To say we dislike the pace of life right now is an understatement. We’ve spent years working, going to activities for the kids, and trying to find more time for family and ourselves. Like many of you, we know BUSY and we also know that the busier we get, the more money we spend.
While we may still be making frugal decisions according to many people, the next few months are going to cost us a lot of money! And this is going to happen at the same time I leave my full-time job this month. Our frugal habits are going to be challenged because of everything that is happening in a very short period of time.
I’ll steal a lesson from Fritz at the The Retirement Manifesto and his recent post on Moving Your Retirement from Good to Great. It helps explain why we aren’t stressing out too much. “See the forest, not the trees” is a good reminder to keep the broader perspective in focus. Spending extra money for a few months might not feel good, but it will definitely help us keep our sanity!
So what does all that spending look like?
We moved my daughter to West Virginia this month. She might be getting paid to get her MS degree, but any move costs money. Since we were only there for the weekend, we made a list of what she needed and off to the store we went. No Amazon searches and no checking for used items on Craigslist. We bought her everything she needed (and deserved). And it helps me sleep better at night now – no matter what it cost.
My son is a senior in high school and the last few weeks of school are expensive! Whether it’s the tux for the Senior Ball or the Cap & Gown for graduation, the bigger your kids get – the more expensive things are! And he’s off to college orientation for three days next week – even more money (before the tuition bill shows up!)
My full-time job is ending in 29 days, but work is still costing me money. Some new spring clothes and shoes, donations for baby gifts and retirement parties. I don’t mind it at all and I’m happy to get out the checkbook. Just keep in mind that going to work everyday doesn’t just cost you time…
We put our small apartment complex on the market last week! We are so busy that we hired someone to do a few outside projects (like raking stones from the snow plow) and we’re paying tenants to have their places ready for showings. We normally DIY most projects, but this is one of those times where DIY isn’t a smart decision!
We’re also getting ready to spend some big money at the Lake (rental) house we are downsizing into later this summer! Mr. MSD has taken out carpets, paneling, kitchen cupboards and appliances. We’ll be paying contractors to put up drywall, put on a new roof and siding, and we’ll finish it off by adding a new kitchen, flooring, and new appliances. This doesn’t take into account things like dump fees, utilities, or the mortgage and taxes our tenant of 23 years used to cover!
I had to breathe and think “see the forest” as was typing that! All I’m seeing are $$$$$…
We’ll be putting our own house on the market soon too! We need to eliminate about a third of our “stuff” to be comfortable in the lake house. This requires frequent trips to the dump, donation centers, and to home improvement stores to get paint and other things we need to spruce things up around here! And it all costs money (and time!)
We even rented a storage unit… something frugal people generally frown upon! All I’ve ever done is look at rows of storage units and think – why? Why would people waste money storage units? Why don’t they just get rid of extra stuff?
But now I see that a storage unit can be an important tool.
For us, it is a way to store many of our belongings to leave both houses open for the work that needs to be done. My husband and our contractors can work much faster when they don’t have to move or constantly cover up our stuff. This will hopefully save us time, frustration and maybe even money in the long run.
Storage units don’t seem to be smart financial decisions for most people. But putting our house on the market is a priority for us in the next six weeks. The longer we have to pay for 3 houses (our current house, the house we’re downsizing into, and our Florida condo) – the more money we’ll lose too!
Our plan is to use the storage unit for 3 – 4 months at a total cost of just under $500. We have an exit plan – and that is the only reason we considered this option.
So when time is an issue, you might have to ignore your frugal ways to get things done. We didn’t reach “FIRE” by being big spenders. But as the saying goes – “sometimes you have to spend money, to make money” (or to quit losing money in our case!)
Keep in mind that being frugal and lacking time can lead to high levels of stress! Try to remember to “see the forest, but not each tree” and make smart spending decisions that will help you meet your goals without sacrificing your sanity!
Have you ever rented a storage unit? If so, did you have an exit plan? Was it worth it? I’m going to hate paying that bill each month, so it will definitely be something we work hard to quit using! Do you have other examples of where you had to set frugality aside to get things done or to stop stressing yourself out?