This month, we’ve spent less money than ever before. We actually have money left over instead of entirely clearing out our bank account by month end. WHAT. This is crazy. I feel great about it!
I’ve been surprised by the number of times I’ve had to tell myself “no” this past month. I’ve been trying to ease the blow by telling myself it’s not ‘no’ forever, it’s just ‘later,’ as in, “If you still want those gym pants next week, you can go buy them then.” And generally, by next week I’ll have managed to talk myself out of them.
This is such a basic skill that it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I haven’t always done this. It’s not cute to be a spoiled brat when you’re 6; it’s super not cute to admit you’re STILL a spoiled brat at 25. Ooft.
On the upside, it’s brought much more awareness to how much mindless spending I do. (Spending I commit? Like a crime…) After years of being super poor and not being able to spend anything, I think I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking, “I want that, we have the money, I’ll just buy it,” which is not the mindset you should have when you’re trying to pay down debt.
We’ve never really made a budget before, because, as my husband pointed out, when you make just enough money to cover your bills, you don’t spend mindlessly. And even though we make significantly more now than when we had that conversation, and I just made an argument of how I have been mindlessly spending money, I have to remind myself that it’s really not as bad as it could be, and one day (when we’re debt-free), I can totally buy myself gym pants on a whim.
Just not right now, today, just because I want them.
Pretty much everything I buy now, I ask myself, “Is this something I need, and is it something I have to buy right now?” For example, last night I was at Costco picking up a few things. Hubs and I both have colds (boooo) and I walked past a $15 special of a huge pack of cold medicine, which I was sorely tempted to buy. However, we’re trying to spend as little money as possible this week, and I wasn’t sure whether or not we still had meds at home, so I left it. When I came home, I saw we both still had half a bottle of Dayquil and Nyquil.
However, this month we’ve also put off getting new tires for my car, getting my husband’s brakes done. Hubby will get his brakes done this weekend, and I’ll be getting a quote for new tires at the same time, but it made me think of the importance of putting more money into a savings fund for things that aren’t quite unexpected (if you drive, you will eventually need new tires/brakes), but also aren’t part of a regular monthly budget.
So, all you budgeters, how do you set aside money for this? Do you have a separate savings account for car things (or whatever the equivalent may be in your situation), or do you just put a regular amount of money in your main savings account?