Our debt-free journey taught me really powerful habits. But sometimes those habits turn into something unhealthy. Here is how $6 has changed our lives and how you can make it work for you!
If you like this story, you might enjoy more from our Frugal Kitchen.
My Debt-Free Habit
Last week I had a crisis in the middle of Walmart.
It’s a little embarrassing to share, but I thought it helped illustrate some of the healthy habits Chris and I developed in our debt-free journey. It also highlights the risk of swinging too far in an unhealthy direction.
When you are trying to save money and live debt-free, saying “no” is vital. However, some of us get so used to living in survival mode that we don’t know how to relax again.
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The Walmart Crisis
You know you’ve lived through being broke for a long time when you find an item that is not on your grocery list – and deciding whether to buy it turns into an emotional crisis.
First, let’s agree that taking small children into Walmart is always a crisis. This never helps my decision-making skills.
This time, while in Walmart, I ran across an item I had been looking for for 11 years.
I ran though all the reasons why we shouldn’t get it:
- We just hit our debt-free milestone, and it cost a lot of money
- And then a few weeks ago, our 20 year-old family vehicle literally blew up in the parking lot. No one got hurt, but it turns out smoke and steam look identical when you’re trapped in the car with all of your children. So we replaced it sooner than we expected, and our resources are drained
- We are rebuilding our savings. That is our focus right now
- We lived without this item for 11 years. It is obviously not a need
I ran through all the reasons we should get it:
- We would use it every day
- 11 years. This is not an impulse buy
- It’s extremely practical
- Also, it only costs $6
That last reason made me realize something.
We lived for a lot of years in a budget crisis. We said no to everything besides necessities for a long time.
And when we climbed out of the crisis debt-free, we had audacious goals that required a lot of intention. We replaced a couple of cars (too many, ugh), we paid for insane medical bills, and we bought our little townhouse mortgage-free. We also wanted to take our kids to meet their family in Greece.
As a result, I am really good at saying no.
But a day comes when it is okay to say yes.
It’s Not About the Butter Dish
Some of us are in a season – or have lived through seasons – where $6 is a big deal. We have to say no to every $6 impulse.
However, for many people reading this blog, $6 for a butter dish is not that big a deal.
It’s the $6 habit that makes the difference.
When you say yes to a $6 impulse every day for a month, that’s $180.
In a year, that is $2,190.
That is a plane ticket to somewhere awesome. That’s a credit card balance paid off forever. That’s a Craigslist car to get you to work and back while you build your savings.
The $6 habit matters.
When I shared this story on Instagram, Rebecca messaged me her real-life example:
So today we sat down and looked at all the “butter dish” purchases. I’m embarrassed to say that it ADDED UP to a HUGE monthly expense!!! So I wanted to say thank you for bringing to light the very simple things that actually aren’t simple when we dig a little deeper. Here’s to saving all that butter dish money this next month!!Rebecca, from Instagram
Way to go, Rebecca!
What Will $6 a Day Do for You?
I know it’s hard to say no – especially when you feel like you say it all the time. But you are doing a good job. Your future self will thank you for saying no.
When you finally drive to the home you worked so hard to purchase, or you get on the plane bound for Europe with your kids, you will be grateful for the $6 habit. You might even cry like a baby and embarrass your kids.
Keep saying no to the little things so that one day you can say a big, juicy, debt-free YES.
And when you come across a butter dish that you’ve been waiting 11 years to purchase, you can say yes to that too.
What You Can Do Now:
Have you ever practiced the $6 habit?
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This really hit me hard. Thank you!!!
You’re welcome! The experience (as silly as it maybe was) really opened my eyes.
Thank you for sharing. It is hard when your in survival mode for so long. It is by no means silly and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about the walmart moment. I am new to your site and still going through everything. I am ready to finish our debt snowball and had a moment myself last month out in the car before I went in. I just couldn’t deal with anymore butter dishes that day. I turned my car around and went home. So Thank you again sometimes we feel alone on this journey and inspiring families share so others may learn. That is what will change the world for the better is people helping people.
Thank you so much, Gina! Glad to know I’m not the only one.