And yet, a lot of our favorite memories as a couple come from the time when we were just starting out + spending as little money as possible. We still found ways to enjoy an 8 inch pizza in the park + occasionally to even split a favorite candy bar for dessert. I still remember the first time we split a slurpie from 7-11 on an especially hot Denver day, and it tasted like heaven. It may not have been possible for us to have a slurpie every day, but that one was worth every penny. :)
These days some of our main goals include:
- prioritizing generosity
- maintaining our buffer
- paying off our mortgage
- dreaming (+ saving toward a dream or two)
- enjoying life
We have recently begun having monthly conversations about our spending, expenses + budget. And we've been discussing our dreams + what "enjoying life" means to us. What fun!
It's pretty cool to note that even though we have a little more income now, most of what it means to us to enjoy life involves things like: not having to worry about scarcity + enjoying the simple things right where we are together. I'm so grateful we learned the goodness of that lesson early on!
It's also been meaningful to me to plan a few enjoyable things into our budget. For example, eating out is a real treat for us...but I can still feel guilty about the extra expense (which puts a damper on the whole experience). When we decide that we are going to budget for eating out every so often (+ stick to that schedule), it alleviates that guilt + gives us something to anticipate. Instead of constantly thinking, "I wish we could eat out tonight" (+ feeling deprived)...we look forward to eating out on Friday + enjoy our other meals too. We draw out the anticipation (+ enhance the joy experienced) by discussing where we'll eat during the week + texting about it during the day on Friday.
It's nice to have a little extra wiggle room in our budget now, but it still takes intention + attention to stay within the limits we've set for our spending.
A few of the tools we use to stay on track include:
- embracing "enough"!!!
- anticipating + scheduling expenses
- practicing discipline
- remembering our priorities
This year has not been kind to us. We've made some whoppers of mistakes + we've made some really good choices too. Budgets take work + commitment + discipline...but they can also offer boundaries + direction + opportunity. Opportunities for collaboration + harmony. The opportunity to recognize the inherent goodness of simple pleasures + the potent beauty of enough.