Or for that matter…where would we be without a map?
Life – it is a journey – with highs and lows, obstacles and bridges, challenges and joys – and currently we live in a world in which to have the things we need to keep ourselves alive – food and shelter etc – we need some money!
Money is a tool we all need some of. Some have develop an enormous for money and the things it can buy. But even if we are not materialistic in our outlook, we need to have a grip on how much money we have, and how much money we are spending – on both needs and extras.
Living life without any kind of budget is a little like going on a long journey without a map. We may get by with a vague idea of the direction we are headed in and eventually reach to our destination. But we will probably end up expending a lot more energy than if we use a map to track our course. It might not sound much fun, but sitting down to work out a budget – income and outgoings – helps us make the most of our money, and enables us to plan for the future.
Robert and I used to love going to restaurants in our courting days. But when we worked out our budget, Robert and I realized that if we took away eating out from our budget (except on very special occasions) we could save a considerable amount each week. Over the years that money added up to many thousands of pounds that we were able to use for other things. We also learnt to love home cooking on a tight budget and we loved opening up our home to guests.
That’s not the only example. Decorating ourselves instead of calling in professionals saved us a fortune, and we also became closer in the process as we worked together. It was fun. We’ve enjoyed working together on all aspects of home maintenance – garden and household repairs.
We also made sure we did not develop desires for things that would cost us so much money that they would take us way off course with regards to our plans for the future. We said no to a lot of desires – new sofas, new cars, expensive holidays. Instead, we accepted furniture friends and family were getting rid of, bought used cars and went on back-packing trips.
Living within our budget, staying on track with our saving plans so we could look forward has not meant any less enjoyment of life. It just reduced stress, and often resulted in us having more quality time together. It has been some time since we finished paying off our mortgage and since then, we have been able to enjoy our money much more. Now, things like expensive holidays, new vehicles and restaurants are easily within our budget. Yet we learnt to enjoy group holidays with friends, walking or using public transport around London, and having an old car in the garage for trips to see family outside of London, and hosting dinner parties at our own home.
We’ve been able to help out family and friends every now and then financially. We eventually bought a new sofa and had the living room professionally refurbished with plush curtains and classy light fittings and a beautiful carpet….and we had plenty in the budget for a new kitchen. But that is mostly because in our younger years, we were content with the basics and learnt to stick to the budget so that we could pay off the mortgage more quickly.
Now completely debt free with two full-time incomes means we are glad that we made our journey with a map – our budget.