This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Synchrony Financial for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s been five years since my husband and I moved into my first apartment after college. Like many people our age, we were broke during this stage of life between post-graduation and getting settled into adulthood. We had student loan debt and some credit card debt hanging around that we needed to plan to pay off. We were learning to budget a real salary for the first time and learning to navigate living in a new city.

It was challenging in many ways, but we did learn valuable lessons in the process like how to stretch our dollars and what we really value on a day-to-day and long-term basis.

When my husband and I first set out, we bought the bare necessities to stock our new home with the things we thought we would use the most. Among the plates and cutlery, we didn’t have the money to buy a lot of fancy appliances beyond a coffee maker. We still have most of the things we purchased during those first few months out in the “real world.”

Here is a picture of our first kitchen. Funnily enough, that’s the most counter space we’ve had in the three apartments we’ve lived in during the past five years.

Recently we were driving home from running a few errands out of our usual routine when we stopped for lunch in a shopping center we had never been to before. After lunch, we wandered around for a bit and found our way into a home store. I love looking at kitchen appliances I will never use (or don’t have a need for yet). We then came across the cutting board section.

Now, the cutting boards we have been using for the past five years were not of amazing quality truth be told. They were cheap and have begun cracking from years of use (and being washed in the dishwasher — which may or may not have been recommended). I hadn’t intended to buy cutting boards that day, but seeing them made me realize how much we really needed new ones.

It took me back to when we moved into our first apartment. We didn’t have a lot of money for eating out or treating ourselves regularly as we were prioritizing debt repayment at the time. Instead of going out, we made homemade pizza every Friday night, without fail.

It became a routine for me to start the dough so it could rise before my husband got home from work. We would turn on some music, break out some wine, and prepare our pizzas together in our little kitchen.

It seems like such a simple thing, but purchasing a new set of cutting boards reinvigorated my passion for cooking. In many ways, I had fallen out of love with it. Between a busy schedule and socializing, I was no longer making it a priority to cook every day and our pizza nights seemed like a thing of the past.

Not to mention that cooking takes time (sometimes hours), and it’s frustrating to try new recipes when they might now turn out right. My new cutting boards reminded me of how much I loved those Friday nights early in our marriage. In truth, it was more than just a purchase. It meant going back to our roots so to speak and reigniting our love of preparing meals together and making memories. If I had known that a new setting of cutting boards would have been the catalyst, I would have purchased them a lot sooner!

It’s fascinating such a simple purchase can have such a big impact on our lives. Synchrony Financial is hosting an Instagram contest called the “Not Just a Purchase Contest” to celebrate the meaning and the impact behind our purchases.

To enter, simply follow @SynchronyFinancial on Instagram and add the contest hashtag to your #NotJustAPurchaseContest Instagram entry. You can enter for the chance to win $500 every day for 60 days! 

No Purchase Necessary to enter the Not Just A Purchase Contest. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and US Territories, who are 18 years of age or older as of date of entry and possess a web-enabled device as of 9/17/17. Starts 10:00 AM ET on 9/18/17 and ends 11:59 PM ET on 11/16/17. For complete Official Rules and entry details, visit Sponsored by Synchrony Bank.

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