Thanks everyone for the great feedback on my new blog layout! Glad you love it!
Yesterday I wrote about how I’d managed to save $27,700 in 2014. It’s very a tough year, budget-wise, but I’m happy I did it. One of the comments asked me a very interesting question, which is what have I sacrificed this year to reach my savings goals, and my first though was “a lot”.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this both was and wasn’t true. I did sacrifice a lot of little purchases to be able to save up this amount of money. I didn’t buy a lot of things I wanted to, I didn’t get hair cuts, or buy shaving cream or candles, and I had to work many extra hours that could’ve been spent with family or on healthy habits like exercising. Saving this much money definitely required sacrifices.
On the other hand, when I look back over the year, I realize that I’ve had a really good year of life experiences and I did buy a few key items that have made my life a lot more easy and enjoyable. Instead of focusing on all of the things and experiences I couldn’t have because of my restrictive budget, I’m choosing to focus on the things that I still managed to acquire and experience even though I was saving 40% of my income. Here are the highlights of what I was able to spend my money on this year:
- Paris (duh)
- New Orleans
- 3 days at a cottage
- A new bike
- An ecollar for Molly
- Three obedience courses and one Canine Good Neighbour certification for Molly
That’s not a short list, and none of those items were cheap. Every item on that list added a significant amount of enjoyment to my life, and I don’t regret those purchases for one second. So instead of thinking of everything I’ve given up this year, I’m happy that I was able to save as much as I did, while still buying each of these items.
Sacrificing for Savings in 2015 – What Will I Do Differently?
One thing I am absolutely planning on doing differently in 2015 is planning my spending better. With the exception of the two trips at the top of that list, every single one of those expenditures was an impulse buy on my part. This means I saw a good deal on the item, impulsively made the decision to buy it, and then had to raid different savings accounts to pay for it. This tells me that I need to build in a little more planned spending into my budget, because that feeling of happiness mixed with guilt when I make the purchase is not near as nice as the pure happiness of making a purchase when I already have the money in the bank.
So, in 2015 I’m going to plan to spend money, and I already have an idea of what I’ll be spending it on: furniture. I’m moving to Halifax in January and I think it’s finally time to spend some money on some real furniture. Part of the reason I’ve been able to pay off so much debt and saved so much money is because I still live like a student in many ways – including the quality of the furniture that is in my home. Now, I’m still a minimalist and I’m not going to fill my new place with knick knacks, and I’m still frugal and I’m not going to drop $2,000 on a couch from West Elm. I’m going to be careful and calculated with my furniture purchases, but I’m also going to designate a generous amount to spend in 2015, because it’s time to get some grown up stuff in my home.
There’s no doubt about it, saving aggressively requires sacrifice. How much sacrifice is entirely up to you.