I've learned so much over the past five years, and enjoy nothing more than finding a new blogger & reading their journey end to end. There are so many amazing stories out there, and I love reading the tips & tricks everyone else uses for frugal fun, cost savings, meal planning, etc.
So, what have I learned exactly?
- I've realized that my current job/career is costing me a lot, even though it pays well. This has been part of a larger realization that earning a bunch of money isn't the end goal in my life. It's enjoyment, having enough money to take care of my family, but not working so hard I don't get to enjoy it. This has been a *journey* rather than a wake up & understand it moment. ;-) More details on this in the future, but this is something I've wrestled with for quite some time now.
- I previously thought I was reasonably frugal & I definitely wasn't! What an eye opener once I started tracking my spending.
- I'm highly motivated by goals, tracking & measuring progress. My favorite time of the year is the end of December/beginning of January. I get so excited to track my progress for the year & set new goals!
- I still love to travel - our budget has always reflected this.
- We've grown our net worth from $680K (October, 2011) to $2.35M (today). This has been the result of many changes, but the highlights would be: paying off all debt (minus the mortgages). We didn't have much to start with, but had taken a loan from our 401K to refinance into a smaller mortgage. It's also due to many, many smaller changes. Additional principle payments, reducing our expenses, and focusing on the big picture. It's also fair to say that our income has grown pretty drastically in the past few years. But, with that has come much higher housing expenses.
- During the five years, I've had quite a journey with my health. I started running, fell in love with running, started doing distance events (half marathons), & then found out I had lupus. I'm still adjusting to life with a lot less energy. I weigh 6 pounds more than I did 5 years ago.
- The kids are growing up too quickly. Looking back on the pictures, I can't believe how fast it's gone. I really need to do a better job of stopping to enjoy along the way.
And, perhaps most importantly for myself. . . I want so much less. Well, actually a want a lot. I want time to relax & enjoy my life, time with my boys, my husband & my friends & family. But, my desire for material items has dropped tremendously. It used to be a hardship & a sacrifice not to shop on the weekend & treat myself to a new top or a pedicure, or drinks out with friends. Now I look at all of those decisions as opportunities to reduce the time I need to stay at my employer. We still have a lot of fun, spend plenty of money on splurges, but it no longer feels like a sacrifice to cut back our spending.
I can't wait to see what the next five years hold! Thank you so much for coming along on this journey with me.