From a very young age, once I was finally old enough to earn an allowance, I realized how precious money can be when you don’t have an endless amount always at your fingertips. My parents raised me in the teaching, “If you want it, YOU pay for it”. I knew I couldn’t ask them to buy frivolous items I didn’t really need, and they would never hand me a crisp $20 if and when I needed to top off my gas tank. I learned to save money and only spend it on the really important things…at least things that I deem “important” (hello, every Miranda Lambert CD ever produced!).
Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I have definitely learned to prioritize what I spend my money on. During an especially difficult week, I might treat myself to a girl’s night out…or two…or three. It never breaks the bank, and it’s not a very common occurrence. I am now blessed to have my first job earning tips, which has definitely helped me in saving money for the big things in my life coming up.
For years, I have seen “money saving tips” on Pinterest and Facebook, like saving every $5 bill you get. (Is it just me or does anyone else NEVER notice when they happen to have a $5 bill?!). However, now when I get paid, I put my paycheck in the bank and that goes solely toward paying rent, bills, and any other “emergency” items. It doesn’t tend to go very far past those.
With my tips, however, I have made an unofficial rule that I will only spend my $1 and $5 bills. If I make any $10’s or $20’s, I put it in my piggy bank. I write on my little porcelain swine coin holder just what I am saving for, and that makes me even giddier to pop some more dollars in there when I have the chance. Just last month I was able to book a plane ticket to Africa to visit one of my brothers using the money I had stockpiled there!
Currently, I have a goal of buying a new vehicle (only because my beloved Jeep is rear-wheel-drive & I choose to live in a place that snowed over 500 inches last winter). I am keeping track of my dollars and cents and being stingy when it comes to things I don’t really need. I won’t drive myself crazy restricting what I can and can’t buy, but I make sure to keep an amount in mind that is off limits to “treating myself” with. Having this discipline has helped me realize how much of my disposable income I really do throw away on junk I don’t really utilize or appreciate in the long run. When I go to Kmart with my friends (don’t judge me, that is the closest thing to a Target in this town!), I refuse to buy the furry blanket with giant fuzzy balls on it, because I know I would rather have the truck I’m saving for in the long run.
All I’m saying is have some goals. We all have things we *HAVE* to save for, or spend our money on (along with Jackson’s astronomical rent, part of mine is hospital bills for colonoscopies I’ve had…three different places billing me for a procedure I had over 6 months ago = NOT FUN!) but, having something big to work towards is motivating, fun, and makes all the nights drinking water in a bar instead of your usual whiskey ginger completely worth it.
I never imagined having the ability to afford some of the things on my dream bucket-list. Life is short. The horrific news of the devastating Vegas shooting is a reminder of just that. You have to live for more than just paying bills. Life is meant to be lived full-throttle, not to be wasted fretting over a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. It involves balance, and finding a job that works for you (trust me, I’ve tried and had many different jobs before finding this one!) until you find a way to do what you love, with no excuses and nothing holding you back.
Treat yourself by saving up towards something big. I have a (tentative) five year plan outlined in my head on big purchases and things I plan on saving towards in the next coming years, which is huge considering I have a difficult time committing to an event taking place next week, but it is completely worth it.
If you don’t believe me, I’ll bet you 😉