La (Debt-Free) Dolce Vita
By, Rachel Hansen
After reading Nicole’s Credit Card Confessions, I knew I had to chime in. You see, I’m one of those “frugalistas” Target is always, well, targeting. A coupon-toting, ebay-loving, craigslist-furniture-buying cheapskate. And while “cheap” might not have that enticing, where-do-I-sign-up ring to it, I’m here to convince you otherwise.
But before I get ahead of myself, perhaps I should explain: I’m in my twenties, gainfully employed, and really behind this idea of living within your means. Nerd alert, I know, but seriously. Managing money is important to me because it allows me to protect and provide for my family and the things we value.
Fund your priorities – Not your weaknesses
Another thing that is important to me is traveling. I went to one of those cushy liberal arts colleges where they encourage students to study abroad. I’ll hold back the gushy travelogue and just pique your interest (and jealousy) by saying that as an undergrad I traveled to eleven European countries. I know. You’re jealous. So is my husband. He spent time overseas as a kid, but the majesty of Europe has always been at least an ocean away. That’s why (cue drum roll) we’re planning a trip to Italy!
And I’m not talking about idly dreaming about a far off trip that will occur at some unforeseen (read: indefinitely postponed) time in the future when we have our lives “together” and when the stars and our schedules magically align. This is legit. We leave on Friday.
Many people fantasize about lavish, debt-free vacations, but we’re making it happen! I kid you not, each month we sit down with our computers and checkbooks, not just to pay our bills, but to plan out how to spend/save/invest our money for the next month. It’s not particularly sexy, but this diligent grunt work has enabled us to be successful with our savings goals and intentional about where our paychecks go. I know my penny-pinching, brown-bag-lunch-bringing ways are occasionally off-putting. But the discipline is about to pay off. The money doesn’t just trickle away like it used to. And for the last ten months we’ve been growing our Italy fund.
I’m not gloating
Well, maybe I am, but it’s for a good cause. This is one career girl who would love to inspire some of her peers to dream big about their financial goals. So I bring up Italy with this in mind: for what worthy goal are you currently delaying gratification? You can live vicariously through me if you want, but why not get on board and start saving for your own dreams?