Living within your means is a journey, not a destination. When we began our living within our means journey, we thought that “living within our means” was something we would be able to reach – like nirvana, or something – and never look back.
But that’s just not the case.
I want to dispel a few myths about living without your means, and while everyone’s version of living within their means might be different, I think knowing that everyone struggles is half the battle in being ok with where you’re at financially.
You Will Fight – Sometimes A Lot
In most relationships, ours in particular, one spouse handles the money more so than the other. And that’s fine, except that it causes fights, especially with regard to large purchases.
Case in point: The $2,300 bike.
The hubs is big into road cycling. He does at least a race a month, rides a couple times a week with friends, rides a $2,300 bike that we got for $500 off of Craigslist. Very cool…. But one morning, on his way down to drill (with the National Guard) he didn’t strap the bike down correctly and it disappeared. No pieces on the side of the road….nothing.
I was livid.
Sure, he didn’t mean to lose the bike, but replacing it would cost us a cool $2,300. We scoured Craigslist for another deal, but since the hubs is so tall, he needs a bike that is bigger than we could find. The bike he had before had been a once a year find, apparently. But since he had a 100-mile race coming up that we had already paid the $75 entrance fee for, and that he had been training for, we pulled money out of savings and bought him a $900 base-model Trek, planning to upgrade the extras one at a time, as we had the money.
A week later, he tells me he’s not doing the race.
And I was living all over again.
I’ll spare you the details, but the fight lasted a couple of weeks and was not pretty. If I’m being honest, I’m still not happy about it. I’ve just become resigned.
All of this is to say that the $900 bike was within our means, and yet it still caused a fight. But it would have caused a bigger fight had it been outside of our means. [Read More…]