AJ: Sometimes as I sit reviewing our very organized, somewhat compartmentalized lives feeling so good about the level of control we maintain in our household I have to laugh at the severe lifestyle shift that now defines me.
I have always been eccentric. As a general rule I’m dramatic, I’m self-sufficient, I over exaggerate even when I’m not trying: I do nothing halfway. I am also, however, somewhat messy at home, emotional and compassionate, desperately reliant upon my husband for strength and comfort, and not all together buttoned up in my personal life. I’m two versions of myself and I would bet most of us are. I’ve always loved to work, and I gain enormous satisfaction in strategizing and visualizing in my career. At home, though, I’m much more practical and sensible. All of that to say that saving money isn’t about only being practical, it’s about creating a way to have and do everything you want – dream big!
Think mansions, Ferraris, ocean-front real estate, trip to the moon – big! Whatever it is isn’t impractical if it’s something you truly want and will enjoy. My grandparents have always been shining examples of people who want to enjoy their money while they live instead of willing it away after they’re gone, and I really believe there’s something to that. Of course some are blessed with enough abundance to both do and give AND will away a significant sum of money, but let’s assume for a moment that none of us are those people and talk about spending big.
KJ: Dreaming is an important part of living – it helps define what you’re searching for, and it can help bring meaning to your life. It helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it gives you a sense of purpose. Whether your big dreams are related to purely personal aspirations or whether it’s lofty business goals of climbing the corporate ladder or working for yourself someday, if you don’t think about it, chances are it won’t become a reality. Dreaming is often about thinking beyond your current “needs” and focusing on those “wants” in your life. It’s important from a budgeting and planning standpoint to understand the distinction between “wants” and “needs” in allocating your scarce income resources, but when it comes to what tomorrow may bring, it’s equally important to focus on your “wants” and how to actually reach them.
Our recent life transition
AJ: We recently bought a house – a big house. Bigger than we need without question but not so big that we lose each other. It walked the line somewhere between practical (we have a lot of stuff and therefore needed more space, our dog needed space to roam freely, the market shifted to benefit sellers) and slightly extravagant (double the size of our other home, HUGE yard, more space than we have stuff) but we felt like it was a good time for us to make a change, we fell in love with the possibilities and we knew financially we could make it work.
KJ: The new home certainly wasn’t necessary, but it helps better fulfill our dreams of having more space to breathe, space for our three pets, and a nice place to host family and friends in our so called “spare” time. Time to start paying back all those years of family hosting us!
And now comes big
AJ: I want double ovens! And really rare granite countertops! And really gorgeous custom-laid tiles for our backsplash in a pattern only we will have! And no we can’t afford it all at once! But you better believe that I’m not going to settle just because I don’t have that amount of cash in my pocket right now. I’m going to work more than my very full, full-time job as often as I feasibly can without collapsing in exhaustion or sacrificing the quality of my work, and I’m going to plan menus that better utilize items I can find less expensively, and I’m going to sleep with the thermostat a little higher than I would prefer for a few months. But I’m building that dream kitchen into one that will hold tens of years of family holidays, countless nights of quiet dinners at the enormous island with my husband and so much entertainment for our cats they might die of exhaustion because that’s what I really want. I’m impractically unconcerned with resale (and a home isn’t really a good “investment” in the traditional sense anyways!) and very reasonably focused on something that will improve the quality of my life that will be the crown jewel of our home, and I can’t wait to feel totally broke building it up.
KJ: Since we aren’t willing to go into debt paying for the things we want in our home, the reality is that it will take us a little longer than normal to get some of our projects completed, and we’re likely to step in and do a good portion of it ourselves – time and stress levels permitting! We fortunately have a great support system in friends and family, so all the work hasn’t just been us on our own little island working on it alone.
- What are your goals and aspirations?
What are you dreaming big about?
Tell us about what your heart wants most!
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