Celebrate Your Crazy Frugal Self

Being frugal isn’t always easy.  Living below your means, while reaping great benefits, isn’t necessarily fun.  Saving money is hard work, and likely won’t net you a membership into the cool kids’ club.  But never mind all that!

One thing I’ve learned about debt-free living is that we have to make our own fun.  Celebrate our own cool.  Stop for a quick dance while marching ahead to our own goals.  Take note of the frugal milestones and get happy about them!

Long-term, successful frugal living is so much more about attitude than about which coupons you clipped this week.

On New Year’s Eve, as we drove out of town for a fun overnight with family, my kids wondered, “Mom? What are you taking pictures of?!”  They were oblivious to my driver’s seat happy-dance until I let them in on the excitement.  See?

Ok.  Well, that’s kind of hard to see.  Let’s try this one.

Oh, yes.  There it is, plus one tenth.  One hundred fifty thousand miles, completely paid for for 8 years, and we are Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin, Keep that van a Rollin’!

Yeah, they don’t get it.  But we do, and it’s important to high five those frugal milestones, so a Happy Hour Sonic stop we did make along the way.

Have a little {cheap} fun.

If you are nose to the grindstone digging out of debt, or have been using your super power tunnel vision to work toward a financial goal (I do NOT see that shiny new camera.  I do NOT see that shiny new tv.  I do NOT see that…), you may need a little {cheap} fun to keep the momentum going.

Don’t be afraid to squirrel away a little slush fund for silly celebrations.  All work and no play may very well backfire as you burn out on the road to digging and finishing a real basement under your house.  (Oh.  Wait.  Maybe that’s just us.)

Recommit to financial goals.

Just when we were starting to think that our van was getting a bit small, pretty old and blah, and really rather cold (oops — fixed the antifreeze leak), that beautiful 150,000 showed up.  We high-fived, we smiled, and we traveled on.

It’s not cool to drive an ’01 minivan.  Truth?  We have the money in our savings and could replace the silly thing.  But we’d rather double the size of our house with a finished basement.  What’s your goal?  Where are you headed?  Keep your eye on the prize and celebrate along the way.

A 16 ounce lesson for the littles.

Why yes, stopping at Sonic for Happy Hour slushes does still have that effect on our children.  Sonic is not for everyday.  Slushes are not generally enjoyed at random.  We make every effort to ensure that the little things are the big things around here.  Celebrating a little bit is celebrating big, and with the slurping comes a kid-sized chat about saving big bucks while driving an older vehicle.

Two of our children are starting to notice.  They notice other families’ new vehicles.  They notice that everyone in their class has a DS but them.  (Everyone?  Really?!)  They notice, and they aren’t always easily convinced about the benefit of our money choices.  Without pushing adult-sized information, let the kids in on your goals.  If they know why they have to save money for their own DS, well… they may get excited about the basement, too.

Pinching pennies often seems like a lonely project.  Clearly, not everyone is doing it.  The smart ones are, though, and you, my friend, are a smart one!  Keep on keeping on and celebrate your crazy frugal self! 

How do you keep it happy while working endlessly toward a financial goal?

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Comments

  1. Love, Love LOVE this Amy! My husband just graduated law school and despite trying really hard to avoid any student loans, we sadly had to take out a small one. When work started, we were so tempted to move into a slightly less cramped place (now that we have three kiddos) but the joys of paying off the loan as quickly as we can far outweigh any satisfaction I would get from a bigger kitchen. It’s all about priorities, isn’t it? Thanks so much for the encouragement!

    Oh, and after years of sharing a two-door car with two children in carseats, I wouldn’t trade our old $2000 Craigslist mini-van for a Mercedes. (Ok, well, I guess if someone *gave* a Mercedes to us… Haha!)

    • This is fabulous, Anna! I’ve had SO many people comment that they are impossibly buried by massive amounts of student loans. That completely baffles me. Kudos to you for sacrificing to tackle those crazy things. THAT is a great priority!

  2. Yay!!! Congrats on your car! :-) It sounds like we drive the same type of vehicle. Great post Amy. :-)
    “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else.” :-)

    I celebrate my frugality every day – it means I get to stay home and take care of my babies….and that’s worth every single penny pinched.

  3. Great post, very encouraging. Forgive my ignorance, though – what is DS?

  4. Such encouraging words, Amy! Thanks so much! We, too, drive an ’01 van with lots of miles, that we had to purchase after our ’02 van (with 2225,000 miles) kicked the bucket earlier this year. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it’s reliable and paid for. We also have it as a goal to finish our basement this year and the lessons we are teaching our chidlren are so valuable. My kiddos are a little older than yours—my 2 older ones complain that they are the only ones without cell phones—just something we are not willing to let them have at 13 and 12—for a number of reasons. Oh, and Sonic Happy Hour is a huge treat for us too! LOVE those Cherry Limeades! :)

    • I know people have their reasons, but 12 and 13 still seems really young to me for their own phone. (Likely because I’m home all the time, we still have a land line, etc…)

  5. Nice post. We too get strange looks when people know about our bulk food storage and look at out 1994 (yes, it is :-)) Nissan Sentra w/ 143,000 miles on it. My kids wear all hand me downs and my husband has no new clothes except pants that I got on clearance. I could go on :-).

  6. I’m going to share this on FB. :-).

  7. I totally agree that we should celebrate milestones on our financial journey! After all, Sonic is one of my favorite drink stops (especially during Happy Hour – wink)!

    I love the lessons you’re teaching your kids about money. Though they may not now, they’ll love you for it in the long run!

  8. That is awesome! Our vehicles are both paid for and we’re planning on keeping them for a long long time.

    Quick question – the kids saving for their own DS – how do you handle money with your kids? Do they get an allowance, earn it by doing extra chores, birthday money? Just curious – I’ve got a 4 year old and I’d like to start her down the right path when the time comes.

    • I wish I knew the right path! I’m going to turn your question into an “ask the readers” post, because we are pretty inconsistent. (We’ll get ideas from lots of readers. :) ) Our kids don’t get an allowance, and they ARE expected to do certain chores because they live here and we all contribute. However, they are wanting to EARN money also, so we’ve tried to come up with a “special” list of jobs worth a certain amount. The tricky part is consistency and remembering to pay them for those jobs. I need a better system.

      • Shandi Andres says:

        So my kids are 2.5 and 4(in a week and a half. We started a chore system about 8 months ago and I love it. Each child has a very simple chore chart I print out for each week. For every chore, they get a sticker and at the end of the week they receive a quarter for every sticker they have. My 2.5 year old puts all of his quarters in a piggy bank that will go into his savings. My 4 year old has 3 jars and her money gets split 50% goes into the SAVE jar which will go to her savings at the bank, 40% goes into her SPEND jar, and 10% goes into her GIVE jar. She can spend the money from the SPEND jar how she chooses, The only money she has pulled out of that jar was to buy her brother a gift for Christmas because she wanted to. The money from the GIVE jar, she can choose to give it at church or for a charity event (i.e. Santa bucket’s at Christmas) so far she has only given it at church.

        Their chore charts, first and foremost, has pick up toys before bed. I got so tired of having to pick up toys and this is incentive enough for them to do it themselves and my house is picked up before I go to bed which means I get to start with a clean slate in the morning. If they don’t pick them up, they don’t get a sticker. And if I have to pick them up then usually I get rid of some toys in the process :) Others on their chore charts – feed the dogs (oldest feeds outside, youngest feeds inside), vacuum their room (1 day a week) and my oldest empties bathroom trash one day a week.

        Chores will change as they grow but it allows them to earn their allowance, not expect it and teaches them how to handle their money responsibly. The chart also helps hold me accountable.

        • “The chart also helps hold me accountable.” I could use some of that accountability. ;) It’s my own inconsistency that gives us problems around here.

  9. Debbie Jennings says:

    Amy and all, I am of the opinion that the kids take better care of things if they have to save up for it and buy it themselves. Our nephews, 11 and 9 got cell phones for Christmas. Why? I have no idea. I am of the opinion that no one needs a cell unless they have a license and is driving. I do have a cell, but use it mainly for emergencies. We both have pre-paid phones. The only way to go to my way of thinking. I have close to 2,000 unites (or minutes) on my phone. It costs about $20 every 3 months. Yes, I am a penny pincher and love it. I do have a Nintendo DS, and I do play games on it. =) They are good for my memory. After all at 60 years young, I do need help with the memory. =)

    • You are absolutely right. Kids do take better care of things they purchase themselves. My husband and I purchased their first gaming system for Christmas one year. They tired of that a year or so later. I told them that if they wanted a new system they had to pay for it themselves. It was a great lesson. They learned to trade games in on other games etc. We went to the trade in store and the guy looked at me and said “your kids take really good care of their games” I said that there was a trick to that…he looked at me puzzled. I told him that you make them pay for them and they take better care of it. He looked at me like I was the meanest mom around…then looked back at the games and got it. They still take care of all of their things..not to mention the household things..they know how much it will cost to replace that too.

  10. Darla Collins says:

    Thank you for this post. It is so hard sometimes when I look at other people’s houses, cars, gadgets, kitchens–the list could go on–to be content (and grateful) for my 10-year-old cars, small house, and ugly kitchen linoleum. I am trying to remind myself everyday that our “way of life” is so much better than the stress of debt. I am grateful that I have much more than I truly NEED.

    I’m happy that I can pay cash for our new roof and that I don’t have to hit a “line of credit.” I’ll settle for used cars, hand-me-downs, and a small house for the treasure of staying home with my littles.

    • Yes! We are tempted by the basement… but know that in the end, if we get to do it, it will be SO much nicer made with CASH.

    • I used to wonder how people were able to afford all the things they have and feel bad thinking I should be doing better, then my friends husband lost his job and she’s says if he doesn’t get work we’ll start losing everything!! I’m like are you kidding!! Apparently most people have everything but owe on all of it. Huge life lesson, I love being frugal and knowing what’s I have is really mine!!!

    • I am not usually one to bow down to social pressure, but sometimes it’s hard to be frugal because you can’t exactly run around letting everyone know you are debt free. I think people just think I am really poor and most of the time that’s okay with me but sometimes I have to admit I want to explain to people I have paid off my student loans, have no debts etc. Yes, I can be petty! :)

      It’s a lot easier to show off all your cool new clothes, toys, cars, etc. I think that’s why most of us choose to spend our money that way.

  11. Ive got you beat, i have 222, xxx miles on my Ford F150 :)(that we paid $0 for)

    • You paid nothing for it?! That is amazing!

      • well, it was my father in laws for a year and a half(he bought it new in 1998) then he gave it to us. hubbys 1990 dodge ram also belonged to fil. i think it has more miles on it than my ford :)

        its going to suck when we actually have to buy a vehicle(my previous 2 cars were hand me downs from mil)

  12. Remind your children that you get to stay home with them, while other moms may have to work. We have not been able to buy or do everything with the work choices we have made. Being at home was one of our goals for me.

    One of my piano students commented that she wished that her mom would stay home like me. I don’t think she realized that I was “working at home” at the time.

    • Yes. I think that’s another thing that needs to be spun in a positive light. Sometimes I get the “but you just stay home, mom.” huh?! We have to talk about that one. ;)

  13. Debbie Jennings says:

    You know, we also have 2 paid for vehicles. One is a 1999 Plymouth van. Lots of miles on it. The other is a 2005 GMC Cobalt. Both get good gas mileage. The cobalt has less than 30,000 miles on it. Most of them were put on going 300 miles to Galveston or Bolivar Peninsula where my sister lives. I love it that we don’t have a car payment any more. I will be glad when we no longer have a house payment. We still lack several years on the house, but we are shortening that time by paying more than the regular house payment amount. It cuts time off as the extra goes to the principle.

  14. Thank you so much for this post! Sometimes I need a reminder that there are people out there living like us. The people I seem to spend the most time with always seem to be complaining about debt… then they decide to go shopping, out to eat, have a bunch of drinks, and put it all on their credit cards or debit cards in the account that is going to be over balance when all the checks are sent through. (And might I add, they make A LOT more than our one income family does…. and never pay their bills unless something gets turned off.) It seems odd to me that they can’t see that they’re living in this cycle, but it’s not my place to tell them either. All I do is remind them that they could always sit down with me and I could try to help them set up a budget that they could live with (to no avail). All I can do is keep praying for them! (Thank goodness we like to be homebodies!)

    • Debbie Jennings says:

      I think we are Home Makers! We make houses into homes. And I agree! Homemade cookies taste better and are better for us than store bought with all their preservatives. If preservatives are good for us, then why don’t I look like I am in my 20s instead of my 60s

    • I fail to see how people don’t realize that (most) debt issues are about CHOICES. We can’t have it all… at least not all at once. ;)

  15. I just took pics of my car rolling 200k. Glad I’m not alone.

  16. Being frugal with children has its challenges. I have two teenagers 15 & 16 and believe me I understand. But when I think about our financial goals and how they will reap the benefits (paying their college tuition in cash) I know my husband and I are doing the right thing.

    • I’m not dreading those teenage years, but they certainly come with unique challenges. I do hope that we are setting a solid foundation so the kids can at least appreciate our lifestyle, even if they don’t “like” it. ;)

  17. We’re living high on the hog because our car (yes, we only have ONE) is a luxurious 2005. We got it in 2009 and it felt so new!

    In our part of town and at my son’s school most people don’t have super nice cars. There are some but there are also a lot of older vehicles. Most people aren’t walking around in high end designer clothes either. For both things I do think it’s the part of the city we live in which is good. Even so I know the day is going to come when our kids wish we had cooler and fancier stuff. Just part of growing up.

    My husband works at a large corporation that treats it’s employees very well and sometimes it is hard not to compare ourselves to his coworkers. Like wonder how they are able to afford the cars they have and vacations they take. Usually the answer is two adults, with or without kids, who have the same kind of income my husband does. I’m a musician so even when I was working “full time” I made barely half what my husband does. And that was before the market tanked. Right now I work part time but after this semester I’m scaling way back for lifestyle reasons. I totally support Moms who work because they like their jobs or even want a certain lifestyle but I wish more of us could own our choices. When you live in a fancy house, drive super nice cars, and send your kids to private school you are choosing a lifestyle that requires a higher income. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t mean that you *have* to work.

    About kids and cell phones, I would totally give one to my son within the next few years. We don’t have a landline so our kids will eventually “need” a phone they have access to. We also had an incident this fall where my FIL got to the bus stop a little late and my son ended up riding all the way across town to one of the high schools. In Milwaukee that’s not a good thing for a five year old. I was able to track him down through the bus company but there was some confusion and if he had a phone on him it would have made all of us feel better.

    But I’m talking a super barebones or even a pay as you go phone. Not anything fancy.

    • “When you live in a fancy house, drive super nice cars, and send your kids to private school you are choosing a lifestyle that requires a higher income. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t mean that you *have* to work. ” So, SO true.

      And yes, on the phone. Different circumstances. My kids won’t NEED them for a long while yet. ;)

    • You are so right about choosing a lifestyle. I’m a single mom now so I *have* to work, but before that I stayed home. We were completely broke, had junky cars, and the only reason I afforded any household items or diapers was with the blessing of couponing. I would hear my other mom friends bemoaning their lack of time with their kids, but I knew what they drove or what house they had, and I would think to myself, “you could downsize, and then you could enjoy whatever home you have because you’d BE there!” I long for the day when I can be a SAHM again – even if it means being broke! My kids are worth so much more than the things money can buy.

  18. Good timing! We are preparing to pay off our home loan in the next seven months (earlier if we get a big tax return), and then all we will have left is debt for land where we will someday farm! This is a good reminder to stay the course even after we have one major debt paid off.

  19. Great post. Sometimes it’s hard to remember your goals. I’m trying to dig out from debt after a series of automobile and health related unexpected expenses. Everybody wants their money now. I can’t wait until my savings account has a bit of a cushion again. ’07 Camry. My one and only *new* car, ever. I expect it to last a long time. It will be paid off soon. Yay!

  20. Love it! I’m taking a picture when ours rolls over. It’s paid for too and no way I would trade it in for a new one now. Now we need to get busy on that mortgage. I like being a cheapskate, it makes me as happy as having new things.

  21. Thanks Amy,

    We drive a 2001 Tahoe with 190K and we just sold our 2005 car with 100K to buy a 1998, yes 1998 minivan but get this only 40K on it! We have just paid off our credit cards, and now working on the school loans and then as you are trying to finish our basement and get a pool. We have been cash only since August and while it is sometimes hard – we are enjoying it. Thanks for the continue inspiration to trudge on.

  22. My accountant told me years ago that the best approach to car ownership is to buy a lease return (the bulk of the depreciation is paid for but the mileage still reasonably low) and to drive it until it falls apart. The other part of her advice: Start saving for the next one as soon as you purchase the first one. That advice taught me a lot about money management. It’s a good approach to take to so many things. You’re right though. The other side of the equation is that you must celebrate your victories. You work hard to accomplish them. Being proud of what you do and celebrating your accomplishments (and thiers) is the very best way to pass your values on to your kids.

    • Yes! Those first few thousand miles off a vehicle are SO costly in depreciation. I doubt we’ll ever buy new just because of that.

      • New vehicles are definitely NOT worth it! We bought a used Jeep and a few years later bought a brand new Sebring for my husband (my pre Dave Ramsey stupidity). We got so much less in the new vehicle than the used vehicle. It was an expensive lession, but one I hope to teach my daughters to avoid. Thankfully they are both paid for now!

  23. Congrats to everyone living the frugal life. It is very encouraging to be a part of the “over 150,000 mile” club!!

  24. When my twins were in 6th grade, they were in the same homeroom at school, and due to weather, they were let out early one day. When my daughter called me from the class phone to tell me to come get them, she informed me that she and her brother were *the only ones* who didn’t have cell phones and has to use the class phone. I didn’t really believe her until I got to school, and her homeroom teacher said, yes, they were the only ones in her class of 27 who didn’t break out the cell phone to notify parents. Both my kids survived the embarrassment ;-) and didn’t get cell phones until they were driving. I just couldn’t see the need before then. Even now, they rarely call anyone; it’s 99% texting. The peer pressure for stuff starts young and only gets worse as they get older. Glad you’re starting to impress especially the car issue now. Just wait until they’re 16 and *everyone else* has a new car! lol

    • Debbie Jennings says:

      Carolyn, this made me think back to when my son was about 12 years old. We were grocery shopping and he was telling me what kind of car he wanted me to buy him when he turned 16. I told him that if he wanted a car when he got his license then he needed to get a job and start saving his money. He told me he was going to have me arrested. I told him to go ahead. He saw a police officer in the store and told them he wanted them to arrest me for not buying him a car when he was 16. The officer was so cool. He told him to get a job and save his money. The look on his face was priceless. As a divorced mom of 3 at that time, I did good to keep them fed.

      • I know what you mean! It’s just the 3 of us, and I feel good if we have our bills met and a few dollars left over. Doesn’t happen as often as I would like unfortunately. ~~ When he was 14, my son asked what kind of car he was getting when they turned 16, and I told him if he wanted a Matchbox car for the top of his cake, that would work for me! lol He’s been looking for a job and has his first interview today, so keeping fingers crossed that he gets it. Then he can start saving for the truck he wants. I know it’s hard for them to go to school and see all the shiny new cars a lot of their classmates drive, but there are also a lot of good life lessons in the fact that they don’t have one. Jealousy, coveting, priorities, budgeting, thankfulness are just a few that come to mind.

    • Oh my goodness. Everyone in the 6th grade. That is crazy! (But I bet it will be more and more common as people get rid of their land lines and moms aren’t home when the kids get home…)

  25. I really need to enjoy those Sonic slush moments more. I can be frugal, but being joyful and frugal is harder for me. Glad to know that we’re not the only ones with a basement issue. ;)

  26. My 1996 Nissan Maxima rolled over 200,000 a few months ago. I took a picture. It’s now at 207k and still going strong! I really don’t think my life would be any better if I were driving something newer. We have plenty of money in the bank, but I would much prefer to spend the money finishing our basement and giving us more living space than on a new car.

  27. Right on! I drive a 98 Volvo that has been paid off for years. It has almost 180,000 miles on it.
    The good news is that I save some of the money that could have gone to a car payment so that when it finally is time for a new vehicle, I can pay with cash!

  28. I can say that I am so, so thankful that I have never borrowed money to pay for a vehicle. There are other plus sides to driving older vehicles too! Here, if your car is more than 12 years old, I believe, you can get lifetime tags for your license plates, car insurance is cheaper. I found that keeping up with the maintenance is so important. I have one car with 225K on it (A 1993 Buick Skylark) and another with 108K miles on it…our “new” van a Honda Oddessy. By careful saving and planning, we have been able to pay for them with cash, which is so nice!!
    I think that our sense of entitlement and status has gone way too far in this country. The buy now, pay later is such horrible thing! We lost out on so many good life lessons when we follow that.

    • Buy now, pay later is super scary! The low insurance and tags prices are definitely an amazing benefit to driving older vehicles.

  29. Three cheers for old, paid-for vehicles!! Until this past year, my husband and I were both driving cars that our parents handed down to us when we were in college (a 1996 Lumina and 1996 Camry). Those cars got us through college, TWO graduate degrees for my hubby, 8 years of marriage, and two kids before we finally sold them this summer and bought a new-to-us van (paid in full!). They had 240,000 and 205,000 miles on them and they were still great cars. We never would have made it through my husband’s grad school degrees without debt and with me being able to stay home with my girls if we had to make car payments. We’re planning to drive the next one over 200,000 as well!

  30. My best friend drives a 2004 Yukon. The other day I was driving with her and saw that it only has 62,000km on it. Wow!!! I’ll never be able to keep my kilometers that low. (and yes, we’re in Canada.)

  31. Debbie Jennings says:

    OK, looked today at the mileage on my 2005 GMC Cobalt. It has 25,115 approximate miles on it. I think the ’99 Plymouth Van has turned over it’s 100,000 mile mark. But after I got the Cobalt, hubby drove the van to work and back.

  32. I love the 16oz lesson! I still try to practice it as an adult – our corner ice cream place is DELICIOUS and relatively affordable as far as ice cream places go, but we rarely go there – making each trip a treat, instead of just an occurances.

    Same with Starbucks! The other night hubs and I got Starbucks and wandered around the store for 2 hours. We didn’t buy anything but had fun savoring our drinks, “window” shopping and being together.

  33. My son saved up his own money for a DS. He did extra chores for pay (we also have chores that are just done without pay because we are all part of this family). He also had some birthday money that he was saving towards it. It was going to take quite awhile just to buy the DS and that didn’t include any games. Then one day my friend said that her son was going to be selling his DS. My son was thrilled to buy a used one for half the price of a new one! He bought it for $60 and she threw in 6 games for free!! It was a great lesson for him because he already had $80 saved up at that time so he still had $20 left and he didn’t need to buy any games!

  34. Great post on putting things into perspective and denying yourself for the greater goal! Thanks for the encouragement. I recently found a quote I have to keep looking at from time to time: “Are you trading what you want most for what you want at this moment?” I’ve come to realize how much of a short-term thinker I am.

  35. Phew! This post couldn’t have come at a better time! My tax return is so close to being in my bank that I can almost taste it! On paper I’ve got a great plan that will set me up for success for the rest of the year, but for the past week I’ve worked up quite a list of “wants”. This post caught my eye and said to me “Hey you! Aren’t you one of those frugal people this article is talking about?” And my mind said “ooohhh yeaaahhhhh I forgot!” LOL. Good timing! :)

    • Oh, this IS a good time of year to talk about such things, right? Our tax return goes directly into investments, but OH MY how tempting to do something FUN with it!

  36. We’re a one-car family, and have been since we bought out current vehicle. It’s 7 years old, and has 78, 651 miles on it. We really don’t go many places.

    Our frugal celebrations are different than yours. They involve things like paying board games at home with mom and dad. Spending even just a little money isn’t something we can afford right now, so we find ways to make do with waht we have at home.

  37. I really enjoyed this post. :)

    We are driving a hand-me-down Volvo station wagon that my parents bought when I was 11 (I’m 22 now). It is hovering at around 180K miles, but it’s still running–AND there’s enough room in the bench seat for that third car seat we’re going to add to the mix this fall…so I think we’ll just keep it until we have a 4th kiddo or it stops running. :o)

  38. I had to chuckle a bit at reading this because our cars are a 1993 and a 1997 and we are hoping to purchase at least a 2001 vehicle in the near future. Saying that, our 1993 Toyota Camry purchased several years ago, is the best car I have ever driven. I agree that perspective is the key to successful frugal living!

  39. Thanks for the encouragement today! It’s difficult sometimes to see the things other are able to purchase (new clothes, new electronics, new household items, fancy photography of their kids, generous gifts for the holidays) and not wish we could buy those same things. But we’re hoping to pay off our second mortgage this spring, and I’m saving up to be a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding this summer. Those things are worth more to us. Thanks for reminding me to celebrate along the way!

  40. Thank you so much for this — we are just getting started in our debt free quest but we WILL do it!!!! All of you on here are an inspiration! Thank you so much and God bless!

  41. I loved reading your post! I can relate! I drive a ’01 Rav. It just hit 90,000 a week ago! I was sooo excited! PLUS, we were finally able to buy some new tires for it and they were put on last Sat.. I feel like I have a whole new car! I brag about the fact that I can still play cassettes in it! ;)

    • I love so much that you play cassettes in your vehicle. We do, too! I nearly CRIED last year when my Amy Grant Christmas cassette bit the dust and we couldn’t play it. So sad. LOL

  42. This driver of a 10-year-old “new to me” PAID FOR minivan couldn’t agree with you more. But it is important to have a little fun every now and then; I don’t think that most people can sustain “gazelle like intensity” forever. I just started a modified version of Elizabeth Warren’s 50/30/20 system, with the “want” money in an envelope; simultaneously I feel like I have more fun money, yet am spending less. Go figure.

    • I’ve never heard of that system! May need to check it out.

      • It’s from her book “All Your Worth.” It’s the simplest money plan I have ever come across, especially if you are debt free (or debt free except for the house) already but still need to work on plumping up the savings! I have 5 kids (4 of them under 6) and so for me, simple is better because simple is something I actually have a shot at keeping up with!

  43. My favoritve feature on my new to me van is that it is paid for!

  44. Great article and accomplishment, but I have to ask…

    ARE YOU REALLY going 70 mph in that picture, driving, and taking a pic of your dash? Cuz that’s what it looks like. eek. Be careful!

    • That’s the beauty of digital photography. I can click in the “general direction” of my subject about 20 times, and delete the 19 that didn’t work. LOL (eyes on the road)

  45. We have a 1986 1/2 Nissan pickup with only 83,000 miles on it!

  46. We have the same van! Well, mine is an ’03, but it looks the same. Except that my odometer is only at about 115k. It’s my van from God, paid cash last year with “my half” of the tax refund, and it holds three kids in car seats just beautifully. Way better than the paid-off car, which incidentally I never got around to selling, and it’s now come in very handy when my boyfriend’s car bit the dust. We are now saving and weighing options on repairs or buying another used car, but it will be with cash and that’s what we’ll always do. No stress of a car payment every month, and nobody owns it but us!

  47. I love this! Celebrating those frugal milestones! Thanks for the encouraging article!

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