Confessions from a Compulsive Saver

Confessions from a Compulsive Saver

My husband and I purchased a house in 2015 when he retired from the Army. It was built in 1973, and while a few rooms had received some minor facelifts, most of its 70’s glory was still intact. But we were excited anyway, to finally make something our own, after years of living in government housing and rentals. We negotiated a good deal on the house, and got it inspected so we had no surprises. We had been saving for this very day. We were ready.

Most of the smaller projects, we could do ourselves or fit into our monthly budget. But it finally came down to doing one of the more costly items to the house. We set about getting 3 bids for the work and still we were astounded by the cost. We had the money to do the work, but it was going to wipe out most of what we had saved. We felt almost paralyzed. So, we went back to the business of the small tasks again, and before we knew it a year had gone by. We priced the job again, knowing we really wanted to have this project done. Would you believe the cost had gone up by 20%! Materials, labor shortages, all sorts of reasons were given as to why the prices had gone up so dramatically in one year. We were deflated, asking ourselves if we should wait yet again. Maybe the prices will go down. But what if they continue to rise? How long should we wait to achieve this goal that will bring us joy? What is holding us back from spending the money?

If you are secretly like me and often have trouble spending, here are some tips that I think will help:

  1. Think about the goal (what you are spending the money on). Is it going to enhance your life or someone else that you love? Make sure that it is in line with your values.
  2. Always shop around and do your research. That way, even if you must spend more than you wanted, you know you found the best product or service at the best available price.
  3. Be ready to make modifications to your goals like adjusting the timeline or changing something to lower the cost. For example, we did the demolition on our kitchen ourselves instead of the installation crew and that saved a few thousand dollars. It only cost me a few hours of my time and sweat!
  4. It could behoove you to talk to a financial advisor. Advisors can give a non-biased opinion on how your money and goals intersect with each other. Someone to help you pull in the reigns if you’re a spender and someone to nudge you when you’re a compulsive saver.

After reviewing our goals and finances, we have redesigned the project to meet our expectations of the new costs and are getting quotes yet again. Hopefully, by 2022, construction will be underway.

MainStreet Team
MainStreet Team

MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc., an independent fee-only financial planning firm was founded in Maryland in 2002 by Jim Ludwick, CFP® who passionately believed that financial planning advice should be accessible to people from all walks of life without product sales and investment management services. In 2006 Anna Sergunina, CFP® joined the team and together they grew MainStreet Financial to a nationally recognized company, with a team of 6 staff members and 5 offices across the country.

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