Personal Finance Tips – You’re Not Done Learning Yet

ID-100246950I was just thinking to myself the other day that, after a year and a half of learning personal finance tips to help us pay off our debt, that I knew all that I needed to know.  I was getting bored, honestly.  This point in our journey to debt free is a bit difficult, because we’re kind of sailing now, only at a super slow pace.  We’ve learned how to budget, how to spend-track, and how to say “no” to the Joneses.  We’ve learned lots about side hustling and earning extra income.  Now we’re just kind of trudging through the mud to the finish line.  We started our journey with a 65% debt-to-income ratio, so it’s a bit slow-going, but we’re moving forward.  We’re spending our money on  what’s truly important to us, and we’ve let the other spending go by the wayside. 

Then, I found this post today over at First Quarter Finance, entitled Become Frugal With 1 Trick.  I’m of the belief that we can all become at least a little bit more frugal, so I wanted to learn what this one supposed trick was.  I wasn’t expecting to learn anything, honestly (see above and how pride had kicked in), but, Eureka, I did!!!

I was reminded of the fact that humans, in all honesty, need very little with the exception of food, water, shelter and love.  The rest is just “stuff”.  This is where the true crossroads of value-based spending intersects with human greed.  Not that all “want” purchases are greedy, but are those things you want really necessary?  Are they really going to bring value to your life?  Or, are they a time-sucking, money-sucking ball and chain?

This is where it’s important to, if you’re really committed to debt freedom and/or financial independence, have a heart-to-heart with your own self.

For instance, our washer and dryer are really starting to crap out.  The agitator on the washer is weak, so is the spin cycle.  The dryer is starting to not dry with its usual zest and it’s an energy hog.  I would love to have a new washer and dryer.  We could really use a new washer and dryer.  And yesterday we were at the local home improvement store, and there was a nice, pretty set on clearance, washer and dryer both, for the total price of $700.

Man, was it a huge temptation for me.  But as we sat and thought about that $700, which would have had to go on credit, I might add, we decided that we wanted financial freedom more.  It wasn’t an easy decision to walk away, but we did.

I had thought that this was just another example of facing and overcoming temptation, but I learned today from Will’s post that:

Saving money on stupid stuff is just as stupid as buying the stuff in the first place.

And I learned that I’m not yet done learning all there is to learn.  There are many more personal finance tips out there that can help to encourage and strengthen us as we press on in our journey to debt freedom.

Photo credit: Free Digital Photos

65 comments

  1. Isn’t it funny how we think we’ve learned all there is to learn in certain areas, only to see there is something else out there we needed to learn? 🙂 At the end of the day we do need only so little and the extra is just fluff. Sure, it may be fun, but is not usually something we truly need. That said, kudos to you for walking away from that situation. 🙂

  2. The Stoic says:

    It does seem like once you’ve learned some of the big lessons in personal finance the real work starts of applying those lessons and that can be a little more difficult and boring.

    Have you thought of possibly repairing you current washer/dryer? I haven’t done much small appliance repair myself, but it may be worth looking into even if you only end up repairing one them. It could save you money and make you feel great in the process.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Stoic! I think Rick can likely repair the dryer (he replaced a heating element in our old dryer once) but I’m pretty sure the washer is just getting old and tired. For now though, we’ll make due. At least I’m not washing by hand, right? 🙂

  3. This is a fresh reminder that we can all do a little more. It’s important to keep pushing and stretching so we grow into the best versions of ourselves, especially when it comes to being financially independent and successful.

  4. Will says:

    Laurie!!!

    Congrats on saying no to the washer/dryer set (or rather, congrats on saying yes to staying $700 closer to debt freedom)!

    And thank you so much for the kind words!! I try to write original content. I’m glad the post helped you a little!

    …I’ve got a big grin on my face right now! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, Amen to $700 closer, Will! Great post – thanks for writing it, and glad to have brought a smile to your face. 🙂

  5. Brit says:

    I learn new things everyday about our finances and about myself. Even after you reach your financial goal you will still learn. Right now I am having the same issues when it comes to my wedding plannin. Temptations are all over!! LOL I’m very proud of you for walking away from that $700 purchase. I know is hard but you did the right decision for now.

    • Laurie says:

      I think so too, Brit. And I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to reign in the spending when you’re planning a wedding and have no debt!!! You can do it, though. I just know your wedding will be beautiful AND frugal. 🙂

  6. I love it when you can learn something new! It’s a fantastic feeling. I feel like with personal finance it’s definitely a never-ending journey as there is always something new to experience!

  7. Laurie,

    Your posts are always so sincere and hit the nail on the head! A new washer and dryer would’ve been SO easy to justify – time saving, energy saving, etc. Congratulations!!

  8. Kim says:

    When you stop learning is usually when you slide back in the other direction. I think that applies to finances and just about everything else in life. Thinking you know it all is kind of like thinking you’re perfect, and we all know that’s just impossible!

    • Laurie says:

      Excellent point, Kim!!! Which is why I’m so very glad I have so many PF mentors like you to continually learn from. 🙂

  9. I have to admit that I’ve had that thought as well…that I know that there is to know about this topic. But I’m continually amazed the new ideas and tips that those in this blogging community come up with, and I am always inspired by them. It’s so true that we humans only have a few needs (true needs), and we can be happy if those needs are fulfilled.

    • Laurie says:

      It really is amazing what people come up with. Nearly every week there’s at least one post that inspires me, or cuts my pride back down to size. 🙂

  10. It’s the motivational posts like the one you referenced (as well as YOUR post itself) that keep me reading PF blogs, Laurie. We all need that kick in the shorts every now and then to keep us at the top of our game. 🙂

  11. Good for you for walking away! That would be a tough one to resist for sure. I’m kinda on auto-pilot now. I’m only 6 months in but I’ve got my budget figured out for the most part and now I’m just trying to earn extra $$ where I can without burning myself out at the same time. It can still be hard to resist purchases sometimes, but for the most part I’m just going along now. But that certainly doesn’t mean I’ve learned everything I can learn. I’m glad you pointed out that there’s always more to learn!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, that’s where we are, and why I found myself kind of getting a bit poo-poo-ish about learning more. That auto-pilot stage can be dangerous! 🙂

  12. Nicola says:

    I think that there’s always something to learn and that just when you think you’ve mastered something, another thing pops up! Keeps us on our toes 🙂

  13. I agree – we are never done learning. It seems like every time we think we know it all, we learn something new. 🙂 I can imagine how tempting that new washer and dryer was to you and Rick and I’m so glad that you slowed down and figured out if it made sense for you. And honored your most important goal right now – reaching financial freedom. Good for you!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Shannon. 🙂 It was a tough call – there were so many reasons to make the purchase: good reasons!!!! But we both agreed we wanted financial freedom more.

  14. I hear you about getting bored. I’m two years in now as a personal finance blogger and it’s becoming harder to think of stuff to write. I’ve also read thousands and thousands of blog posts on personal finance so it’s all becoming “the same” for the most part. Then last night I sat down and really thought about it and I was able to think of something like 10 post ideas. I also realized there is a ton to learn and write about as far as investing goes, which I’ve done little as far as actual content creation on the topic.

    • Laurie says:

      Like Travis wrote earlier this week, we have to put in EFFORT if we want to succeed. Good for you for challenging yourself, DC. 🙂

  15. E.M. says:

    Woohoo, I’m so glad you walked away from that purchase. Isn’t it empowering to know you’re in control? I do try to live with less, as most things that make me happy are not material things. I think I’m always learning, or at least getting a new perspective, on my finances.

    • Laurie says:

      It is empowering, E.M. It helps us to know that we’ll be able to say “no” in the future too, and that’s SO important.

  16. There’s always something to learn Laurie even after you are debt free. I agree that if one wants to become debt free they have to have a heart to heart. Some people who want to don’t follow through because at the first sign of trouble they give up. Never give up, pick up and keep on trying.

    • Laurie says:

      That was us for years, Mr. CBB. We’d get three days in and panic! “Never give up” is one of the main keys to success, in any arena.

  17. I have been known to hand wash in the sink just to save quarters from going into the laundry machine. $700 seems an awful lot for washing and drying, but what do I know, having never purchased that particular appliance. Good work on the saving money and learning parts.

    • Laurie says:

      $700 is actually a super good deal here, Brad. A super basic new set usually runs no less than $900 or $1000, but I’m still glad we said “no”. 🙂 LOVE that you’ve washed clothes in the sink!!! Now, that’s frugal!

  18. I honestly feel like I am taught a new lesson everyday, and I truly feel as though we are being pushed to learn those lessons and some are easier than others. I know that it was a hard decision for you and Rick, but it’s true, you have a bigger goal ahead of you that is more important than a washer and dryer.

  19. I noticed that some of the finance lessons I’m start to read seem old hat to me – on the flip side, there are times I’ve read the same thing a bunch of different ways and then it finally hits home. I think I worry about it more from the writer standpoint when I’m writing down tips I’ve been using :0P

  20. I definitely fall into the ‘know-it-all’ trap, and pretty regularly, too. Being around so many other smart PF bloggers helps me keep perspective though. As always, I am not so smart…

  21. I love this Laurie! So true! I think there is always a little new hidden nugget to be found to keep us inspired to keep going and become financially free…or wherever we want to be financially. I think that’s why every once in awhile I go to the library and read yet another personal finance book. There is always a new perspective when it comes to personal finance. I’m going to read that article now..

  22. I can relate, Laurie. Sometimes I think my brain is full and I know everything I need to know, then someone schools me. And I’m not done learning! That is a good lesson though. I know that I’ve bought stuff just because on sale, regardless of whether or not I needed it. And I bet you can guess which side of the equation it most likely fell into … a want. And sometimes not even a want, just more conditioned to respond positively to a sale. UGH. So thanks, Laurie – for giving me another nugget to chew on. 🙂 Happy Monday, my friend!

  23. Hey Laurie – Dontcha find that you sort of hit a plateau and then cruise along at that level for a while and then something else motivates you, or causes you to tweak what you’re doing and this helps to improve what you thought was impossible to improve any more? No? Oh well, carry on then. {smirk} 😉

  24. anna says:

    Great job on not listening to the siren songs of the washer/dryer, Laurie! I agree that anything beyond the essential is just stuff, so that’s an enlightening concept. Hard to put in practice, but I’ll be mindful of it when temptation sneaks in!

  25. Thanks for the post. It is always to be reminded of how you are never done learning no matter what your age is. I think people can forget that sometimes. I am still young and I know still have much to learn.

    • Laurie says:

      It won’t change much as you get older, Girl. Even at nearly 47, I’m finding there is still much to be learned. Being willing to keep learning is the key. 🙂

  26. Well done from walking away from that temptation Laurie. I think we can all learn something new from someone else even if we’ve already learned a ton (I’ve still got a lot to learn lol). We should never stop learning!

    • Laurie says:

      Then we’ll replace them. We’re slowly saving up some cash here and there, but the majority of our “extra” money is going toward debt repayment.

  27. Jason @ Phroogal says:

    Temptations are everywhere. I go through a question process before buying something. Do I need it? Do I need it now? What would happen if I don’t have it?

    • Laurie says:

      I love the “What would happen if I don’t have it?” question. I’ll bet most times, for most people, the answer is “nothing”. 🙂

  28. It’s so true there is always something new to learn, and having that mindset will keep your life interesting and exciting. But most times it’s really just a different perspective or way of thinking, not necessarily a brand new learning, that really has a huge impact on me.

    All these different perspective really give you more fire power to help you decide and work towards the most important things in your own life – thanks for highlighting this great message Laurie!

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