I remember when Kelly and I first decided we wanted to take our first leap together. We decided we wanted to find an Apartment in an area with a good school system for the Kids and fully commit to living our lives together. I was living at home with Mom and Dad and Kelly was living with her Mom and we were just kind of to the point where we wanted to end and begin every day together. Looking back, it’s so awesome to think how much our lives have changed and how blessed we are to be where we are now. We decided to move to an area called Gardendale which is pretty much a suburb of Birmingham, AL it’s a nice place and has thus far been just right for us. I guess you can call it an all-American town that to me, has a lot of what I Love and a lot of what I very strongly dislike about living in the South. At the end of the day I have grown to love living in Gardendale and I wouldn’t rule out spending many more of the years to come here. Getting the apartment we wanted in exactly the type of place we wanted seemed to happen so easily. We were so happy, like two little high school sweethearts plus about 10 years and two kids. I very quickly realized that there was a lot about the struggles of leading a family I knew nothing about. At this time I was just getting started in what would be my new career and what we were making per month wasn’t near as much as I would have liked it to be. Nevertheless, we had something and we were blessed enough to have our every need supplied. There was little league football, basketball and plenty of birthday parties to attend for David, There was cheerleading and plenty of Birthday parties to attend for Dejia. There was daycare and afterschool care and as normal and prevalent as these things are I had no clue of what these and so many other things cost. So pretty soon we were finding ourselves strapped and we didn’t really get down about it we did what most people do we sat down and we figured out how we were going to make it work. There were weeks when we would sit and calculate the bills and have a little more than twenty dollars left for food and about forty dollars for gas and we could take that twenty dollars or less and look through the newspaper for deals on meat and vegetables and take a trip to Dollar Tree and get enough to have great meals for the entire week. The Kids never even had a clue how broke we were. I learned so much during these times of Forced Frugality. I mean we didn’t spend nearly as much as we do now because we didn’t have it. And you know what, we were just fine. A lot has changed since then I’ve grown in my career and pay has as well. Kelly has done the same. We were blessed enough to be able to purchase our first home together and we’ve added another beautiful child to the mix. Don’t get me wrong we aren’t rolling in dough just yet but I am kind of on a mission to get us in front of many more sunsets on the beach and many more days spent together seeing and experiencing new things. I have really started to notice how as we progress it becomes easy to allow our spending to do the same without really taking a closer look and realizing were are paying double sometimes even quadruple for the same things we find for much cheaper when the budget is tighter. Something as simple as grocery shopping becomes a detriment to building true wealth. When we don’t have it we’re shopping at Dollar Tree and Aldi, When we think we have more We’re shopping at Publix and sometimes winn dixie. We don’t take time to plan it out, we don’t search for deals we just spend. True enough, when things are good spending feels good ecspeccially when you you’ve allowed yourself to develop negative thinking about not overspending. There’s more eating out we throw in a couple of nights on the town. We head into department stores a little more often vs. hitting the thrift Store. I ‘m going to be honest I’ve found some of my most complemented clothing at the thrift store and finding something you like at the thrift store really adds a little extra enjoyment. We have to realize that instant gratification and allowing vain, superficial thoughts to determine our habits play a part in keeping us from attaining what we ultimately want. As I’ve embarked on charting my path as an aspiring entrepreneur I couldn’t help but to realize that I will have to be a lot more hawkish when it comes to our personal finances and the funny thing is being frugal is a whole lot easier when it’s forced. When you only have eighteen dollars to put towards food for the week. you figure out how to eat pretty good with that eighteen dollars. What I have learned is that as we grow financially we have to be careful not to lose that state of mind. I’m not talking about being satisfied with not having enough. I am not saying that we shouldn’t wake up everyday striving to be better. What I am talking about is maintaining the ability to spend no more for things than what they are worth. I’m talking about maintaining that state of mind that helps us to see exactly what our needs and what our wants are and adjust our spending accordingly. True enough, I am one of those people that has a whole lot of wants and I am striving more and more every day to get them but what I am realizing is many times we stop and set up shop before we reach the destination. Being a better steward of our money is one of the top things on my list right now. I’ve realized, it’s not rocket science. It’s gonna be hard to save and invest when you’re always spending. Forced frugality equips and teaches us. Unforced, Chosen frugality gets us to the point where we have what we need to attain and enjoy some of those wants the right way. Develop a good realistic budget and stick to it (no matter what). It will be hard for everyone at first but in the end it’s going to be great for everyone. Ask yourself , Do I want to eat at a restaurant now or would I rather wait and enjoy cooking my own freshly caught fish at the beach? Would I like these clothes now or would I rather have three to six months of living expenses in my savings account? I can assure for me, the actions are a lot easier said than done but with practice and prayer I am getting there. This post is really serving as a good Pep Talk for me and I hope that it helps you as well. I am really excited about growing and I have found some great tools that have really been helpful and I am looking forward to sharing some of them in the near future. Just remember, what you want is possible, we just have to choose to sacrifice and struggle, we have to be willing to endure going without by choice to get to that point of breakthrough. If you’ve read this far, Thanks a Lot till next time.