Recently, my husband and I sat down and really discussed our dreams and where we wanted our lives to go in the future...I'm talking 3-10 years & beyond. We talked about wanting to renovate an old craftsman, drive out to see the Grand Canyon & the Painted Desert, adopt a couple kids (eventually), spend weeks in Ireland, Germany and Italy, attend Loi Krathong in Laos & the lantern festival in Thailand...
Now, I'm all for having dreams, but it never occurred to me that we would have to start making changes NOW to achieve those bucket list items. (That was for the future us to handle, right?! WRONG!) We realized that we needed to make some serious life & financial changes to get where we wanted to be...
Changes like purging lots of stuff and then purging lots more stuff.
Like taking our lunches to work every day changes.
Eating dinner at home at least 5 times a week changes (even if it's nothing fancy.)
Selling one of our cars changes.
Selling our house changes. YIKES!
Taking the hard look at what we were currently doing & realizing it would not work in the long haul rocked my boat big time. Many tears were shed (obviously only by me...he just grits his teeth.) The choices were simple - we could let life happen to us & continue to tread water financially, OR we could accept that endings are necessary for wonderful beginnings.
Side note: We understand there are more radical ways of 'starting over', and maybe in the future we will move to a more aggressive way of saving money and changing our lifestyle, but baby steps people...baby steps.
We started by letting go of the 'extras':
For him, it was cable tv & his daily snack run during his work break.
For me, it was minimizing shopping & the daily espresso splurge.
For both of us, it was eating dinner out several times a week. We like to consider ourselves "foodies" and love a good experience around fantastic food, but we were going out to eat at least 3 or more times a week & not considering how much money we were consuming.
We had to take action:
- I paired down shopping to once every 3 months & set out to be smarter about the purchases...Read about that process here. I didn't want to completely give shopping up all together, but it was obvious this was an area I struggled. The first big test I had was the Nordstrom Annual Sale. HELLO SELF RESTRAINT! (I really wanted that beautiful gray coat...wish I was joking about crying over something so silly.)
- We set a strict food/shopping/fun budget. This included eliminating coffee shop stops & other extras...we really, really enjoy our fancy crafted caffeinated creations, ice cream & movies so this was a monumental sacrifice for both of us.
- We called our cable company and went with the most basic package - we are still under a contract til Jan 2018, so that's ok for now.......but come January, BYE FELICIA! (evil laugh!!!)
- We signed up for Blue Apron - this has been so much FUN! We get to try so many different style meals, so it feels like we are getting that foodie experience, but all in the comfort of our home! (Some of you may argue that this is not the cheapest way to eat, but at $20/meal for two, that is a HUGE savings compared to what we were spending eating out 3+ times a week.)
Things yet to come:
Selling one of our vehicles. This will be a HUGE financial weight off our backs. No more payments & no more registration/insurance adds up quick! We ride to work together & pretty much everywhere else, so one vehicle will work for the most part...still trying to figure out the logistics...
And here's the big one...selling our house. (I started crying while typing this, so 'scuse me for a minute...)
This is our first home.
The home for which we prayed.
The home for which we saved.
The home in which we grew as a couple, started our small woodworking business, and the house we thought would shelter our future children.
This is the biggest of deals to us. We have yet to put it on the market, but plan to this coming spring/summer. We are praying it brings a buyer quickly & blesses a family as much as it has blessed us.
This is us taking chances. This is us being bold with our goals & dreaming big dreams that scare us, but having faith that our sacrifices will bring opportunity for those dreams to flourish in the future.
What are some of your dreams? What baby steps could you take to getting one step closer?