Keep Your Focus on Frugality

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Having a spouse or other friend remind you of your financial goals is a great way to stay focused on the bigger picture.

hotel room

You remember a few months ago when I wrote about that the life we didn’t choose? That life filled with plane tickets, dinners out, and room service.

Sometimes I forget.

Recently, I looked at our calendar for the fall and saw that every week was peppered with lots of stuff to do. If it wasn’t book deadlines, doctors appointments or science class, it was lots and lots of hockey.

Anyone who has more than one child in organized sports will understand the mental and physical gymnastics involved in coordinating schedules during a sports season. That is why we only do one sport at our house. If you want to do a sport, you do hockey. At least these days.

So, when I saw a few days’ break in the schedule, a random Saturday without games or a Sunday through Tuesday without any obligations. I grabbed them. These are serving as our fall vacation this year. For the last three years since we got out of debt, we’ve taken an extended vacation in the fall. This year, the blanks on the calendar did not align until now.

fishparents sd bay

The singleton Saturday got marked as a Parents-Only 24-Hour Date, while the Sunday through Tuesday will serve as a mini trip north to see Grampa Lee. We haven’t seen him since before his heart attack. The girls are counting down the days; they are so excited to feed horses, chase cats, and be the center of their grandparents’ attention.

As I started to plan our Parents-Only 24-Hour Date, I started dreaming big dreams: fancy hotel by the bay, meals out at elegant restaurants, maybe even renting a sports car. I dunno, maybe I was having a midlife crisis or something. (My last book deadline was pretty rough!)

Hubs, on the other hand, kept his head on. When I started quoting hotel prices, he hesitated. He suggested we not commit to something yet. Since we live so close to downtown, there was no reason we couldn’t survey the territory a little more closely before committing.

At first I had visions of hauling my suitcase from hotel to hotel, looking for the best deal. Well, we live here, it’s not like we’re traveling to another city and really do need to find accommodations. We could bide our time and do some homework.

His hesitation was enough to bring me to my senses. $179 a night?! $40 filet mignon? $8 scoops of ice cream from room service?!

Keep your focus.

But then I realized that he was right. We didn’t need to spend a lot of money to achieve our goals. What was our focus, anyway?!

To enjoy a change of pace and a change of scenery. To relax. To regroup without the distractions of home and family. To explore our city with a bargain hunter’s eye. To enjoy one another.

Maintaining your focus, keeping your goals in mind is the best way to direct your budget.

Remembering what’s important, clarifying it in your mind will help you make the right decisions for your finances and for life in general.

How do YOU keep your focus?

Do you have a spouse or friend who helps you stay on track, who reminds you of the bigger picture? Let’s chat in the comments section.

PS. We did have a lovely, LOVELY time away from home — spending much less than I originally intended. I’ll be back next week with the lowdown on our 24-Hour Date on a Dime.


This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.

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  1. We have to really tighten the belts and save, save, save for the next nine months. Nope, not a baby on the way. Rather, a huge move from Europe to the US, with lots of expenses to think about. PLUS we want to squeeze in two more trips: Rome for Hubs and me, and Paris, Normandy, London for the family. I mean, I have to save to the tune of $500 a month, at least, between now and then. I can do it, but it isn’t much fun. Everything has to be chopped. No eating out. Low grocery costs. Very few purchases. We start our massive savings next payday. I’m a little nervous but it’ll work out okay.

  2. The kids will remind me. LOL I must have trained them well. So sometimes hubby and I dream big, but reality kicks in pretty quickly. Especially now that Miss 15 is eyeing an expensive university that would really suit her perfectly.

    I’m glad you could take an entire day away!

  3. Jessica,
    We are getting ready to celebrate our 29th anniversary. We are also looking at new sofas since ours (used-bought years ago) has no support any more & its bothering our aging backs. We have been debating going away for 24 hrs, but I don’t like to spend the money when we are considering this big purchase. Yesterday, I was notified that I won an overnight stay + 2 dinners at a beachfront resort!! We are now planning to go away in the next couple of weeks for some much needed quiet time together. God is so good to provide for us in so many ways!! Love how my dh & I compliment each other so well when it comes to making all kinds of decisions.
    Thanks for your post!