Can’t Buy Me Love

by Krantcents · 16 comments

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Living within your means; four little words to live by.  I look back and think how did I get to where I am today?

I married very young the first time; I was 20. My first husband and I met when I was in college. We both worked full-time and ran a landscaping business. We owned our first home before my 21st birthday, went out to dinner almost every night, had 2 brand new cars, a boat, a motorcycle and I was miserable.

It sounds cliché but money can’t buy happiness. We worked hard and played hard and seemed to have it all but deep down those material things didn’t mean much.

Armed with a few years (ok more than a few but who is counting?) under my belt and a little financial savvy I hope to create a comfortable, affordable, and loving home with my son.

The Three C’s of Financial Contentment

I am at a different place in my life, my priorities have changed, and I realized I can be happy with much less. By understanding the three C’s of financial contentment, you can live large — regardless of the size of your budget.

Choose what matters most.

If you can’t have it all, discover what is most important to you and be creative. For example: If you like renting movies but can’t afford the $6/night rental fee-find a Redbox near you and rent the same movie for $1/ night! Enjoy going to fancy restaurants but can’t afford the $35/plate-visit restaurant.com and purchase $25 gift certificates for as little as $2.

Cherish what you have.

When your neighbor pulls up in his new Cadillac Escalade wearing Armani it is tough not to be envious, right? Look in your child’s eyes as they discover the magic of the holidays by taking a car ride around your neighborhood to see Christmas lights. Watch your child as they drift off to sleep in their warm bed. Know that these moments are worth more than that new car or fancy clothes.

Commit to a budget.

I have made creating a budget a priority. A budget lets you know where you are and makes it easier when trying to save for a major purchase like-a home, car, or appliance. Having a goal and a budget helps keep you on track.

If you are having trouble creating a budget, are looking for perspective or need tips on spending and saving; consider contacting a credit counseling service to help you get back on track.

Money Saving Tips

Following these 3 C’s will help to keep your family and finances in harmony. Here are some money-saving tips to get you started.

  • Dine in instead of out. Forget going out to eat with friends. Plan a potluck party or host sandwich night (everyone brings their own sandwich) You can play board games or cards and enjoy relaxing with friends.
  • Buy and sell used items online. When we moved recently we had a lot of extra stuff we no longer needed. We earned some cash and reduced clutter by selling off the extras. Need a new dining room table? Consider checking out your local Craigslist
  • Exercise on a budget. Exercise is important to our family and going to the gym is entertainment. Research local gyms in your area for family discounts-make sure they have activities for the kids while you workout.

Choose, cherish, and commit, your level of financial contentment will depend on your mindset. I choose to put my family first, cherish those little moments, and create a budget our family can live with.

Struggling with debt can cause even the content to worry about their finances. By seeking debt relief you may be able to put it all back into perspective.

Suzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor for CareOne Debt Relief Services and is a Social Media Specialist. Suzanne supports our Ask the Expert forums as a coach and writes for our A Straight Talk on Debt and Divorce, Debt and Finances blogs. You can also follow Suzanne on Twitter where she shares the latest debt industry news, and tips to keep your finances in check.

Photo by:  Aunt Owwee

Carnivals:

Yakezie Carnival at 101 Centavos
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Carnival of Retirement at My Retirement Blog

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{ 16 comments }

Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple February 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

These are all great tips. Once our basic needs for shelter, safety and food are taken care of, more money definitely doesn’t make us happier.

Krantcents February 16, 2012 at 8:17 am

Lack of money will always make you unhappy! The question is always what is enough? I know what surveys say, but they cannot control how you spend your money. I know I can live on less because of my expenses are very low. People who racked up debt, have a lot of kids and live a lavish lifestyle require much more. It is all about choices.

Christa February 16, 2012 at 8:45 am

Great tips, Suzanne! Glad you are happy on less now. It’s amazing how a little perspective can make a different lifestyle so much more preferable!

Krantcents February 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Living well on less is not that hard, it just requires a change in perspective. It helps if you do not have debt because frees up cash to live better on less.

canadianbudgetbinder February 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

Great Post,
I know exactly what you are talking about, been there done that. Money can’t buy you love is 100% the truth. Budgeting was our priority and getting life under control. Eating out we hardly ever do, exercise is free at home-check. You don’t need to own all the fancy gadgets and the upgraded drive or renovations. All you need is to be happy with where you are at and where you are headed. I gave up caring about what anyone else had and put my family first!

Krantcents February 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I live a rather low profile lifestyle and I am perfectly happy. It helps that I downsized 14 years ago, no childrren at home and no debt except for a small mortgage.

Jason February 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Great post!

It’s a tough thing to learn and most of us learn it through hardship: the opinion of needs and wants varies by social class, however the definition needs little interpretation.

Prioritize, be content and be thankful, and have a plan.

…love it. Good stuff!

Krantcents February 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

You are right! I have a very good life without debt (except small mortgage), modestly spending according to a budget and saving for the future.

Kris @ Everyday Tips February 17, 2012 at 5:59 am

Great tips that ring very true. I cooked a huge dinner last night for the family, and it was a nicer experience than you get (usually) in a restaurant. Plus, I actually knew all the ingredients I was putting in to the meal!

Krantcents, when I started reading this post I was thinking “wait, I thought KC was male… I didn’t know he was divorced…” Then I saw the guest post at the bottom and the world seemed correct again. :)

Krantcents February 17, 2012 at 6:38 am

Some of my favorite times were when we got together either as a family for dinner or individually and just talked, laughed or told stories.

Since I do not allow a lot of guest posts, it can be confusing. All is well!

Don February 17, 2012 at 6:28 am

Great tips, thanks for sharing your story.

I think it certain takes more than money, but if you have the right spouse, it can help :)

Krantcents February 17, 2012 at 6:39 am

Money never made me happy, however lack of it makes me very unhappy. My best times in life had nothing to do with money. There were simple experiences with my family.

Ella February 19, 2012 at 12:15 am

That is so true. Money can’t buy happiness but lack of money is definitely something that can make you unhappy too!

Krantcents February 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

I have often said your comment! There is a balance between what is needed and what is earned. Always spend less than you earn.

Invest It Wisely February 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Some people say to live in the present, others say to build for the future. I believe in maximizing both. A little bit of envy is normal when we see our neighbour’s nice car, but the key is to use that energy for good and to improve our lives. Neat post. :)

Krantcents February 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Good points! Using a situation to help motivate you is a positive way to handle it. Turning a negative into action is always good.

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