Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Am Not Lucky, I Am Frugal

Last week a financial planner pinged me for a meeting.  Having never met she was interested in getting to know my as an estate planning and probate attorney, hoping one day I might refer her services.  And then her more immediate interest, offering financial planning services to my me and my husband.  Was I free for lunch?

My reply, as it is to any request for coffee or lunch these days was, thank you but I am working a part-time schedule this summer so that I can spend more time with my young children, and those part-time hours are entirely devoted to serving clients.  Coffee would be an option this fall, when school is back in session and I return to my 5 days a week at the office.  In her response she said she would reach out in late August and noted that I was "lucky" to be able to take that time off in the summer.

Lucky?  No, I am not lucky.  I am frugal, and I know my priorities.  Stepping back from longer days at the office means I have more time to be with my kids, especially during the years they still want to hang out with Mama (I know those tween and teen years can be touchy).  But it is also recognizing the benefit my health receives from slowing down.  That frugal pedometer I bought a few months ago reinforces the fact that my job is sedentary, very sedentary.  Hours at the office followed by kid pick-up from school make preparing a healthy home cooked meal harder, and creates the question of when and how can I work in a work out.  My summer hours allow for lazy mornings, decent thought on what to make for meal, and ample time to take long walks with the kids or fit in a solo run.  In my eyes, this move is a necessary for a long and healthful life.  So no, it is not luck that gives me this opportunity, it is a frugal mindset.

There are the small, daily frugal moves, such as reading coupons to maximize their effect on my budget as well as a commitment to cook at home as often as possible.

There the big frugal decisions -- such as not financing purchases such as cars, vacations, appliances, etc.  We may use a credit card at the point of purchase, but it is paid in full each month.  And those cards also pay us cash back at the years end.

And there are the huge frugal decisions.  To have a wedding proceeding rather than a full-blown wedding party.  To skip an engagement ring and opt for simple wedding bands.  Setting up my own legal practice where I am in total control of my calendar. Purchasing an inexpensive home on a busy road (drives the price down and we are always the first to be plowed out in the winter) to self-directly our financial investments to save costs.

Day in and day out our frugal decisions allow me the freedom to say, for the next 12 weeks I am working two afternoons, Fridays, and as needed by appointment.  For that, I am thankful!

Hello Summer 2015!

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