becoming debt-free! Having that financial plan in place has made purchasing decisions more important and forces us to put more thought into everything that we buy! Thanks for the reminder to always have a plan in place and to stick with it!

  11. Hi Laurie! I will be 40 this coming March and I have a 7 year old son so I finally woke up financially and decided its high time I got on a budget, started seriously thinking about retirement savings and regular savings for my sons future too. Thanks for all the great link to downloading budget plans and especially the house cleaning checklist! Totally use it everyday!


  12. Lisa Haughton says

    Thank you for your honest and heartfelt sharing! We are young empty nesters. We decided that I would stay home with our boys and my husband and I both worked hard to make it work-and we did! I went back to school and became an RN when they were in jr high/high school. I worked for 12 years and made a VERY nice income-we managed to take care of our share of their college with no loans on our part (one area we didn’t have much saved for). My husband gets to travel with his job, sometimes to some pretty sweet places like Spain and Ireland and not nearly as sweet but Puerto Rico, etc. We decided we should take advantage of this time in our lives and the nearly free travel-only have to pay for my airfare. So…he let me quit my job to allow me to go with him-he never knows when he might get called away, so scheduling just wouldn’t allow for me to keep working and get to tag along. Now I have been trying to penny pinch to make up for what I am no longer bringing in. But I can always do better/more. You continue to inspire and motivate me-like my own little cheerleader of encouragement! So glad I found you!!!

  13. Jennifer K says

    Two years ago we bought a house after losing the home we built to foreclosure and having to rent for several years. I have since become an extreme couponer, pinching pennies where ever I can. My dream is to make our new family house a home. It needs much work and love.

  14. Our 22nd anniversary is coming up in Sept. I wish we were in a better place financially & have a better retirement started. But we are getting closer to being debt free, well a few more years. Right now one of my goals is to get new floors. Down the road I woul love to travel more. But right now saying for paying off debt, fixing up things around the house & things for my kids. Thanks for all your advice.

  15. Megan Rogge says

    I would love to have a rustic cabin on a lake that we can get away to and relax. And get rid of some of our debt of course. We have started working toward it, and praying for guidance as we go.

  16. I popped on to your blog today looking for ways to get in the gazelle-like intensity saving groove again. We’re not big spenders and have the grocery thing well under control (family of four in the 50-75/week range, getting a pretty good amount of organic and lots of fruits and veggies). I think that for us, it may be a combination of increasing income and tightening up on other splurges (dinners out; $2.19 at Dunkin Donuts; ice cream treats; cold drinks at ball games; etc).

    This post was really motivating. Our struggle is that we have been recently hit with huge unexpected medical bills. And Christmas is coming and we are committed to paying cash. And the fees to “extend” our homestudy for adoption another two years is due. And, if we’re to adopt again, that would fall under your category of “big financial dreams.” So, it is a lot all at once and just hearing your enthusiasm is really helpful! Thanks so much!

  17. We just paid off all our debts and medical bills, leaving enough to redo our fence in our back yard and getting an above ground pool we’ve been dreaming about. It feels good to finally be in a good place financially. We are still saving away to rebuild our savings for our next big project

  18. Nanette Langan says

    I want to thank u for all your info nd would like to save up to move to a smaller house another words from a 4br to a 3br house nd redo mine nd my grand daughter bedroom I am also saving for a new car. So it’s a big list but with Gods grace he will proved. Amen.

  19. My husband and I would like to save and finish the outside of our log home that we built 12 yrs ago and update our decking around our home. Due to unexpected health issues for us both it may not happen but we haven’t given up hope.

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