weekend was a really enjoyable weekend. I’ve been traveling for work a lot this year already and it was nice to finally be home and have a chance to spend time with the family. It was over the weekend, while we were out shopping, that something important happened. This something actually caught me off guard and caused me to do a fair amount of reflecting over the past two days. Let me tell you a bit more. 

The scenario

My nine year old daughter enjoys shopping at a store called Justice. While the clothes are cool and fit her pretty well, my daughter really cares more about the stuffed animals they carry. She’s constantly trying to talk us into buying her one. I have to give her credit for her persistence. Anyway, while I kept an eye on my two girls, the Mrs. was hard at work picking out clothes for the little ones. We had a few $20 off credits when you spend $50 or more thanks to a shopping spree grandma gave the girls just before Christmas. Things were going well. I then met my wife up by the register as she was checking out. 

The Moment

As we stood at the register, my wife realized that she may not be able to use all of the $20 off credits we had. That in itself wasn’t a big deal. The real moment that caused me to reflect on where we are in our financial journey was when my wife asked me the following: how do you want me to pay for this? The total was $68. It was Saturday. My wife thought we had been paid on Friday but we actually weren’t getting paid until Tuesday. While she had just enough in her checking account, didn’t want to risk being overdrawn. She also hesitated to put the payment on her credit card because we are trying to hit certain targets every month. In that moment, I was both proud and a bit concerned. 

My Reaction

First, I was feeling proud. We are in a position where $68 isn’t a great deal of money for us. Not that we spend this amount without thought, but we can incur a few of these types of expenses every month and still hit our goals. I was proud that we reached a point where my wife gave pause and considered the impacts to the goals we had set. Without this type of thought, I don’t believe we’d be as far along on our FIRE path as we are. 


I also felt a twinge of guilt. I questioned myself later that evening. Should my wife really need to ask how to pay for something that is $68? Should she have had to think twice about putting the purchase on a credit card for a three day period until pay day? What’s more, we have a solid reserve in savings. She was buying our girls clothes they needed for school. She could have easily put the $68 and more on the card and then dipped into savings…but she didn’t. 


on the path to FIRE is tough. I wanted to share this story with you because it will take us getting many, many of these situations over several years correct to be able to reach out FIRE goals. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and I’m fortunate that my wife is committed to sweating the smaller spends to help us reach our goals. In the end, if the two of us are not aligned, the path to FIRE gets longer!