Being broke & being happy

Real talk: we’re broke.


It’s cool though- we’re broke by choice. Yes, seriously. Hear me out:

We haven’t been feeling in control of our money lately. We get paid, it gets spent. We think we’re doing fine, so we splurge on dinners out or trips. We cover the bills, but barely. At the end of the month we’re left feeling confused or guilty. “But where did it all go?!”

Yes, we’re in our mid twenties and don’t make a lot, but compared to the rest of the world, we are incredibly well off. (Did you know Vietnam’s annual income is about 2k/person?)


There’s no excuse for not knowing where our money goes, and no reason we can’t feel financially in control.

This week Trevor and I finally had a budget meeting. We went over our credit card statements from the past few statements to see where our largest areas of spending resided (rent, gas, groceries) and updated our spreadsheet of income vs. expenses, which includes short and long term saving goals. Together, we made a conscious choice to be broke in order to work towards those goals.


It’s a tight budget, and it’s going to be tough, but we’re feeling pretty darn good about it.

Here’s what being broke means for us:

  • We’re saying no to 100% organic local groceries for a while, and just focusing on the dirty dozen
  • We’re starting an emergency fund- it’s a small start, but it’s a start
  • We’re taking a break from eating out- no restaurants, no coffees on the go, no afternoon bakery snack attacks
  • We’re adding 10 minutes to our commute to avoid tolls
  • We’re ditching fancy recipes and learning how to get creative in the kitchen using fewer ingredients (and freezing extra portions to use throughout the week- thanks for the tip sis!)
  • We’re saying no to new travel commitments – as much as we want visit all our friends and family, we just can’t afford it right now. (But our home is always open to visitors.)
  • We’re being responsible for our debts- we have two car loans and we’re committed to meeting every payment on time
  • We’re giving homemade Christmas gifts this year (sorry family- we’ll make ‘em pretty though.)
  • We’re ditching all commercial shopping – we’ve got plenty of warm clothes and way more “stuff” than we know what to do with. We don’t need anything else.
  • The Big One: we’re saving up for a 3-week vacation to Sri Lanka and Vietnam next June. This is an incredibly important trip for us- we’re going with Bác Jim and Jenn, our mentors who first took us to Vietnam back in 2010 and married us at our wedding. And it’s our last trip before we start thinking about some super adult decisions.


Have you had to buckle down on your budget? What were the things you chose to live without? Was it worth it?

One thought on “Being broke & being happy

  1. I found you blog very interesting. I hope you make out with your budget. We all should live a much simpler life. Perhaps if we did we would enjoy our time here on earth a little better.


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