The “Savings Rabbit Hole”
My husband and I have gone down the “savings rabbit hole” as I like to call it. We started getting more serious about our finances 4 years ago and have been looking for more and more ways to achieve our goal of financial freedom. We were really responsible before that, and had managed to stay out of debt (except for our home), but we weren’t saving much each month; and we knew one hardship would sink us. So we cracked down, and we started writing all our expenses down. And we worked together to find more ways to tighten things up.
In these last four years we have managed to save over $25,000, paid extra on our house, taken some amazing vacations with our kiddos, and remodeled our kitchen. The best thing is we are projected to save even more in the next 4 years because each year we have become a little better and tightening down. We don’t have the latest toys, and we make do with only one car; but the reward has been amazing!
It’s a Mindset
Reflecting back on the biggest change that’s taken place, it doesn’t come down to a list of the do’s and do not’s (but believe me, we have plenty!); it really comes down to a mindset. This last weekend we decided we wanted to decorate and upgrade our girls’ room. It tends to get messy quickly with 3 of them in there (and I mean really messy), so we decided we needed some better storage solutions for their toys.
I found so many fun ideas online, and I was ready to raid the storage section of Ikea, but I realized it would push things way beyond the budget we had set. I was bummed, but I knew we had to do something to help the problem.
So instead, we were able to use some shelves already hung in their room. We just spread them out. I purchased storage containers from the dollar store, and the results are amazing! It turned out way better than I had originally envisioned because I was willing to break away from the pretty picture I saw on the internet and look for a more creative solution. As a bonus the entire project cost only $22.
We also wanted to paint each of our kids’ mini rooms (their room is designed with little storage rooms off the main area that we have make into a “mini room” for each of them), but we didn’t want to spend too much.
We remembered that a neighbor had given us a few cans of paint she no longer needed. They weren’t quite the right colors, so we mixed some white paint we had in with it, and we had exactly what we needed.
I realize we were lucky to have the paint, but our past selves would have gone to the store to pick out the exact color we wanted without thinking about what we could do to bring the cost down. It’s the mindset that made the biggest difference.
The Biggest Thing I’ve Learned…
Over the years as we’ve rearranged our priorities, and we’ve changed the way we think about money, the money saving solutions come more naturally–it’s almost second nature.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is to keep a very open mind. Sometimes I can get stuck on the way I think something should look, when I should really try to look for many solutions and settle on the best one that fits in my budget (or in some cases save up for what I really want). This is really what the savings mindset is all about.