Sacrificing for Goals

Jumpsuit: VICI (sold out, similar, hi, low) / Tote: Bloomingdales / Sandals: Splendid

There are so many perks to getting older – having money to do things, and not being poor. And by poor, I mean remember those days when spending $30 on pressed powder seemed insane, or even $80 on a top when you could easily shop at Charlotte Russe and get an entire outfit with shoes and accessories plus pajamas for that night for that price.

I think it’s because we are pushed into the real world with nothing, or at least not much and starting from scratch. Some of us start more ahead than others but we slowly try to build up good furniture, realize our shopping habits (good and bad) and if we invest in items we don’t need to replace, we can continue to save up for better items and that’s how the ball starts to roll. (If you are in debt, check out this review I did on a book by Dave Ramsey’s daughter about loving your life, and not theirs) Of course being an adult isn’t all fun and games, there’s the responsibility of retirement and that’s what’s been on our mind lately.

Or should I say, Mr. Wonderful’s mind.

Who wants to think about retirement? Not me. One of my longtime girlfriends Emily and I caught up when I was in LA for a workshop and she mentioned how a million dollars isn’t enough for retirement nowadays. I almost choked on my breakfast and I nodded pretending I agreed. WHAT. She’s wise, she’s probably right.

Not sure if I had mentioned it to Benjamin or if he came up with the same notion a few months later but now we’re on this kick that we need to seriously think about retirement. Oh adulting.

I remember trying budgets many times and it was horrible. It felt like a life sentence of no fun and instead of not thinking about money I was obsessed with it and it consumed me so I quit. But budgeting with my husband has always been easy. It’s probably because that’s how it’s supposed to be. We do it every year, usually before the new year to go through plans, changes in budgeting, goals, all that future stuff. This time though, it’s almost halfway through the year and at times feels like halfway through our life, I said, hey tonight do you want to sit down and talk about the budget.

I pulled up our spreadsheet I have on my computer. Because spreadsheets rule. Formulas rock guys.

I think I’m a pretty good wife to offer to give up my frivolous spending I’ve been used to doing. I must also add. while I don’t love budgets, the debt we have is our home we currently live in that we plan to pay off before I’m 40. So I always thought, look, I’m so good at money, I don’t have to budget because I’m not in debt. We have both of our parents to thank for scaring the crap out of us and the thought of debt and every time I go home to see my dad he’s asking how much we’re investing in retirement/stock.

But then you look at real life and you’re like well this isn’t enough for me to cruise around the world into the sunset of the end of my life on a yacht. Sailing lessons cost money. The yacht will cost me money. Shrimp costs money, lobster even more. Then in your head you’re like ok, flank steak and lobster every night x 365 x the years I think I have left… is greater than $1 million. I’m obviously kidding. I’d rather be on a cruise ship and have someone prepare those meals and do my laundry. Now that’s retirement ladies and gentleman, just ask my parents.

I figured out a painless way to budget. I wrote this post a few years ago and it’s still incredibly similar – Why we only budget 5 things. Only those 5 things are broken down into like 25 very specific things on Every Dollar – a free website and app. Oh it’s a Ramsey app by the way. Thank the Lord for Dave Ramsey!

Anyway the normal living expenses like insurance, utilities, blah blah blah I don’t want to be entering every dang receipt I get for the water bill and counting pennies. We take the living expenses and add a $5k cushion and after the large chunk we are putting in investments, the rest is what I handle. And the money I make has been given more responsibility, like when I want home upgrades that aren’t mandatory. Like the bar stools (still debating), or the office closet I’m coveting, or the bamboo blinds for the living room I can’t seem to pull the trigger on.

I’ve decided no on a few things to say yes to others and this has been not fun at all. But at the same time, it makes me hungry.

I had lunch my girlfriend Molly, a wedding videographer and we talk about it all, no topic is off the table when we get together. She mentioned how she’s addicted to saving money and I laughed, what a great addiction. Then I said, Remember when you were young and broke, and you had no money, almost living paycheck to paycheck to make it. Maybe you had a little cushion or you had some backup savings but numbers in the account never looked great? Then suddenly you decide to save more and you look at numbers grow in your account and gets addicting? She had been there too.

It’s like once you get over the sad bank balance due to your own spending habits and wisen up and start saving more, you see your numbers go up and it’s motivating. It’s like there’s nothing more fun than saving money! So I’m focusing on saving at a faster speed, not being just OK with how things are because  the reality is, the future will be here sooner than we know it and I can just taste that surf and turf guys.

Are you thinking about retirement? How do you get most of your savings tips, from your parents or books? Share some of your advice in the comments, I’d love to hear.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Don

    We’re thinking about retirement too. Just this evening I saw I could’ve saved another ten bucks getting motor oil for our two vehicles from Wally World instead of at Pep Boys, and I could’ve gotten the mnfr recommended brand too. Then we went an treated friends to a nice Italian dinner but saving here and good food there, yeah, aren’t comparable. Pensions, 401(bk), and hopefully more siblings for our daughter will assure we won’t be doing Lean Cuisine meals every night uh the week after retiring lol.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Not glamorous but necessary. All the little things count and I think it’s a good thing to plan for the future. All the times I did I look back and thank my younger self :)


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