Money at 30: 4 Things I Love About Our Thrifty Lifestyle
Valentine’s Day is a time when couples share what they love about each other while embarking on romantic escapades. Of course they also tend to spend a lot of money, but that’s a topic for another day. This brings me to what just happens to be just one of the many things I love, adore, respect, and cherish about my wife: her financial savvy. Admittedly that might not sound like the most romantic of traits but it’s actually had some wonderful side effects and allowed us to enjoy a truly happy marriage.
So with just a day to go before the big Valentine’s holiday, I thought I’d take the time to share a few things I love about the thrifty lifestyle my wife and I have built:
Not living paycheck to paycheck
There once was a time in my when my spending habits caused me to frequently overdraft my checking account (leading to incredibly painful fees) and pray that certain expenses wouldn’t post until my paycheck’s direct deposit had cleared. Ironically these infractions all occurred while I was making the most money I’ve ever made in my life. It wasn’t until I left that job and had to hustle for every dollar I made that I learned to curb my impulse buys and become more frugal in my day to day life.
As a result, even though I bring in far less than I did once upon a time, I feel infinitely richer. No longer do I need to worry about when the next paycheck will arrive because we’ve built up several backups to cover our essential expenses. The only thing I regret is not adopting this stress-free thrifty approach to money much earlier — who knows what could have been then.
Getting credit card rewards (and not paying interest)
Another great thing about keeping your spending in check and practicing good money habits is that both tend to also bolster other aspects of your finances. For example having the money to pay off your credit card balance on time and in full each month can help to grow your credit. And when you increase your credit scores, you often qualify for cards that will reward you just for using them.
Thanks to both our good credit and ability to pay off our cards each month, my wife and I have been able to rack up a fair amount of cash back while avoiding interest altogether. In fact, since adding the Uber Visa to our wallets just a few months ago, our cash back earnings have skyrocketed as we’ve been able to maximize rewards in a number of areas. Were I still stuck in my old ways, I’d probably either be paying for everything in cash or only paying the minimum to stay afloat. Needless to say, our current scenario is far better.
Discovering new tools, tricks, and more
This one is partially due to our pursuit of frugality and partially due to being a finance blogger with a weekly column to write, but I’ve truly enjoyed learning about some of the various apps and tools that have hit the market in recent years. From Credit Karma (which played an important role my entry to financial blogging) to the cashback wonder app Dosh, I’ve benefitted greatly from seeking out these tools and taking advantage of them.
Beyond the latest apps, my wife and I have realized how our thrifty ways have led us to other great finds. Just the other day my wife commented on how much she’s grown to love the products at Aldi — a discount grocery store chain we only started frequenting to save money. Addtionally our money-motivated move to Springfield, Missouri has proven to be a blessing and we now take pride in our adopted hometown. It’s crazy to reflect how small decisions in your life could have major impacts and, in this case, I’m not sure where we would have ended up had fiscal responsibility not been such a priority for us.
Being able to live the life we want
Lastly, while we may not make a ton, my wife and I have been able to build a life we’re both happy with — and its only getting better. Although you might assume that putting limits on your spending prevents you from doing what you want to do, we’ve found that it actually allows us to prioritize what’s important to us. Because of this we’ve been able to skip fancy dinners out and unnecessarily expensive wardrobe additions, replacing them with trips to places like Paris and Hong Kong instead. In the process, we’ve learned just how much we both enjoy traveling and have recently taken steps to ensure that we get to do more of it in the future. Therefore, as counterintuitive as it may sound, it’s actually our frugality that will allow us to see the world and chase our dreams.
Since starting our lives together with a frugal wedding more than four years ago, my wife and I have strived to be financially responsible while still enjoying our youth and love. That’s why, this Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating all that we’ve accomplished in that area so far and look forward to all of the adventures we have ahead of us. With that, happy Valentine’s Day and may you enjoy the thrifty lifestyle as much as my wife and I do.