Saving money can sometimes be a lonely experience. Not everyone around you will have the same goals or ideas about living on one income and saving money. Some of the people you know may spend quite a bit of money on things you may find frivolous, while others may save better than you. Whether it be family or friends, there will always be those around you who find it ridiculous what you do to save money. I think I was reminded this past weekend of how I felt when the kids were little and we were saving “like crazy”. This past weekend we were at my sister’s house and my nephew announced that he landed a new job – a good-paying job that will be of such help to support his wife and two kids, but my nephew’s wife is feeling anxious of being left alone all day to look after the kids and the house. It brought back so many feelings of anxiety I had when we were in our own house, trying to save every penny. I remember those feelings, and comments from family and friends sometimes made things worse, although I’m sure all of what was said was not meant to hurt.
When we get together, my family always has had a good laugh that everything my husband and I buy is from Costco. One family member gets a kick out of the large containers of peanut butter, or vinegar, or olive oil. These are just funny things to laugh about with family, but sometimes when it comes to saving, your family and friends can rub you the wrong way. It’s taken us years to get to a comfortable lifestyle and those that only have one income can relate to the things you need to do to scrimp and save. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t feel sorry for myself. I can’t complain about the life I have but being firm in your choice to save sometimes comes with derogatory comments from others.
For a long time we had only one car. We were living further away from family and I was at home looking after four children on my own. Relatives were concerned that I couldn’t get out with the kids, but their voiced concerns only made it harder for me to be in a one-income situation. I started to feel bad which formed into an anxiety that I couldn’t get out of the house and not able to see anyone. Another voiced comments that I hadn’t decorated the house. There was only so much money to go around and food and diapers were our number one priority at the time, not a new painting to hang on the wall or a new piece of furniture. Still another has told me how “cute” my house is. What does this mean? It’s not as large as yours?
All of these comments can really get into your head and I don’t think it’s until you are older and more experienced with dealing with people that you realize they can say anything they want as long as you are happy with your situation. It has taken me a long time to let these comments fall by the wayside. They are not important. What is important is how we strived to put family first, a roof over my kids’ heads, food on the table, clothes for them to wear, an education, transportation for them to get to school and work, and now that my kids have grown into adults they can respect the things we did without in order to provide for them.
The large peanut butter jar is something we can all have a good laugh at. The other stuff isn’t important. What’s important when you live on one income, and sometimes it’s not easy, is to make sure you are staying on the path of saving and putting away for your future needs. That the hydro bill and water bill get paid on time. That the bank has their mortgage payment at the end of the month. It will get lonely sometimes, especially when you don’t go out with friends in order not to spend your money. I think my oldest son is feeling this now. He stays home some weekends and doesn’t meet up with his buddies in order to keep that $50.00 he would have spent on beer in his pocket.
This all makes it sound as if saving money is depressing. Not so. A lot of years were spent with family. My kids and their cousins are close because we did spend a lot of time together when the kids were little and we couldn’t afford to take them everywhere. Entertaining the kids makes you creative and the kids don’t care if money is being spent or not. They just want your attention. We came up with different ways to spend time with the kids, friends were always invited over, birthday parties were at home where the kids remember painting T-shirts, walks and playing at the park were part of our day. Saving for your future can take some time and it is not an easy thing to do when you would rather go on vacation or out to dinner with other couples. In the long run, it will provide you with a more comfortable lifestyle and your true family and friends will stick with you no matter what.