We’ve had lots of rocky financial moments in our marriage. From the time we got married until now, nearly 8 years later, I can’t think of any year that was perfectly financially sound, if you will. We have learned so much from these difficult periods. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure, we have made plenty of financial mistakes, but these mistakes helped us realize just how many blessings we have that are not tied to money at all. We may not be blessed financially, but we are surely blessed in so many other ways.
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I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a monumental challenge to endure difficult financial trials well. I have complained a lot through these times, and my stress levels have gone out the window.
Are you enduring hard financial times yourself? How do you get through?
How I Endure Difficult Financial Trials
I personally like to journal and set goals during difficult financial trials. In fact, you can read more about journaling through hard financial times as well as setting goals for a period of no spending here on my blog. Another way I get through is by talking to people who have had similar trials.
One exercise that has been very beneficial for me was to list specific positive events each year we’ve been married, whether they were tied to money or not. After I did this, I could see just how blessed we are beyond money.
It’s easy to see after all these years that we have a really supportive family that comes through every time.
One of our greatest blessings is that our daughters are both healthy and so much fun to be around, and they are teaching me so much about how to be a better person and mother.
These are the things to focus on, not the hard times. It’s so important to be aware of what you have (materially or not), not what you are lacking, and you will feel much more content and blessed.
Here’s how blessed we have been (by year):
- We got married
- I was able to attend school with a scholarship and savings
- My dad gave us his old car so that we could have a second vehicle
- I sold my car that was costing us a lot in repairs
- My parents allowed us to live in their house for almost nothing for several months
- We found a place to live that was close to work and school
- I got a part-time job
- My husband found a new job that paid better than his previous one
- I was able to work the entire year while attending school
- I got a scholarship from a donor for my last year of school
- We found a little house to rent that was cheaper than the tiny apartment we had been renting
- We traveled for our anniversary
- We were able to buy a car
- I graduated from college
- I was able to do a girl’s night with my friends once a month
- I took a cake decorating class
- We traveled to several places
- I found a full-time job close to our house
- We found out we were pregnant with our first baby
- I learned all I could about cooking
- We both had jobs with good pay so we could save money for our first baby
- We were able to take a babymoon
- Our first baby was born
- My husband got his U.S. citizenship (he was born in Argentina)
- My parents let us live in their house very cheaply while we looked for a house to buy
- We bought a house that allowed some family members to live in our basement for a while
- We found out we were pregnant with our second child
- We traveled with our daughter
- My daughter and I spent lots of time with friends in the neighborhood for playdates
- Our second daughter was born
- I started this blog
- My husband quit his job of nearly 5 years (this is a huge blessing now that I am looking back)
- My husband started his own business
- We received lots of help from family, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances while going through a very difficult year financially
- We found out we would be expecting our third baby
- My husband’s business is doing well for its second year
- My blog is really starting to pick up and make an impact
I look at everything that we have been through in the past 8 years, and I cannot believe how blessed we have been. There may have been years where we took a step or two back, but we are always focused on improving and becoming more and more self-sufficient.
We have also been able to avoid exorbitant amounts of debt (except for our house), and this has really helped especially in the last year so we wouldn’t have to deal with paying anyone back.
Here’s what I’ve ultimately learned by going through all these financial trials: Money isn’t everything. It’s nice to have money for financial security, but to always want for more, more, more, that is where I draw the line. I know that one day we will be able to live comfortably with our incomes, but I’m not going to stop living and loving my life now just because I’m going through a few financial hiccups.
I encourage you to do something similar if you have fallen on hard financial times. I really believe this exercise can help you so much, because it has given me a greater appreciation for the hard trials we’ve been through. You might be interested in the The One Month Spending Freeze Challenge here on my blog. It can be a really awesome thing to try whether you are forced to spend less or you want to save more.
What hard financial trials have you been through in your adult life (or as a child)?