Monday, August 3, 2009

Thoughts to the Newlyweds

There is a sweet couple at church getting married next weekend. A young couple, starting out fresh in the world, they have ...well, nothing. I have so many good wishes, prayers, for them both. It is so hard to be starting out, especially in this day and age.

I was thinking about what to tell them. Words of "wisdom" and lessons I learned.'s okay to not have money, but don't let the stress of not having money tear you apart. When I was newly married and in college, we were oh-so-very broke. And the fears of not being able to pay the bills, wondering where food was going to come from, all those anxieties would cause each of us to lash out at the other. It wasn't meanness, it was fear, and we didn't know how to talk about those fears. It is so important to be able to join together and trust the other person, to know that you are in it together, rather than looking at the other person and thinking they are doing something foolish or to hurt you. It is a rough lesson. Important to keep in mind that you are working together, not against each other.

There are ways to be frugal. There are fabulous books in the library about ways to cut costs, plus tons of sites on the internet. It is worth reading and finding the tips that work best in your situation. If you have the finances, make changes slowly. If you cut back too strongly, you feel deprived. Living frugally isn't just about your actions, it is about a mind-set. Knowing that you are making conscious choices and prioritizing what is important to you, that helps make the sacrifices worth it.

Recognize that your parents and older friends didn't get all that they have overnight. Most of us went through the "poor" period of our lives, and the nice things most of us do have, came over time.

Take good care of what you do have. I have found that if I keep what I do have clean and tidy, I don't feel driven to need to replace it. This means sewing back on a loose button, hemming pants so they fit just right, keeping my car clean on the inside--having pride in what I do have.

Thinking outside the box. When hubby and I do eat out, we usually buy an appetizer and split an entree. Or go to happy hour (you can order lemonade or a soda, but the food is inexpensive for a treat!). For fast food, we order one combo meal, upsize it, and order a second sandwich from the dollar menu.

Of course, eating at home is far less expensive! Brew coffee at home and take it in a mug with you instead of hitting the coffee shop. Even buying frozen dinners at a dollar a piece and taking that for lunch is less expensive than fast food.

There is more. So much more, but that is a start. I wish all the best for them, and that they were able to have all they need. But I believe and trust that they will do well.

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