As always, Penny has written another amazing post that I was so grateful to read. I highly recommend you read it, but to summarize, she came to the realization that her finances were good enough that she doesn’t need to worry all the time about an extra expense. She realized this all when she splurged on some fancy chocolate at the grocery store.
This was an excellent post to read after I shared my own thoughts on our current financial state in my most recent blog post. Like Penny, we are not officially FI (Financially Independent), but we’re doing well with good salaries and lots of savings. However, my post took on a more negative tone, focusing on what I might be doing wrong rather than what I’m doing right. I felt bad for not being on a real aggressive FIRE path, since these days every article I see seems to be about FIRE.
I also had a similar epiphany to Penny the other day. I shared it in a tweet:
Discovered I’ve already spent a lot on gifts for my husband and kids… and I kind of don’t care? Because we barely buy stuff during the year, and a lot of things are replacing worn out items or bigger sizes. This is why you save your money, so you can spend it when you want to.
— Stephanie (@StephTheBlogger) December 4, 2018
I had started doing some Christmas shopping and hadn’t been really paying attention to what I’d been spending. I usually have a budget in my head for spending on my parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, and my nephew (though it’s just a ballpark figure). But when it came to spending on my husband and kids, I just kept adding things to my cart (both online and in stores). Granted, part of it was me getting lured in by the sales (I’ve written before about my inability to resist Kohl’s sales). And I couldn’t help but grab small gifts for my daughter at the dollar store (she loves stickers!) So I had not thought about how much I was spending, I was more focused on what things I wanted to get for people. And this “not paying attention” happens and is feasible when you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of wiggle room in your budget. Yes, our expenses are still huge (mortgage and childcare) but since we’ve been saving aggressively for at least a decade, and we have good jobs, if we spend some savings once in a while, we’re going to still be okay.
I came to another realization the other day: our aggressive saving (and keeping expenses low) for a decade is what enabled us to feel comfortable right now. We’re like the FIRE folks, except instead of early retirement, our saving habits allowed us to be okay with the huge childcare expenses we’re dealing with early on. Childcare is temporary, and we know we can get back to a higher savings rate after they start school.
Have you ever read something that helped you gain a better perspective on your life? I’m so glad there are folks out there writing such insightful posts so I can think about things in a different way.