Save as Much Money as Possible- or Not?

The past six years have been a financial roller coaster for us, and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (finally!).  When we moved to this state for my hubby to go to school, we incurred moving expenses.  Then I was the only one working while he went to school so our income was pretty low.  In addition, culinary school ended up costing over $36,000 so we took on student loans. After culinary school, we continued to live frugally to be able to pay down our consumer debt.  We ended up paying off that debt this year and it couldn’t feel better.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately) I’ve continued the mindset of OMG we need to save as much money as possible! and I’m getting tired of it.  Not to mention, I feel sometimes like it’s hindering my happiness.  Now, I know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but what I am saying is that maybe being a little less stingy with our money would result in more happiness.  I received a comment the other day that really struck home.

I like your blog but there is one down side that has made me tune out a lot; you seem to very often put money waaaay before happiness. I get the importance of being financially responsible but I think IMHO that you often cheat yourself just to save. I’d rather have sufficient and modest savings but live happily and in sync with my values than maximize my money but sacrifice a lot of what makes me happy. just my opinion.

First off, I’m glad that the person actually said this.  I don’t think that I would have had the guts to post this because I’d be worried I would offend someone.  Truth be told, this is one of the best comments I’ve ever received.  I think there’s a lot of truth to it, and I’m going to do my best to focus more on being happy than worrying about money.

Over the years I’ve worried a lot about money.  We had debt, we needed to save for this, we need more money to pay this, etc.  Money is stressful!  Now we’re debt free, focusing on new goals (which can also be stressful), and I want to really enjoy life more.  We are not bound by debt (except for our mortgage) any more.  I want to continue to live frugally but not miserly.

One of the things that really stresses me out about budgeting is eating out.  We really enjoy eating out and as much as I try to cook at home all the time to save money, Mr. Money isn’t happy unless he can eat out.  Maybe I need to compromise and plan for one meal out a week so that way we are both happy.  Instead of looking at it like “we’re wasting money eating out and it could have cost me so much less money if we ate at home”, I need to look at it like I am blessing my husband and we are using our money wisely because this is something we both enjoy.

Obviously, budgeting is a huge struggle for me.  I don’t know how to tackle this.  I’m thinking about two solutions.

1. Make a budget with all of our bills that have to be paid (but not things like groceries) and include some savings goals in it.  After all the bills are paid, don’t worry about how much money we spend.  It’s not in our nature to go overboard, so our spending would be reasonable.

2. Make a budget and include the things like eating out.  Give us a set amount of money each month to spend on restaurants and fun things.  This option seems more stressful because I’d feel restricted.  Is that a good thing though?

I guess my main focus with our finances now is to start enjoying life a little more and stop acting like we’re dirt poor.  I don’t want to be 70 years old with a million dollars in the bank and wish that I had spent more time doing things that would have cost me a little money.  It’s all about balance.

Do you struggle with spending money? Or do you struggle with saving money? Which do you think is worse?


What’s the Strangest Online Purchase You’ve Made?

The other day I was bidding on Mach 3 Turbo razor blades on eBay and I stopped to think about how silly that actually sounded.  Here’s how it goes down at my house: Mr. Money tells me he needs new razor blades, and can I pick him some up while I’m grocery shopping?  I tell him that if he can wait, I can order them online and we can save a lot of money versus buying them at the store.  He then agrees and starts using my emergency stash of disposable Bic razors (not cool.)  I then forget because I’m busy, so a few weeks go by and he asks again, which prompts me to get looking on eBay.  I then find some Mach 3 Turbo razors that are a good deal, so I bid on them.  And then I lose.  And then I forget about it for a few days.

Then I remember, and bid on another item.  I think I’m going to lose the auction, so I start looking on Amazon at the prices of the razor blades. I find a good deal there, so I keep that in mind while I wait for the auction to end.  The next morning, I find out that I actually won the auction (yay!) so I pay via Paypal so that Mr. Money doesn’t have to wait any longer to receive his (now very necessary) razor blades. Done and done.

The more I got to thinking about it though, the sillier it sounded to me.  I mean, who buys razor blades on eBay? Granted, they are brand new and in the packaging, but still.  Most people just run up to the grocery store and purchase the razor blade refills.  Those things are expensive!  I can’t stand to pay full retail price knowing I can get a better deal online.  Of course, Mr. Money may not agree that it’s the best thing because he has to wait so long.

Another reason I purchase the razor blades online is because I can get them in bulk and it helps me from having to remember to buy them again in a month or so (obviously I’m not very good at remembering to order them!).  Not only does it save me money, but it also saves me time.

There are many times where we’ll be shopping and I’ll look at something and be like, oh I want that, but I won’t buy it because I know I can get it cheaper online!  I’ve done that with vitamins, shoes, coconut oil, and other random things that we’ve wanted.  It always seems like I pick the strangest things to order from the internet.  I can only imagine what the delivery person would think if they actually knew what was in our packages.  They would probably think we’re very weird!

Shopping online can be a great money and time saver if you actually go ahead and do it when you’re supposed to.  Sometimes you get in a time crunch and then can’t help but purchase the item from the store.  I do like supporting local businesses, so if the price is not that much different, I will pick it up from the locally owned store.

What’s the strangest online purchase you’ve ever made?


Teen Mom on MTV and Money

Teen Mom is a show on MTV that airs on Tuesday nights at 10PM.

It’s a reality show that follows four ‘teen moms’: Catelynn, Maci, Amber, and Farrah.  The young women were originally part of “16 and Pregnant”, another reality show that is exactly what it sounds like: pregnant 16 year old young women.  Both Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant are like train wrecks: you can’t help but watch because it’s so messed up.  I know I’m addicted, and the majority of my friends are also.  There are some good lessons to be learned from the show (don’t get pregnant until you can completely be responsible for a baby), and I’ve decided to highlight what I’ve observed about money and Teen Mom.

Farrah Abraham

Farrah’s worst money experience is when Farrah gets scammed on Craigslist.  On Episode 5, Farrah decides she’s going to sell her Dodge Neon on Craigslist.  She lists it, and lo and behold, someone buys it the next day! They send her a check in the mail with more than enough funds to cover the car plus shipping, plus some extra money for her trouble.  She Western Unions the money to the buyer, and all is well.  Until a few days later when her banker calls to tell her that dun dun dun… the check was fraudulent and bounced.  Now Farrah’s out like $3,000 and overdrawn in her bank account. Ouch.

Amber Portwood

It seems as if Amber and Gary don’t care about money because neither of them are employed.  One good money move they are making is to not get married.  Of course, that changes during every episode, but more likely than not, they won’t get married.  They will not only save money, but they will probably also save each others’ lives.

Maci Bookout

Maci appears smart with her money- she attends a community college in Chattanooga and then transfers to another community college in Nashville.  Of course, when she decides to move from Chattanooga to Nashville, her expenses increase as she moves from her parents’ house into her own apartment.

Catelynn Lowell

Catelynn and Tyler seem to be pretty responsible with money.  Both live with their own respective parents (coincidentally Catelynn’s mom is with Tyler’s dad) and attend a public high school.  They placed their daughter for adoption in hopes of a better life for her.  They believe they couldn’t have provided adequately for her, as they still hadn’t graduated high school. I think they made an awesome decision in placing their little girl with adoptive parents.  Although they miss their daughter terribly at times, Catelynn and Tyler seem to not regret their decision.

Raising a child is expensive, and it’s even harder when you’re a teen mom.  Going to school, paying for living expenses, and raising a child all cost money.  I can’t even imagine being a teen mom, but these girls seem to make it all work somehow.  It’s interesting to see the vast differences in money management between the young women.  Some of them handle money better than others, and some seem to not care at all about money.

Do you watch Teen Mom? Have you ever thought about their money situations?

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