When Daniel and I are making decisions, we find ourselves saying pretty often: “We can’t afford that.” Really, most of the time we know this not to be quite true. What we really should be saying is, “That doesn’t fit in with how we’ve decided we want to be spending our money.”
As a couple, we know that we are considerably better off than most of the world. We are comfortable. God has blessed us with so much. I have to remind myself of this pretty often, though… like when I feel like I don’t have “enough” clothes because I don’t have quite the outfit variety that I might like to have. What is “enough”? Or when I feel sorry for myself because I don’t have an iPod or an unlimited text and data plan on my cell phone. That stuff isn’t important, and it is by my own choice that I don’t have them.
The point is that it is not that Daniel and I “can’t afford” to see movies when they come out in theaters, eat out every weekend, etc., etc. It’s that we choose, on a daily basis, not to afford these things. The good thing is that so far we haven’t really had any disagreements about how we should be spending our money; we tend to be on the same page. Becoming homeowners two months after graduating college is not exactly typical. Neither is getting married one year after graduation. These things mean that our priorities are currently a little different than those of most of our friends, and we make our budget based on the priorities we have chosen for our life together.
This means that nearly all of our discretionary money, after paying our mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc., goes toward paying down debt; that way, when we have children we will have fewer monthly payment obligations and will be able to afford having me stay home—a very valuable priority for both Daniel and me. I finished paying down my 2008 Kia Spectra loan in July (yay!) and we are now hard at work on my student loans. Daniel’s student loans will come next. I had no idea there could be such incredible satisfaction in seeing principal amounts go significantly down each time a large lump payment is made on a loan—each one means we’re one step closer to our goal.
And although I’ve touched on it before, our goal is this: to have enough resources to raise a family in a comfortable home on our land (we’re also saving to build on our property within the next five years) and to be able to share our blessings with others, whether those others be family and friends close by or strangers in need halfway around the globe.
Most importantly, though, we have to remember that even now—before we’ve reached this goal—we need to count our blessings and thank God for them, one by one. We’ve already been given so much. When I consider the lives some people in our world have to live, I feel so lucky to be able to go out to dinner with my wonderful husband on special occasions, like tonight (Thursday). I’m turning 23 today!