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 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