Sunday, January 27, 2008

Money--what does it buy?

So, my husband graduated from law school in June and then he took the bar in July and then we bought a house (that we loved) in August and here we are in January.
All of these events were very exciting and very fulfilling--I have been graduated from school since right before we got married. So, him finishing school finally was HUGE for me. He didn't mess around and he did get good grades and so that allowed us opportunities that we may not have had otherwise.

Now, call me naive, but I guess I thought that once he was done with school, we'd be a little bit more crazy with the money than we had been. We always tried very, very hard to be frugal and there is no way that we could have gotten by without the help we received from family. However, I thought the following:


  • Yes! We're done. Now I can buy some new clothes that I really like and it won't be any big deal.

  • Yes! I have a beautiful house, now I can decorate it and it will be fabulous and I will think "Wow! It was a beautiful house and I somehow made it even better!"

  • Yes! I will buy my kids cute, cute clothes and I will revel in their cuteness.

  • Yes! I will cook gourmet meals because now I can afford to buy ingredients that I could never afford to buy or didn't have the room to store.

  • Yes! I will plant a garden and we will be eating delectable produce and we will be healthy and find time to bond as a family while we weed and plant.

I'm sure there were many other thoughts that went through my head along these lines, but here's what the cold, hard truth has been:

  • Yes! I can buy clothes that I think are fabulous, but everytime I go to buy them, I glance at the price tag and about go into cardiac arrest. I am used to perusing second hand stores where you are shocked if something costs more than $8.

  • Yes! My house is beautiful, but like every dreamy-eyed house buyer, there were flaws that I didn't initially see and the ones I did I imagined would be easily fixed. Truth is, I am not a natural talent at decorating. I took MONTHS to put up pictures that we already owned because I was so terrified of putting that first nail hole in our brown painted walls. What if I put it too high and then you would see the hole, 'cause I had to adjust it? Yes, I want to paint the walls, but I really shouldn't paint until I buy a couch for the front room and I can't buy a couch for the front room because it all costs so much money.

  • Yes! I still buy my kids cute clothes from time to time, but they never come from department stores. I still look at second hand shops and still wait for those wonderful packages that come in the mail from their grandparents. I still revel in their cuteness-that has never been a problem.

  • Yes! I still cook the majority of our meals from home, but now that we have a little bit more flexibility, sometimes I want to try nicer restaurants instead of cooking. I also still do my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart because they price match every single store. I honestly save at least $5 everytime I go to the store--usually much, much more than that even. When I try to go to a regular grocery store I just can't believe how they balance out their sale prices with the expensiveness of all the other items in the store. I did cook us our first gourmet meal last night. It was called Chicken Scaloppine (a Top Secret knock off of Macaroni Grill's recipe) and it tasted amazing!!!! It had artichoke hearts and proscuitto--uh, did anyone else out there realize that this stuff costs about as much as gold does?
Yes! I did plant tomatoes, strawberries and bell peppers then the Arizona weather decided to frost everything while I went to visit family for Christmas. In fact, we've had several nights of freezing since even. So much for global warming!
So, the moral of the story is: You can give a woman money, but you can't change her deeply ingrained, cheap and thrifty ways. (Although I am trying, one dollar at a time.)

19 comments:

Crazymamaof6 said...

yeah what i had hoped would be smooth sailing after graduation is shockingly a nasty reality, that yes we finally make a decent salary but in my case our family size brings us down to earth and our salary doesn't stretch that far. so instead of buying gymboree, I'm shopping at Savers more than i ever have before.
AHHHH no fun! I'm in the same boat. i think mine is the fabulous house taking up the bulk of our income. and mine is not that fabulous.

sounds like a fabulous meal! way to go on that!

Kelli said...

And this is why both of our husbands will retire at 48, because neither of us can stand to really spend the money.

mmhamblin said...

Ummm.... I'm sorry. I can't relate! Maybe someday! How would it be?

Lacey said...

I actually have always admired your thrifty ways...don't ever change...I would rather see my money build in the bank than wear it on my back! It doesn't stop me from shopping at the Gap or Express or wanting to take nice vacations..just makes me want to save a little harder!
Honestly, it's a great quality to have and a great one to teach your children! Money isn't everything!
I still want a nice house and a vacation once a year!

Dori said...

ahhh...graduation! What a splendid day! Thanks for painting the picture, we are so excited to buy a house someday (actually, at the moment a good washer and dryer that doesn't require 9 quarters a load would do the trick for us!)

Lacey said...

P.S- I expect a recipe post after this one....that recipe sounds and looks good....

kjirsti said...

"I hate money" is an oft repeated phrase in my life! It's just so hard, when and on what to spend money. For example, Tom really loves to travel, and we want to save up for those kinds of opportunities in our lives. But travel is expensive, so where do we save the money? Do we live in a smaller house, and older house, do we eat less? It's tricky, I was glad to know I'm not the only one who is frazzled by such decisions.

Toons said...

It's crazy! I'm not the best at saving - horrid actually. I find that when we have it - I can always find something to spend it on. Then when it's gone and we need it - we don't have it. "Save for a rainy day" are great words of advice and you have them down pat!! Congrats!! Be grateful for that!

Heather said...

I agree, kids clothes are killer! It's so crazy to spend a ton of money on them when they outgrow them in a few months.

I really miss the competitive grocery market there. Groceries here are really killing me. And yes, post the recipe it sounded really good!

citymama1 said...

I've never had much luck with Wal-Mart. Some of their stuff is cheaper, but I usually spend more when I go there, so I try to avoid it.
Frugality is a thing to be embraced! I wish I had that problem.

I agree, your dinner looks tasty...do share the recipe. :)

rachel said...

Once again I love this post. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of the future.(hopefully) The Goodwill shopper in me will always remain I am afraid.I always have these dreams of donating new items or being the person who gives a really nice couch just so I can get a new one. I too will probably just realize that law school was really for me to learn not to spend. Not really so much for my husband's intellect. Thanks for this. . . it really has helped my perspective!

JLJ said...

I'm not nearly as frugal as you are Audrey. That being said, I too thought life after graduation would be magical; the smallest annual salary sounded like so much! I would have never thought it would still be hard to make ends meet with the salary my husband brings home. Student loans are a killer! At the time we felt like it was the right thing to do, so I could stay home with our babies, but now I sometimes wonder what things would be like now if I had just worked during those years instead of taking student loans. Money - ugh!

wackywilsons said...

You are one to look up to for frugality..I remember your summers of hard traveling and running around with Derek selling pest control....

I can appreciate all you say though... we are finally in a house, and now I have to put more money aside to decorate...not to mention that now I can finally do some food storage with a pantry! hoo ray!

I am sure you will post some beautiful message about Pres Hinkley, I will look forward to that...

Wesley's b-day party is today and it is raining cats and dogs, and we are supposed to do a pinata outside! sheesh!

Lara said...

Always good to be frugal...the richest people usually are. And, i agree (not that Joel is making much as a teacher), now that we're actually making money I'm finding I have to be evne more frugal, because we have a lot more expenses than we had when we were students.

brooke said...

Funny I thought we would do so much better, but owning a home takes most of our money now!

For us School = no money. Money = more bills to pay so no money. . .

I am thankful that we were able to spend those years learning how to spend my money wisely. Although I am still in the process of perfecting the art of being frugal.

Kim Skinner said...

There are two kinds of spenders AFTER school: ones that have habits of not spending and so even when they have the money, they have a hard time breaking the habit and then the ones that go crazy because they haven't had money for so long. Be glad you are the first. Old habits die hard but they can die. You might become a spender soon enough. And, as your kids get older, they cost more money so save it while you can. I of course am giving you this advice not out of experience but out of hopes and dreams. I believe in what Shakespeare once said: "There is money, spend it spend it more." Have a good day! :)

DKAZ said...

Paying off this, building up that, preparing for the other. It's non-stop. You'd think with two incomes it might make it easier, but no-it just makes taxes that much more difficult!

luke & misty meldrum family said...

I hope I didn't offend you for checking your blog. I am Tami's sister and I know the Petersen's-more Sabina than anything. You have a grat blog! Misty

laceanddenim said...

Good for you! I love to hear that young people are being frugal in their ways. You are setting a wonderful example for your children and that means so much to everybody, not just your family.
I grew up without a lot of money and never realized just how poor we were, but I knew I was loved. My siblings and I were talking one day about how we can't break old habits, even though we're blessed with much more than we had growing up. Your kids will know that they are loved, too. And isn't that the greatest wealth you can give them? We also taught our kids to be thrifty and at the ages of 29 and 33 they would put many adults to shame with their ability to save. Their kids haven't missed out on anything important. Keep up your attitude. There's no shame in preserving carefully what you've been blessed with. That's called "being responsible".