Earlier, I had written a post on what we spend our money on. I thought it might also be helpful if I talked a bit on what we don’t spend money on, or rather, things that we value less.
A car is not an investment. This is a mistake that I see young people make over and over. I need something that gets me safely from one point to another, other than that, I really don’t care very much about how my car looks. Currently, I drive a 2002 Saturn. We bought it used about six years ago. I basically use it to get around town and don’t make very long car trips in it, so it’s perfect. The paint is chipping a bit in the back and the rear spoiler is missing because Brad ripped it off when we had a big storm this past winter while he was trying to push my car out of a snow bank in front of the house. I get made fun of quite a bit for it, as basically everyone I know drives a nice new car, even a good majority of the teenagers I know. It brings me a strange joy to have a car that we paid $3,000 and have only put a couple hundred dollars into over the years. While a college girl I know was lamenting to me about her $400 a month car payment, I was secretly reveling in the fact that I have no car payments. I also have young children, and they tend to, you know, tear stuff up. Not to worry! My car is old, so I don’t yell at my youngest when he wants to bring a collection of rocks and sticks with him in the car. The problem with having a nice new car when you are a teenager is that you get used to it. You get used to the creature comforts of leather seats and a sun roof. Then in a couple of years, when you get your first job, you have to get a new car. You can’t downgrade, oh the horror of hand cranked windows! So you perpetuate the cycle of new car ownership for life. But if you started out like I did, you might think a little differently. My first car was an 82’ Subaru GL, and it cost $500. That thing was like a tank, and it had barbed wire scratches on the side where someone probably ran through a fence. Compared to that, my Saturn is luxury. It has air conditioning! When the Saturn dies, which might be in the next year, I will get a “new” used car. I will probably be looking for something from 2010-2013, which will be much cheaper than a brand new car, but will be super awesome for me. It’s all about perspective, and using our money wisely.
We don’t own a boat, or jet skis, or 4-wheelers, or anything like that. Those things are fun, but they are a huge drain on your bank account. The majority of the people that I know that own those things also rarely use them. Not only that, but you usually have to purchase other expensive things in order to use those items. For example, you need a truck and a trailer to haul your boat. If we ever feel the urge to use some of these items…we borrow them from a friend for free.
We don’t have nice new furniture. Most of the items we have were either given to us by family members, bought very cheaply from IKEA, or left by renters. You would be surprised how many nice items renters leave behind when they move out. Our dining room table and chairs is from our first rental property. I sanded it down and repainted it and it looks great! We have slowly been upgrading our items a little at a time, but with young children, we don’t see a need for us to have really nice furniture, at least until the boys are older.
So this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but we don’t spend a lot of money on clothes either. We do a good bit of thrift shopping and discount-type stores (like TJ Max and Marshalls). Brad has a penchant for being really hard on his clothes, even some of the nicer dress shirts he has owned can’t seem to stand up to him. We also have some rough and tumble boys and I like to let them play and be kids and not worry about getting their outfits dirty. For myself, I try to find around 10-12 items that I like to wear for a particular season and then just rotate those items through, and might try to change the accessories a bit. I am not fashionable by any means, but I don’t really think most people care how others are dressed as long as you look presentable. I only have so many decisions I can make in a day, and by not worrying too much about what I’m going to wear, I save valuable brain space for other, more important decisions.
All of these items basically boil down to the fact that we really don’t care to impress others with money or the appearance of us having money. What do you choose to do without or less of?