I can't believe it has been two months since my husband and I started our Great Money Challenge! In fact our "see how it is going and make changes" meeting is scheduled for next week. I can say that I am doing perfectly... average.
I am finding out that I am a bigger problem than I thought I was. Isn't that always the case?? I see the latest .... stamp set, notebook, colored pencils, cross stitch pattern, quilting fabric, or what have you and immediately my mind is figuring out how I can work around the budget to get it. It isn't, "I need to save for this." It's, "I can take this from here and this from there and sell this and not put as much into savings and I can have it!" Oh dear. Writing this out is even worse than realizing it!! Even if I don't buy it my mind is consumed with figuring out how I can later. This is definitely going to be a work in progress for me!
I find that the worst times for me are grey, gloomy days - like today, or days that I don't feel especially well. And my worst triggers are gift cards, coupons and gift certificates. Take today as an example... though its not a good one!
I follow a number of clear and rubber stamp companies since I have designed cards for different companies over the past few years. A month or so ago I won a $25 gift certificate from one of the companies - good on anything in the store. I looked around on the site on and off over the last month and added a few things to my wish list, but I wasn't going to have any "fun money" until our next check, and I wasn't sure what else I would need, so I kept telling myself "wait." This morning (grey and gloomy!) I got an email that one of the items on my wishlist was on sale today only for a great price. $3.99!! Another one that I had looked at was on sale for only $5.99. WooHOO!! I tossed them into my online cart and added the other set that I knew I wanted. Now my total was at $23.99 - The gift certificate is only good for $25.00 or over. Not a problem! I was looking at one more set. I put it in my basket and checked out without thinking twice.
Good shopping, right??
Yes! and NO. I didn't "need" the sets. I didn't have the money set aside for the sets, even though I did have money to cover the purchase. And now I will have to use any fun money I get from our next check to cover the purchase that I made.
The money will already be used up before I get it and I will have that much less to put toward my current "fun" savings project.
That is one thing that I need to do better on this next month. Even though the sets *had* been on my list for more than a week, I failed the most important rule. "Do you have money for this set aside??"
And the lesson I need to learn? Just because you have a gift certificate (coupon, gift code, gift card) doesn't mean that you have to spend it!
The good news is that I have been better in other areas. Our eating out has decreased and - for the most part - was planned rather than spur of the moment. God has provided extra money just when we've needed it, for groceries, chiropractor, etc. If I could only keep myself in check!
My current savings project is a Vera Bradley tote that I think is really pretty. I really enjoy my colorful bags and this one has cardinals and bunnies and deer in its pattern. The cardinals remind me of my mom, who died a few years ago. She loved cardinals! The bunnies remind me of the walks my husband and I took after his brain surgery last year. There was one bunny that we saw almost every evening, running for cover under a bush. Just thinking about those walks makes me smile. And the deer remind me of the home we lived in up north and how we could watch the deer from our kitchen window, or happen upon a fawn nestled in the underbrush when we were taking a walk. It is a happy bag that I hope to enjoy for a long time. It falls into both the clothing and fun categories in my budget so we will see how long it takes for me to save for it.
How is your budgeting going this year?? Are you being a blessing to your husband in this area?? I hope I have a better report for you when I check in next!!