I’ve been known to call myself a cheapskate from time to time. One friend says nope. I’m just frugal. I’m not sure either description is one-hundred percent accurate though. It just depends on the situation.
When the kids were small and there was never enough money to do everything I wanted, it didn’t take long to figure out how to manipulate my income so it stretched a little further. That sounds terrible but what it really means is that if I could bring myself to choke down hot dogs or tuna and noodles a few times a month – instead of expensive steaks or roasts (or dining out) – I could save quite a bit of cash for things we really enjoyed.
If I just lived on a budget and was willing to cook from scratch or make things that are far from my favorites. Fortunately, the two examples above are some of my son’s favorite foods – my daughter’s … not so much. So it took a lot of creativity, and a lot of compromising, but we did it. And it paid off too.
The above quote expresses my opinion of a budget perfectly in that it’s totally worth it to cut back in some areas in order to have more for others.
Instead of the immediate gratification of a thick, juicy, char-broiled steak (swoon!), forcing myself to eat tuna and noodles, saving that ten or twenty bucks, added it to whatever I saved by having hot dogs in the same week – along with spaghetti or goulash another night – amounts to some significant savings over several weeks time.
And it could mean the difference between being stuck at home for yet another weekend – or taking off for a couple of nights on a mini-vacation.
What do my kids remember most? The fact that we had fewer ‘fancy’ meals – or the flying weekend trip to Mackinaw City, Whitefish Point, and Sault Saint Marie?
I’m banking on the trip. Why? Because they knew, same as me, that we sacrificed here and there to make it happen. We willingly chose to stop spending money on things we didn’t really miss in order to do something out of the ordinary. Something exciting and loads of fun. And living within a budget made it happen.
I read once that even though a year feels like forever when you’re a kid, those same three-hundred and sixty-five days fly by when you’re an adult.
Why? Because when we’re kids, we’re always looking forward to something. Let me say that again…
Santa, the Easter Bunny, Christmas vacation, summer vacation, the vacation at the lake, the reunion, what we’ll dress up like for Halloween… The list is endless.
What do we look forward to as an adult? Our jobs. Cleaning the house, doing the laundry, finding a parking spot that’s not two miles from the store entrance – and then doing it all again next week, and the week after that, and the week after that.
The solution for time flying, the writer of the article claimed, is to start planning things that get us excited again. Not necessarily a long vacation or an expensive concert, but something that excites us. Something that makes us want to start crossing days off the calendar.
And you know what? I agree!
Photo Credit: Morguefile.com