For each of us, there have been times when our money (or lack of it) has ruled our lives and put a stranglehold on our ambitions, adding daily stresses to our lives now, and sucking the life out of our future dreams.
On Frugal Beautiful, I want as many people as possible to live debt free and save for the future. I firmly believe in paying for everything in full and having the money in the bank so you can provide for the people you love. Being in debt, or simply, living in fear that you can even afford your living is no way to go through life.
I’m writing this blog post from Cloud 9, well, actually, from my home office, but the point is- I just returned from my first trip to Walt Disney World, ever, to run the Princess Half Marathon. Not only did I get to experience this world class event, and take a great vacation, but I got to spend it with the man I love, after 3 months of living apart in a long distance relationship.
When my boyfriend and I first started dating, we knew I would be moving to California- we didn’t know where the relationship would lead or how long we’d be “dating long distance,” but decided to plan for a vacation in February to run the Princess Half Marathon together. At the time, when we sat down and did the math, I was overwhelmed, frightened and a bit sick to my stomach. I had just graduated with my M.A., so student loan payments were due, I was still looking for full time employment and the trip itself would cost about $1,300 in total. I had the money in the bank to pay for the race registrations, but knew I would have to save up, penny by penny to get the rest of the cash to make this trip happen.
Six months ago, I felt totally out of control with my money, but I was committed to regaining control of both my money, and my life. Each week, I took on side hustle projects, put a few dollars in the bank towards the trip and of course, schemed about the amazing fun we would have. I knew that by the time I arrived in Orlando, I would have the trip PAID FOR so that I could be fully present and not be stressed about paying for it all.
If you’ve ever been lying about your money or secretly in debt, you know how hard it can be to really enjoy what you’re spending your money on! In my heart, I knew that relying on my boyfriend to foot the bill, borrowing from family or hiding behind a credit card would not be an option. I wanted this trip to feel 100% authentic and needed to feel totally at ease when I arrived.
Of course, even with the frugal hacks I used and the money saving tactics, there were times I felt totally guilty when buying an overpriced chocolate dipped strawberry or treating my boyfriend to an ice cold (gasp, $8) beer when we “could have” held back- but I felt free and confident to splurge knowing that I had earned this moment, and I had saved for it.
Too many of us are hiding behind our debts or we are living a lifestyle that’s a lie since we can’t afford it. We live in an instant gratification society, but taking the time to savor, afford and enjoy what we spend our money on makes it so much more worthwhile.
At Walt Disney World, I did some shopping. Stuffed animals, Mickey ears, candy & more overpriced goodies than I care to admit. We splurged on fancy dinners and noshed on french desserts- we were overindulgent and instantly gratified, but honestly, there was nothing “instant” about it. I saved for months for this trip, and while it’s over, I’m still riding the high since I know that when the credit card payment comes due, I can pay it off!
For my amazing readers, I wish this for each of you. Dream big, make plans, save often and live debt free. Knowing that you can overindulge while still living a life in balance with the people you love is the most authentic way to rule your money without it ruling you!
For me, six months ago- traveling to Walt Disney World seemed like a ridiculous dream for a fresh grad student on a tight budget, but I knew that if I could work at it, bit by bit, even the crazy dream of doing a week in Orlando could become a reality.
Every time I put away $5 or $10 to hit that savings goal for the trip, I imagined the dream coming true- spending time with my own Prince Charming at the Princess Half Marathon! Trust me readers, making a few shopping sacrifices here and there for a big picture goal is so worth it, and even if your goal is to scuba dive in Hawaii or remodel your kitchen, you can do it!
So, what’s your crazy big dream?
Have you ever saved for a big goal, how did you do it?