Thursday, September 29, 2016

Budget With Training Wheels

We are almost through the first pay period on our new budget and it's been a learning experience. First, I noticed that as the start of the budget approached I started buying things like I was about to lose everything to bankruptcy.  The upside is I really did need face lotion and toilet paper.  I feel like it has been a success even though we ran out of money before the next payday.  We definitely thought more about everything we did and made some great and some not so great choices.

Here is what I learned about us, we like to go out at least once a week and it has to be on the weekend.  If we go out on a weeknight, we will still want to go out when Friday rolls around.  Not going out on the weekend feels like a punishment, and the fun we had earlier in the week is long forgotten.

Sometimes you need things that aren't food and household necessities.  Last week my hairdryer blew up and I had to go get a new one.  I was really frustrated that it happened right when I was feeling sensitive about money, but I realized that's how life goes and just went and bought a new one because I needed it.

Forgetting to use a coupon when you're feeling the pinch of a restrictive new budget is very upsetting!  I was in such a state about my dryer breaking that when I rushed over to the store to buy a new one before work I forgot to use a $10 coupon and I almost cried.  That's when I realized I need to settle down and not freak out.  This is a new lifestyle for the foreseeable future so I have plenty of time to practice.  I can't wait to start the next pay period, I know I can put what I learned so far to good use.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Financial Identity Crisis

This has been an expensive year to say the least.  We were recently lucky enough to go on a three week vacation to Southern California.  I had a wonderful time and even had my best ever visit to Disneyland.   Buying a house that hasn't been updated since 1986 has been an education in all the little things that can eventually give out in a home.  Add to that the fact that our couch was too broken to move again and things start to add up.  

It's not like we have ever been frugal.  Last year we went to Hawaii and Disneyland and, as my weight shows, we love to go out to eat and drink.  We have been having fun on credit for far too long and I'm afraid the jig is up.  Suzi Orman taught me you have to live in your financial truth, and we have been living a lie.  

As I sit here today I am in over $30,000 debt, and I just bounced a check.  I'm in my 40's now and there is no excuse for this.  We make plenty of money annually to live a perfectly great life, but we have been living beyond our means for so long that now we have a situation.  Thankfully nothing bad has happened, yet.  The fear is always that a job loss could put us out on the street or something catastrophic because we have less than zero.  This was a very stressful realization, but I'm very glad that my husband was willing to bring it up and not let us ignore it any longer.

September 15th will be the beginning our financial New Year.  I keep hearing people refer to September as the other fresh start so why not a financial overhaul.  We have agreed on a set amount of spending money from each paycheck that will be deposited into the new account we opened.  All of our spending that is not for household bills such as mortgage and utilities must come out of that account.  I'm currently lobbying for hair cuts to come out of bills because it's not like I really have a choice, and I already only go 3 times per year if that.  

On vacation I lost my Chanel sunglasses that I had had for almost 10 years.  I admit I cried more than is reasonable for a pair of glasses, but I think I knew then that I would not be getting new ones for a long time.  I had wanted them since I was a teen and finally got them in my 30's.  I used to enjoy putting them on and, no matter what I was wearing, I always felt put together.  I went to the boardwalk fun center and bought 2 pairs for $14 because that's what I can afford.  Perhaps I'll call them my financial truth glasses.