Saving vs. Spending – It’s a Personal Choice

posted by Andrea | 06/27/2012

I’ve had this post on my blog idea list for quite some time now, but I just didn’t know how I wanted to write it or what exactly I wanted to say.

The idea came to me a long time ago when I received a few emails from readers who apparently thought I was “too frugal” and “needed to enjoy life” a little more.

I brushed off the emails because I knew that we did {and still do} enjoy life — and I really wasn’t worried if others thought I was too frugal.

Over the months, I’ve received a few more comments and emails suggesting that we should “go out to eat more”, “travel more”, “not worry about clipping coupons”, etc. etc. But again, I just brushed them off.

So, when I started talking about our kitchen renovations, our new-to-us car, and our summer travels, I assumed these readers would be pleasantly surprised that we were FINALLY spending some of our money and “doing something fun”.

However, I then started to receive emails from readers who were shocked at how much money we would be “wasting” on a new kitchen, a new-to-us car, and vacations — all in such a short period of time.

Looks like I can’t win! 🙂

Don’t worry about me though — I’m not offended or upset by these comments and emails. I realize that they come with the territory of blogging… and I realize that these people can’t see the whole picture of our lives… so it’s really not a big deal.

But it does offer excellent content for this blog post!

photo source

I know that even in my own life, I have internally judged friends and family members for what they do and don’t spend money on. I do it without even thinking — and I suspect many of you do too!

I’ll automatically assume someone has lots of money because they drive a nice car — but maybe they just really like cars and that’s the ONE thing they’re willing to splurge on (or maybe they just have a big car payment!!)

Or I’ll assume someone is really “cheap” because they won’t spend money on a decent computer (because that is something that I would spend money on) but maybe they don’t need a nice computer and they choose to donate much of that money instead.

We all make choices for how to save and spend our money. Some of them are good choices, some of them might not be so great — but they are OUR choices; and honestly, I don’t think we should have to answer to anyone… especially not people who don’t know our specific financial situation.

Yes?

Here are a few of our financial choices:

SAVING: 

We always buy used vehicles.

We usually limit our vacations to visiting family or friends, or other inexpensive destinations.

We almost always use BOGO coupons at restaurants and usually get water to drink… we also only try to eat at locations that we have gift cards for.

We hardly spend ANY money on clothing (seriously, it’s almost ridiculous, but we both hate shopping). I’ve even gone an entire year without spending $1 on clothing! Our closet is plenty full.

We search Craigslist before we buy anything new… and you’d be amazed at some of the deals we’ve found!

I clip coupons, shop sales, and try to get rock-bottom prices for groceries (this is actually really fun for me!)

We rarely spend any money on entertainment — but rather rent movies to watch at home or do other free activities available in our area

I make my own cleaning products and hardly spend anything on toiletries or cosmetics.

We save a ton by borrowing baby things from friends and family (or buying them used).

SPENDING:

We spend a lot on home renovations. Yes, we still try to find the best deals and we do much of the work ourselves… but renovating an entire house adds up 🙂 Obviously, we knew this before we purchased our farmhouse — and this is one of the main reasons we choose to be so frugal in other areas of our life.

We have cable — granted, it’s basic cable, but it’s still a monthly expense we don’t NEED {although Dave might say we do}

We fully fund our retirement accounts every year. Since I own my own business, I don’t have any type of retirement account so this is really important for us too.

We plan to send our children to a Christian school so we’re already saving 🙂

We have nice phones, computers, and other electronic devices; partially because of my business, but also because we both use our phones and computers all day long.

photo source

These are just a few examples from our life… obviously I could go on and on. However, my point is that we all have things we’re willing to splurge on and we all have things we scrimp and save on — and that’s OK.

We have friends who take fancy vacations all the time… but they also don’t spend any money on home renovations.

We have other friends who always drive new cars… but they live in a smaller house and don’t do much traveling.

Then we have family and friends who spend a lot of money purchasing organic food, free-range meat, and other fair-trade products… as you can imagine, they don’t spend money going out to eat.

We have relatives who purchased a massive TV with surround sound and have all the channels you could possibly want, but they have a really old computer and still pay for dial-up internet.

I have a couple friends who splurge on manicures, pedicures, fancy spa treatments, expensive salon visits, and brandname clothing, but they live in small appartements and don’t spend much on furniture or decorations.

While these are not the things I would choose to save or spend money on, they aren’t necessarily bad… just different.

Dave and I were talking about this the other day. We had to laugh because some of the same people (friends/family) who give us a hard time about being so “cheap” are now the ones who have hinted that “maybe we shouldn’t be spending so much on our kitchen renovation”.

Sigh…

We really can’t win.

Have you ever been “judged” for saving or spending?

top image credit

67Shares

Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

Leave a comment

60 comments

  1. Truffles Magazine

    06/28/2012

    The most important thing to saving versus spending is taking X percent of your monthly income and putting that away for savings.

    As far as spending goes the portion of any monthly budget that is for spending (after savings is set aside) doesn’t matter where it goes. Spending money is spending whether its groceries, designer clothes, a car payment, mortgage, vacations, home renovations, private schooling, etc. Each person/family has different priorities that fit their life style.

    Ultimately where YOU spend YOUR money is up to you and Dave. There is always someone willing to judge or better yet give you some unsolicited advice. I don’t care where other people spend their money as long as I don’t have to listen to it and personally I will tell someone flat out well you can change where you spend your money. Obviously I am not going to tolerate listening to others complain about their foolish choices.

    From reading your blog I can tell this is something that not only you and Dave want but need (the kitchen reno) you spend a lot of time in that kitchen cooking, baking and canning so from a practical standpoint its a room you use and spend lots of time in so it makes sense to renovate it. On the other hand it may not make sense (if you have the money it doesn’t matter) if you were the couple who ate dinner out every night (I know I have friends who do and renovating their kitchen still stuck in the 70s) is of no importance to them because its a room they barely use.

    [Reply]

  2. Elizabeth

    06/28/2012

    Great post!!! Clearly what you’re experiencing is not a unique phenomena.

    We get “judged” a lot by our financial choices too. I guess to others they don’t make sense or they can’t understand how we do what we do cause they don’t see the whole picture.

    I stay home (but I worked for 10 years including a 1 year reassignment to a foreign country…talk about overtime!!!). We only buy new cars (but we don’t have any car payments and we keep them until they no longer roll down the hill). We have a home theater, an in-ground pool, an outdoor kitchen, etc etc (noone can see the blood, sweat and tears that went into making each one).

    And they definitely don’t see the little things we do that make a huge difference, I love to hit yard sales and thrift stores. Craigslist is my favorite site. I hit the bakery outlet and the day old bread aisle first. I cook almost all of our meals at home, from scratch and freeze the leftovers. I don’t use paper products (except toilet paper). It’s all small stuff but it adds up quite nicely into something wonderful….like that pool.

    Let them judge. I’m not in debt and I’m having a great life.

    [Reply]

  3. jerilyn

    06/28/2012

    SO true! We rarely travel! My husband and I like to do 1 weekend away together a year… otherwise we’ll drive to visit my inlaws and that’s it. We spend money on good shoes that’s something that’s important to us. I’m also not going to feed my family crap because good food is important to me so I spend a bit more on food. To each their own. I can’t believe people email you about that stuff!

    [Reply]

  4. Jen

    06/27/2012

    Thanks for sharing this post! We all judge each other and it’s hard not too. But we all spend money different ways, way to go for being so frugal! I think it’s great! Can’t wait to see your kitchen when it’s done : )

    [Reply]

  5. Andrea

    06/27/2012

    Andrea, I’m a relatively new visitor to your blog (I’ve been lurking for a while though :), and I can’t emphasize just how impressed I am with your tips and insights! I’m a full time graduate student, having recently left a teaching position, who needs to budget just a little bit better. How true it is that priorities differ based on personal choices and preferences.

    I’ve always considered organization to be my strong point, but your design suggestions are allowing me to do a complete overhaul of my living space. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  6. Rachel

    06/27/2012

    Thank you for this post. I have recently been frustrated about this exact topic because the complaining comes from my own family regarding how my husband and I spend our money. We choose to go without certain luxuries so that we can enjoy others. We also have the funding to provide for any home/auto repairs or medical expenses as they arise because of these savings. The constant criticism, though, can sometimes make me second guess the decisions we’ve made. Thank you for your encouragement to keep living the simple life!

    [Reply]

  7. Julie

    06/27/2012

    What a great post! My husband and I always buy used vehicles and in the past we have paid cash..no payment. However, my car (that I have had for 10 years and paid less than $7,000) recently broke down while we were out of town. We were at least a 100 miles from home and had to be towed which cost $400. Needless to say I am looking for another car and I will buy a used low mileage car again. The takeaway…I was able to pay the $400 towing bill and get my car fixed because I had no other debt other than my house and monthly bills which is good because…. that same week my bathroom flooded. We are having new tile installed this week and I am able to pay for that. I said all the above to say this….yes I can afford to buy a new car, but why? My friends and family do not understand why, but so what! 🙂 Being frugal is fun and it just makes sense to me!

    [Reply]

  8. Angela Ferguson

    06/27/2012

    You are doing nothing wrong of course, but judgment will always come as sure as the sun shines. You have “built” your home and set your foundation, now you are building out.. literally! Your home is your haven and the center for most and the comfort and convenience it provides SHOULD be a priority in my opinion.

    [Reply]

  9. Candis

    06/27/2012

    Hi there, my first post!  I found your website looking for different ways to be organized and ended up finding a blog that offers so much more. My financial situation is not the best to say the least. I am 30yrs and single. I have quite I a bit of debt, credit cards, a student loan that has not kicked that I did not need to take out but did. I said all that to say this, when I first started the blog I tired some of the things that you suggested the cleaning supplies the shampoo. And I started getting frustrated because I like the scent of some of the cleaners and I like the store bought shampoo. I felt guilty because I thought if I was serious about getting out of debit I would do what it takes and while that maybe true, I decided that I will cut back on buy lunch or wasting money at the grocery, planning meals, etc. And I will buy my $8.00 bottle of shampoo and $6.00 Dove soap every couple months. I realize I had to taken in the information and in the end choose what was best for me. I hope to report in a year or so that I am on my way to being debt free. Best regards.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m so glad to read this Candis! Totally fine if you want to splurge on your $8.00 bottle of shampoo or cleaners — I could think of much larger things you could splurge on 🙂 Also, the fact that you are actually working towards being debt-free is more than most people can say… keep it up!

    [Reply]

    Glenne Reply:

    I agree completely; if that bottle of shampoo or nice cake of soap prevents you from saying “this is just too hard, too much sacrifice” & then giving up, then it’s an investment in your savings! All of our caution and frugality needs to be balanced with the fact that our lives need some joy…we need to prepare for tomorrow but also live for the day. So again if that small outlay is enough to satisfy your need for pampering & indulgence then it’s good value and you should feel happy to buy it 🙂

    [Reply]

    Candis Reply:

    Thank you – it is a little daunting to get out of debt but I am committed to doing so.

    [Reply]

  10. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    06/27/2012

    Great post. How money is spent is definitely a personal issue, and unless it affects us directly, how someone spends their money is none of our business.

    My husband and I don’t travel but we do work on our house. My sister-in-law doesn’t spend money on our house but she travels. Like you said, we each have our priorities.

    [Reply]

  11. B

    06/27/2012

    Andrea, I too love your blog and appreciate so much your simplicity, sincerity and truthfulness in your writing and your life; it spells CHRISTIAN!! I admire how you and your husband have carefully used and spent your money, you are exactly doing what the Bible says and following His Word, that’s the whole point of life!! Sometimes when people “think” they know how and when you should spend your money, to me that spells JEALOUSY!! Keep doing what you are doing Andrea and at the same time loving it!! You’re on the right track!!! Amen, Amen!!!!

    [Reply]

  12. STH

    06/27/2012

    I have gotten flak from people for being frugal, just like I’ve gotten flak over eating healthy. I think there are those who want to make changes in their diets or spending habits but haven’t and it makes them uncomfortable seeing someone who has. My former supervisor always used to comment on the lunches I’d bring to work: “but doesn’t that take a lot of time to make?,” “isn’t it hard?” And she’d go out and spend too much on lunch, eat too much, and complain about her weight and that she didn’t have any money! See, here I am passing judgment on her choices now. 😉 I have a hard time being sympathetic toward people who fritter away all their money, then complain they don’t have any!

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    I think you hit the nail on the head there. Other people are uncomfortable because they see you doing what they know they should be doing but lack the willpower to do. That being said, I really don’t mind how people spend their hard earned money if they earned it. It’s the people who live on public assistance, free food, free med/dental yet they have the money for the latest technology, manicured nails, tattoos. I feel no ill will to those who truly need public assistance, but I would say that if you can’t afford to buy your own food, you can’t afford those other things either. And I speak from experience: my sister is one of those people.

    [Reply]

  13. Melissa Q

    06/27/2012

    Amen, amen, and amen!

    [Reply]

  14. PW

    06/27/2012

    People have different ways of spending money–what should be spent and how and for what is very individualistic. Even in our own household my husband spends $ on things I would never buy, and I spend $ on things he would not buy. Those are personal purchases and limited in $ spent. Who cares. We rarely go out to eat, but did splurge on a $120 dinner for the 2 of us, it was in a nice hotel when we traveled. That is a rare expenditure and we had many discussions about spending the $. The meal was not really worth it, but the time together in a nice restaurant with a nice glass of wine is a rarity for us. Maybe once a year. We prefer to eat at home, I can whip up a gourmet meal that rivals that restaurant. But I didn’t want to. We buy used cars and I took a 15 day vacation, and both of us will be taking another week vacation to Michigan soon. We save for these items, and don’t waste $ with take out food, junk we don’t use, cable tv and things like that. We need to re-do our kitchen but July 2011 our finished basement flooded, something that in 20 years has never happened and it was a $30,000 loss for us. $ we had set aside for our kitchen remodel. It will have to wait. Things happen, I advise spend $ on things you really want or need. For some people a weekly trip to McD’s is a good expenditure. For us we took that $ saved it up for an expensive restaurant.

    [Reply]

    Glenne Reply:

    And these choices change over time too. When my girls were little I worked full-time during the day and my husband was home with them. He then worked 2 or 3 evenings a week. Each Friday night my hubby had a night off making dinner and while he was at work I’d take our girls to the local Macca’s. Although now they’re adults they wouldn’t eat it, at the time it was a huge favorite treat. We’d sit outside in the playground after we’d eaten and they’d play, show off to me, and run back to tell me things, it was always a fun evening and time for just mum and the girls. It’s one of the many simple happy memories they have of childhood and though it’s money we didn’t have to spend it was something they looked forward to all week. We also are “homebodies” who apart from that always eat well, simply & at home, so there was no real harm done. My point is we wouldn’t spend money that way now but it was money well spent at that point in time & I would do exactly the same given that time over 🙂

    [Reply]

  15. Marina

    06/27/2012

    I like to refer to these personal choices as PRIORITIES. Everyone has their own and I feel everyone’s should be respected. The only issue I really have is when people constantly complain about being broke while they spend plenty of money… very frustrating, especially when I’m the friend or co-worker who they’re ranting to… but it all boils down to priorities in our lives.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Agreed. I usually don’t care how other spend their money — but I do get aggravated when I see them spending it foolishly and then have to listen to them complain about not having enough money.

    [Reply]

  16. Kristin

    06/27/2012

    Dave Ramsey says “Be weird, if your friends aren’t making fun of you then you’re doing it wrong”

    We live in a 100 year old house that needs massive renovations, but would cost way more than we can afford and its totally liveable as it is. We drive slightly used, but totally paid for cars. We’ve gone on one family vacation in 5 years. We choose to spend our time and money on activities for our kids, swimming lessons, pool memberships, dance, etc…some day those priorities may shift, but for now it works for us.

    [Reply]

  17. Starla

    06/27/2012

    I can so relate with this post. I’ve told my husband: “No matter what we do, there’s something wrong with it.” I’m not able to please everyone and frankly, I don’t NEED to!

    Have I been judged? Yes – even for buying brand-name cereal at good prices and good TP (which my hubby prefers instead of the thin stuff).

    Even in the small stuff, I find I need to respond with kindness and show Christ’s love to those who tend to rub me every way but the right way!

    Each of us have different priorities and find it important to save in different ways. I love to see when we can encourage each other to save or simplify in various areas and learn from each other instead of find fault.

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    I don’t care how cheap or frugal I am trying to be, I’ll only buy Charmin. Only the best for my babies tushies.

    [Reply]

    Minerva Reply:

    I grew up with the cheapest TP, and always tease my husband about all the money we could save if we stopped buying the cushy stuff 🙂

    [Reply]

  18. Peitra

    06/27/2012

    When someone pecks at my spending/saving choices (or any of my choices, for that matter!), my response is, “Everyone sets their priorities.”

    I think one can spend to a fault… and be frugal to a fault. My mother always uses the phrase “penny-wise, pound-foolish”- which I think makes a lot of sense. I am frugal in some areas, and not so frugal in others. Sometimes I’m brand-loyal, sometimes not. I don’t think I would ever buy a brand new car and you wouldn’t catch me ever leasing one. I like to buy good food for cooking (I’m a big fan of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma!) and just paid a pretty penny to refinish/reglue my dining room chairs. Like I said- Everyone sets their own priorities!

    [Reply]

  19. Kaui @ Thrifty Military Mommy

    06/27/2012

    I totally agree, and yes, I internally judge people about their spending habits without thinking. It seems everyone does it.

    We don’t eat out much, either, because we’d rather spend that money on renovating our house as well. Good for you guys!

    [Reply]

  20. Bedalia

    06/27/2012

    This is an important lesson for parents to share with their children.

    I am a student and a single mother of two teenagers so we’ve had to be especially mindful of our spending. When they see their friends doing or having things that we do not, I remind them that we have to spend within our means and make choices about what’s important to us. For example, we don’t have a car, because of both the cost and the environmental impact, but when my last laptop finally died I splurged on a MacBook Pro (I love it, not a moment of regret – I do nearly all my research, reading and writing on it and had at least four years of studying still ahead of me).

    I also remind my kids that all of those friends have two working parents, and in our house we live (mindfully but comfortably) on my scholarships. Also, we don’t know whether those families are paying in full or accumulating debt. Looks can be deceiving. Ultimately, we mustn’t be tempted to spend what we don’t have in order to keep up with people in different circumstances or who are living a life of debt.

    [Reply]

  21. Stel

    06/27/2012

    I wish there was a “Like” button – I would Like every post here.

    [Reply]

  22. Chris

    06/27/2012

    Yes, it is what is important to each family. We love to travel. We drive old cars. A trade off, essentially. I am not materialistic. I would rather have an “experience”, i.e., vacation, than have lots of “stuff” setting around my house. We do not go out to eat as much as others. We have been able to help several friends of ours going through tough times, many times throughout the years. Sometimes, I feel it is not wise to give cash and give groceries. I do feel that people think I am “cheap” sometimes but I do not think someone who is frugal and helps others is “cheap” 🙂

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Correction, “not wise to give cash and give groceries INSTEAD”.

    [Reply]

  23. Nem

    06/27/2012

    Thanks for posting this. It really encouraged me.

    We are about to buy our first home and have been saving for it. It is new construction, which is what we wanted since neither one of us are super handy, but I feel like we are getting criticism for buying new instead of the traditional “fixer-upper” first home. We are homebodies and rarely take vacations (and when we do it’s to see family). We rarely eat out. We rent movies at home or stream them in order to save money towards our dream of owning a home. This post really encouraged me to see that not everyone saves/spends on the same things. It just depends on what you prioritize as important for you to spend your money on.

    Really love your blog and continue to be encouraged by you.

    [Reply]

  24. Minerva

    06/27/2012

    My husband and I rarely eat meat, and we eat out even less frequently, but we have a music room full of north of $20K worth of instruments. It’s all about what is important to you. I’d rather have a house full of books, music, instruments, and kids than just about anything else. These choices make me look awfully spendy in some categories, and awfully cheap in others… and yes, sometimes I do find myself judging people who eat out a lot but say they can’t afford a piano 🙂
    when I buy my dream piano, most people will probably think I am totally spendthrift…
    so there you go! Everyone is different, is it any wonder that they spend money so differently?

    [Reply]

  25. Raquel

    06/27/2012

    Yes Yes! What matters is that your are spending your money the way you want. I love your frugal ideas & love this post! And I think you are a winner in my book! 🙂

    [Reply]

  26. Melissa

    06/27/2012

    Any time there are limited resources…like time, money, energy,etc individuals (and even societies) must make choices about how to dedicate those limited resources in such a way that the outcome is best for their situation. The whole field of economics is pretty much based on this basic concept. Of course ‘best’ use of resources is a subjective matter and going to be different for each person, family, or society. Any time you get into subjective valuations there are going to be people that judge those decisions because their values are different. I think those judgments are inevitable and perfectly okay. What’s wonderful is that we have so many choices that we can make about how to dedicate our limited resources. With so many choices available I think it’s a very good idea to stop and think about the use of those resources so they are used purposefully and really are used in the ‘best’ way for our individual situations.

    You may not be able to win in the court of public opinion, but I think you and Dave win in the fact that you make careful decisions and seem to be doing a great job at allocating your resources (time, money, etc) in such a way that is best for you two. That’s not always an easy thing to do so great job! 🙂

    [Reply]

  27. Kristine

    06/27/2012

    I have learned so much from you! I appreciate your openness about EVERYTHING…! I get nothing but inspiration from your site! I hope those comments improve! I tell everyone about you! We are also ones that dug into debt, REALLY deep, and have had to learn that hard lesson! Nothing is as rewarding as being able to make choices on how to spend your money! (AFTER that debt is paid!)

    [Reply]

  28. Stel

    06/27/2012

    Yes! Just got that!
    My husband is a mine consultant, so gets paid a lot, and that translates into driving good, newish cars – because he’s on the road half the day. He averages 300-400 km Per Day. And in South Africa we have to factor in poorer quality secondary roads and crime – once you’re stuck next to the road, so that’s something to be avoided. So he replaces our cars after 3 yrs or 100 000km (which comes quick).
    And then someone told me’ you guys have too much money’, because my car was replaced now. That’s not the point. We choose, like you said, on what to spend. She wants to take her kid to Antarctica, that’s her splurge, isn’t it?
    Interesting post 🙂

    [Reply]

  29. Alana @ Domestic Bliss Diaries

    06/27/2012

    It’s true: you can’t please everyone. But, really, when it’s YOUR money, it’s no one else’s business what you spend it on. You are right that people usually direct most of their money to one or two “categories” and are frugal in the rest. It all depends on what you value and/or what you feel like you need.

    Great post!

    [Reply]

  30. Alana @ Domestic Bliss Diaries

    06/27/2012

    It’s true: you can’t please everyone. But, really, when it’s YOUR money, it’s no one else’s business what you spend it on. You are right that people usually direct most of their money to one or two “categories” and are frugal in the rest. It all depends on what you value and/or what you feel like you need.

    Great post!

    [Reply]

  31. J

    06/27/2012

    My husband and I have been called cheap more than once. We rarely eat out. Our goal is get our home paid for as quickly as eating out. If we were eating out often I would not enjoy it since I would be thinking how the extra money could have gone on the principle.

    [Reply]

  32. Sandy

    06/27/2012

    Nicely said Andrea and commentators, too. We try to live financially by Dave Ramsey guidelines…. we save and pay cash. (We had bottomed out debt-wise and slowly worked our way out…one of the hardest, yet most worthwhile accomplishments or our lives.)
    Sometimes it takes a while to sacrifice and save to reach our goal, but it’s worth it. My husband and I are the only ones who know what sacrifices we make for the priorities we choose. Good thing God created us so wonderfully different.
    We work to 1] provide for our family and life, and 2] give to improve our community. We also try to budget our time wisely to enhance our family, life and community…… More choices I am sure others have plenty of opinions about 🙂

    [Reply]

  33. Stephanie

    06/27/2012

    We’re in the same boat as you! Our friends make fun of us because we don’t have cable or fancy electronics, but then they make snide comments about our fancy vacations, home renovations, and the expensive photographer I hired for our daughter’s newborn pictures. We work hard to live a debt free life and we prioritize how we spend our money. It’s hard not to judge others but I always try not to. You never know if your friends recieved a large inheritance or up to their eye balls in debt.

    [Reply]

  34. Nora@ The Dollar Holllering Homemaker

    06/27/2012

    We don’t go on vacation, have never been on our honeymoon and we get a lot of negative comments for it. But our big goal is to be debt free by the time my husband is 35 (7 years). We have 174,000 to go until our house and student loans are paid off. We still fund our retirement accounts (although not fully), and eat 80% organic food. Our life isn’t horrible because we don’t go on vacation, have cable, go out to eat, etc. We are incredibly blessed and I wouldn’t change much about our life if suddenly we were debt free. ..

    [Reply]

  35. Lee Cockrum

    06/27/2012

    This is such a great post! You have very eloquently articulated how I feel about money and spending. Your choices will be different from my choices, but as long as you are not asking me for money, or looking for a bail out, it is none of my business!!

    [Reply]

  36. Sarah

    06/27/2012

    I love this post. It is easy to judge others regarding how they spend money. I have to say that I’ve done it myself (although I keep these thoughts to myself). It’s basically about priorities. Some people want new cars every few years, some want to travel constantly,etc. My family has been fortunate enough to live rent free in a family owned home since we got married 5 years ago. It is a small, older home, but we knew what an advantage we would have living here. Granted we could have been out spending plenty, but decided to live well below our means so that we could save up to build our own home. We are about to break ground and we never would have been able to build what we are going to without the desire to save as much as possible, become debt free and live simply.

    I admire you for how you live your life and save/spend. You guys know what you want and work hard to achieve those goals.

    [Reply]

  37. Jen

    06/27/2012

    I think once you’ve been in debt (of the credit card variety), you know how awful it feels. We’ve worked very hard to get out of debt and no dinner or movie in the world is worth going back. Once our dining out and entertainment budget is gone for the week, it’s gone.

    [Reply]

  38. Suzi

    06/27/2012

    YES YES YES!!! My husband and I just bought our first car together. Like yours…New to Us! We live in Illinois where winters can be quite intense. I was still driving the little two-door car I had all the way through college that was a hand-me-down from my parents. I drive 51 miles one way to work (some on roads that never get plowed) It was TIME for an SUV for reliablitity. We have had a few friends make comments to us like…..”You pass up on going to dinner or for drinks with us all the time because of your budget…but you can buy a new car”. We are quite frugal people as well. For example…my husband has been picking peaches (for cash pay…I know…shady) from a local farmer so that he can buy a new weed-eater. We decided it wasn’t something we wanted to take $ out of savings for…so he working towards it! We pay large amounts each month towards student loans. But we knew we could afford a new vehicle because he just paid off two student loans…so our outflow of cash has not changed at all.

    I think with some of our friends its all about the amount of debt that are comfortable with. We are not comfortable with going out to dinner and having to charge it to a credit card because we paid our extra spending money towards a student loan that month!

    [Reply]

  39. Emily

    06/27/2012

    We enjoy nice things, and when we booked a trip to Europe last year, I had a lot of people “coincidentally” ask “what does your husband do for a living?” And I just have to laugh, because how we spend our money is really none of anyone’s business! We’ve been given looks for some of our spending choices, but I don’t feel the need to defend them. It’s our money, we work hard for it, we use lots of coupons and rewards points (have an ebay business, so we have credit cards with great rewards) so we can do the things we love!

    [Reply]

  40. Jen

    06/27/2012

    The audacity of some people never ceases to amaze me. A friend of mine turned me on to this quote: “When facts are few, experts are many.” So true.

    I have gotten so much out of your blog. It’s one of the first sites I visit each day. I feel like I have a good sense of your “voice” as a writer and your personality, too. But regardless of how many blog posts I may read, I cannot (no one can) really *know* you or your family, and therefore have no business offering up opinions on how you live your lives.

    What it looks like to me is that you and Dave have determined how your money can best improve your quality of life and built your financial profile around that. We try to do that, too. Our picture will look very different from yours, and Jim Bob’s, and Susie Q’s. But if the way you use your money helps you to live YOUR best life, then I think you’re doing it right. Random internet opinions be damned.

    thanks for sharing this. It made me mad for you, even though (like you said) I know that’s one of the hazards of blogging. Good for you for being in the position you are at such a young age. Clearly you’re doing something right.

    [Reply]