What money means to us

AJ: Money means a lot of things to me, but mostly it means that Kirby and I will, at some point, be able to live exactly the lives we have planned for. There are some days where I find myself anxious about some unexpected expense where I feel like screaming “we work too hard to be stressed about money!” I think that most people feel that way on a regular basis, but we have invested just about as much time as we have money in ensuring that we’re planning to the absolute best of our abilities.

To me, living on less and spending less means being able to help family and friends in need, donating to causes that we truly believe in, and celebrating how overwhelmingly blessed I am to be married to Kirby by showing my appreciation in unexpected ways. I hope that it continues to mean that in case something unexpected happens, we’re covered. We will still have a warm place to sleep at night, will still have full bellies, and will still be able to house an army of small, furry animals.

As we make larger, more significant financial decisions I am increasingly aware of what money means to other people which is very interesting to me. There’s a colorful expression that I love and use regularly that generally says “everyone has an opinion” but with a little more flare. We all pull from our own experiences and build on them as we consider what matters most, and I’m thankful that we have been able to lay a strong foundation that will ultimately allow us to make selfish choices just for ourselves – whatever we may decide we want to do in 50 years.

KJ: To me, money means having the freedom to choose the things you want and to live your life the way you want to. Whether we spend it today or we accumulate it to spend tomorrow, it’s simply an exchange to be able to get that tv, nice meal out, or car you’ve always wanted. Of course, you can’t have it all and money is a scarce resource, so we must make choices on how we would like to spend our money. Maybe you want to save up for years and years to buy that super nice car you’ve always dreamed of or maybe your preference is to spend it more regularly on some nice meals and vacations – to each his own. It’s how we decide to spend our dollars that helps refine our goals and objectives to recognize what’s really important to us in how we want to live our lives.

I have always been a saver. I had piggy banks when I was younger, and I even had a ‘young investors’ account to set some money aside from my income at my dad’s office. Delaying instant gratification and instead saving money has been an important part of how I prioritize and perceive money, but saving money to just set it aside indefinitely isn’t my goal either. I do intend to spend it at a later date – or hopefully get to a point where I can spend the income earned on the savings and leave the principal untouched. Sometimes that later date will become ‘now,’ and we will see ourselves spending that hard saved money by purchasing a new home or going on a trip of a lifetime.

    How do you think about money?
    What does money mean to you?
    Share with us your experiences.

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