A few months ago after lunch at my mom’s, my husband and I spent an hour or so just cruising around the wider neighborhoods looking at houses. Except for the occasional territory disputes, the two of us been happy in our apartment and plan to live there for quite some time. A house though, is something that we’ve always talked about as a someday hazy goal – kind of like, “One day we’ll retire,” or “Someday all our furniture will match!”
Anyway, we thought it would be good to get an idea about the real estate market, and we stopped by a house that was not huge or new, but very charming, with a “for sale” sign out front. I grabbed the flyer, which had photos of the home, the description..and the ABSOLUTELY astronomical price. I used to think that if I ever lived in a house that cost that much, I would be part of an ensemble cast on a Bravo show scheming against Camille Grammer. It was a shock to discover the cost of our “dream” house.
Ever since that day though, my spending has gone down quite a bit. When I was single, I concentrated on saving a certain percentage of my paycheck, and when I got married that became how we looked at our household income too. I was satisfied with the percentage that we were putting away until I looked at that number in light of buying a home. And all of a sudden, our spending levels didn’t seem that great.
I’ve realized that for me, few things work better in encouraging responsible spending and saving than having a big specific goal – something that I can take up on my desk, write in my notebook, and post to the refrigerator. Right now, it’s being able to buy a home in the area we’d like, in a few years. With that goal in mind, it’s been easier for me to weigh the importance of purchases in my head, and to be able to say no (and the all important and fun YES!). It’s a very simple concept to many of you I’m sure, but it took me a very long time to realize.
With that said then…I’d love to hear – what motivates you to save? Are you all just responsible savers on your own, or do you need to dangle big carrots in front of the wheel, like I do? And if so, what are your goals?