Saving money isn’t just about money.

Nothing lights a fire under my butt financially than spending time with Ernie Halter.

I talk about Ernie and his wonderful family a whole freaking lot. The Halters have changed my life in so many ways, and one of the ways Ernie has really influenced me the past few years is by encouraging me to be smart(er) with my money.

For the past few years he’s talked about managing your money and I’ve listened and thought about it, but it wasn’t until earlier this year when I was slowly sinking to rock bottom that I realized it was time to put into practice all that I’d been soaking up.

Here’s what happened, #longstoryshort version. I met a boy who owned a coffee shop. I loved the coffee shop and kinda had a crush on him. Then we dated for a little bit, and then he shut me out of his life in a really overdramatic, immature, and incredibly painful way. and then I had to drive past the exit to his coffee shop, the one I visited 3 or 4 times a week EVERY SINGLE DAY. and you know what I wanted to do? Keep driving. I wanted to drive and never stop and get as far the heck away from that exit, that coffee stand, and that human being as I possibly could.

But I couldn’t, because #carpayment. and #dentalcredit and #creditcard. I had roughly -$24,000 to my name. and that moment is when I realized what Ernie verbalized last week:

Money = freedom.

Saving money isn't just about saving money // stephanieorefice.net

Saving money isn’t about being a hoarder or about having more money than the person next to you just to say you do. It’s about knowing that if your car broke down tomorrow, you’d have enough in a savings account to cover the repairs (or even buy a new one in cash). It’s knowing that you’ve been preparing for your future so that one day you’ll have the freedom to retire. Seeing the end of the light on your mortgage payment. Daring to quit your job to pursue your dreams because you’ve been responsible and have created a safety net.

It’s easy, in the moment, to feel like freedom means “I can buy this $30 scarf in two colors because I work hard and pay my bills on time,” but is freedom about doing what you want when you want, or is freedom what happens when you reach a point where something in your life needs to give and you can choose anything you want without the worry of finances and how you earn the money to live?

I’m not anywhere near perfect in the way I deal with money. As a matter of fact, my debt repayment journey has been experiencing radio silence because I’ve been struggling with it a lot. But each conversation I have about the heart behind repaying debt – each time I tell someone my secret dreams of being self-sufficient (my blog? ebooks? other? professional traveling dish washer/babysitter? any ideas?), I stir up the determination pool of my heart and I am quicker to hard pass on the dollar section at Target.

Buying two cute, polka dotted pens and a basket I don’t need and all the cute notebooks and pens and coffee mugs has a weird sense of freedom… like “hey I’m a grown up, I have a job and I do whatever the bleep I want,” but then every month I send 1/3 of my paycheck to Toyota Financial and I pay $20 in interest fees on my credit card each month and I don’t have much saved or invested. So how free am I, really?

As we enter the new year and you re-visit financial goals, remember that being able to freely spend $30 whenever you feel like it isn’t real freedom if you’re chained down to $800 in payments each month. And for what it’s worth, being free of those $800 monthly payments isn’t so that you can buy all the things at Target. That financial liberation should birth and give way to saving so that you will never have to be anyone’s slave. Prepare for that now so that you don’t go crazy later, because having money isn’t about money. Having money is about investing in freedom by saving it.

 

 

Share:

9 Comments

  1. December 14, 2015 / 8:59 am

    Yessss this is awesome. Although I am definitely guilty of buying clothes. But I’ve been thinking about it lately, especially since we just bought our first car on Saturday…I need to stop. If I’m going to spend money on things that aren’t necessities, I’d rather it be experiences, like getting coffee with Stephanie, or going on a date with Michael, etc. I have enough clothes for now.

    • December 22, 2015 / 10:21 pm

      clothes are my biggest weakness, too. i love the entire experience of buying clothes and wearing clothes and everything. ugh. the struggle.

  2. December 14, 2015 / 9:33 am

    Oh my gosh, yes! I’ve been struggling with debt repayment and student loans and all this stuff and it feels so good to start seeing progress that it can be tempting to do something stupid like splurge, but self control is worth it in the long run because I want the things that you’re talking about!

    • December 22, 2015 / 10:22 pm

      YES! i think it’s easy to say something like “it’s only $24,” but if you think “this $24 is 1/5th of a payment, and 5 months of an extra $24 cuts an entire month off of my debt” or something… suddenly it’s a lot more than just a random $24, you know? so hard. it’s so much about your brain. FREEDOM IS ON THE HORIZON, THOUGH!

  3. Jasmine @makingrestorations
    December 14, 2015 / 10:15 am

    We never fell into the credit card debt hole but I do have student loans so I understand. It’s not fun having that monster on your back. It’s hard to get out of just buying what you want bc our society encourages us to spend spend spend even when we don’t have the money to do so. We budget every dollar from groceries to toilet paper, which helps big time. I love seeing other peoples debt journeys (it’s a process).
    http://makingrestorations.blogspot.com

  4. Bailey
    December 14, 2015 / 10:28 am

    YES! I am slaving away so hard (this week I work 65 hours!) to pay off that dang credit card!

  5. December 14, 2015 / 10:37 am

    I love that last line so much. I’ve struggled for …always.. to save. I don’t think I’ve ever done it successfully! But Justin is a HUGE saver, and really encourages me to put some aside.

  6. December 14, 2015 / 3:33 pm

    preach!!!

    “Daring to quit your job to pursue your dreams because you’ve been responsible and have created a safety net.” yes yes yes… praying this is a reality in my life sooooon 🙂

  7. December 14, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    It would be so freeing to be completely out of debt! I love reading posts about other’s financial situations because it motivates me to save more. Good luck on your journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.