Today is my mom’s 64th birthday. As financial role models go, it doesn’t get much better than my parents. They are both newly retired and have been debt free for years. They have a substantial savings, money in stocks, bonds and retirement accounts. They are smart with their money. They also buy the things they want. Fortunately they don’t want much. They RV travel and that is their major expense. They eat at home (or in the RV) don’t shop for extras and wear out their items.
They take care of their things.
For me that has made all the difference in my view of money and the world. I don’t and have never had the keep up with the Jones’s mentality. I don’t buy the most expensive items, but I buy well-made items. I buy quality clothing for my girls so it holds up through 4 of them. I have found Gymboree to be the best kids clothing out there. Gap and Lands’ End had quality materials in the early 2000’s, but within the past 4 years the quality has tanked. T-shirts are paper thin and jeans wear out. Lands’ End still has the best kids swimwear, and I got a swimsuit there 5 years ago for myself and it looks brand new today. It was expensive, but I waited for the end of summer sale and got it for 30% off. Totally worth the price.
My house is furnished with furniture from relatives or the thrift store. I scour pinterest and decorating blogs for ideas. I paint, sand, stain and my furniture looks great. I am currently working on a dresser and will post pics this weekend, I hope 🙂
We do have some debt. We owe $26000 in student loans. We owe $266000 on our mortgage. I pay significantly more than the minimum payment due each month. I also have a system that works for me. I’ve never seen it on any blog or read it anywhere, but that doesn’t mean I invented it. Here’s what I do……
We had 2 wedding to go to this month. I had nothing to wear. I had money for a dress and wanted something cute and practical. I shopped around and found this:
So cute right??!! I almost bought it several times. It’s still in my cart on their website. I love it!! Instead of buying the dress, I called my BFF (who is my same dress size and would be same everything size if I wasn’t an amazon, seriously) she brought 5 dresses over for me to try. I wore a grey and yellow striped strapless dress, with bright green peeking out from under the full skirt. ADORBS!! AND free. So I took the $160 I almost spent and put it on the student loan.
Another example. I wanted this pair of shoes soooooo bad!
They are so cute and comfy looking!! I looked in my closet and realized I have 3 pairs of flip flops, a pair of ballet flats, and a super comfy pair of moccasins, no dressy sandals. So I went to target and bought these instead.
So I put another $100 towards the student loan. Both those payments are on top of the payment I normally make. We got an overage check from our escrow account this year. That went to student loans. We overpaid the hospital and got a refund check, that went to the student loans. So far this year we have paid off my $13200 loan completely and one of Trav’s (the hubs) loans for $24000. That does include getting a huge chunk of change when we sold our old house.
I think you get the picture. Any extra money towards debt. I curb my impulses long enough to find another way to get what I think I need and put the money towards debt. Every time I go to the store with coupons, I put the money I saved towards debt. Dollar by dollar we are paying it down… Slow and steady wins the race!