Earlier this summer, I fell in love with a foreclosure in my area. It seemed like the perfect investment property; it was in a good area, had good bones, and just needed some basic cosmetic work — like replacing the carpet, stripping the wallpaper, and painting.
After stumbling upon the house, I drove past it several times. I had my heart set on buying it, but it wasn’t even on the market yet. I had no idea how much it was going to go for, just a rough estimate based on other properties in my area. I also didn’t have enough money for the down payment. Sure I could’ve (in theory) used my emergency fund for the down payment, but that would’ve been a pretty risky move.
Still, I had this childlike mentality come across me; the house looked like a diamond in the rough, and I wanted it!
I made a goal to save enough money to cover the down payment, closing costs, and a small renovation budget — a total of $15k. (Keep in mind real estate is fairly cheap where I live in the Midwest.) I also set myself a now seemingly unrealistic deadline: less than one year.
I started putting money away in June, averaging about $400 per month. While I’m glad this house motivated me to create an investment property fund, I’ve also come to the realization that I set a pretty unrealistic goal.
Because saving money takes time.
The “Kid in a Candy Store” Feeling Will Pass
We’re all human. I think at one time or another, we all have those “kid in a candy store” moments, when we see something we really really want and feel like we have to have it now.
Those kind of moments are what usually lead to horrible financial mistakes. You know, like maxing out credit cards to buy a new wardrobe, or taking on massive loans to renovate a room.
Or, in my case, wanting to buy a house before I had the money I needed.
What you have to remember is that there will be plenty more opportunities to get what you really want. If you can fight off the urge to make rash decisions, you can use these moments to serve as motivation to do things the right way.
Working Hard Makes the End Result More Meaningful
I’m a firm believer that anything worth having is worth working for. That’s because the journey is usually the reward — not the final result.
Plus, when you work and save and work and save, you’re much more likely to be sensible in the way you eventually use your savings.
As I add a few hundred dollars to my savings at a time, and watch the total slowly accumulate, I feel a sense of pride. And to be honest, also a sense of attachment. I’m not going to waste all of my hard work on a sloppy purchase.
Saving Money Takes Time
Reaching goals takes time. Saving money takes time. That’s why the concept of “get rich slowly” is so popular.
So the next time you’re feeling down about your financial progress, cheer back up. Even small steps in the right direction will eventually get you where you’re going.
Have you been feeling discouraged about your savings account? If so, was this post a helpful reminder?