Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reeling in spending for good

I love frugal blogs. It is inspiring to me that someone can turn a pair of pants into a skirt. (I thought about trying this and remembered I couldn't sew. ) I do read a handful of them and have got many great tips from them. My love of cooking probably got me reading one, then you click on another and bam you are a frugal blog reader. Frugal bloggers don't eat out much. Or they use a coupon.  This is not a frugal blog because one of our biggest downfalls that I have discussed before is take-out and eating out in general. Grabbing this, stopping for that. I am the coffee getter.  I probably drop $20-$25 a month of coffee.  It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up. Also we have never really planned for miscellaneous expenses like gifts, holiday expenses, new appliances etc. We don't account for spending. Finally the reason this is not a frugal blog is because we are not surviving on $40,000 for a family of six like many blogs out there. Our income, at this point in life, is good. Oh yeah, and we aren't that frugal.

I have seen readers destroy people who make a decent amount of money and have debt by saying that they aren't spending it well. I try to be nonjudgmental. Everyone has story, and it is hard to know another person's without walking in their shoes. I really admire frugality and hope to find some.

The other day I went to do my bills and started as I have been starting by paying what I put on my credit card before I got paid. Yes, I did not have enough money to get to the next check.  Yikes! It has been that way for some time.  Also, I had a balance on that card from the month before. I stopped. I transferred that balance to 0% interest card so that card would be empty for good. Then I opened the drawer, took out the scissors, and snipped that card up. I knew in my heart it was the only way to prevent me from using it.

As a disclaimer our house is not decked out in top of the line Crate and Barrel furniture. We don't have i Phones or tons of expensive technology. We have been milking the same broken lap top for some time and I do shop grocery sales.

However we just completed a renovation this past fall, in which we borrowed almost all the money. Yes, frugal blog writers would never borrow money to renovate their house. I know this. But we spent ten years in a very small house and it got crowded, and I am inpatient, and it is too late now.  It is not some giant colonial. It is still a modest cape style home, but it is cute, not so crowded, and we are staying here for good.  Our choice to borrow a variety of loans for the renovation was the choice we made, and we are okay with that. However, our spending was not in line with us being able to pay back those loans and live without using more credit.  We do have enough money coming in to pay our bills and other expenses if we are careful and really account for all of our spending. Also, we have committed for a number of years to these loans. As they start to end we will feel the relief, but our new "frugal" life style really has to be a life style change.

This really means no eating out.  No eating out. No eating out. This also means shopping as carefully as I can while I have the time. I do have the time in the summer to do this, but it is hard.  It is amazing how quickly food costs add up.  I wrote a menu plan on last Thursday that we have stuck to for five days.  It feels good to stick to that. We also still have small college accounts we are contributing to each month. I am also saving each month, which we continued to do. Also, no random nail appointments. I don't get those things done regularly, however, I do those things occasionally. Done with that.  I am still wrestling with my hair. It is highlighted, and I know I can't maintain that without a salon. Still mulling that one over. The fact that I am even thinking about my hair just shows you how frugal I am not.  It just looks so much better lighter than darker, and my weight is not where I want it to be, and yes I am a bit vain sometimes. 

So our no eating out commitment feels good. We concur that it will help us on our quest to pay our bills off without incurring more debt. I will keep reading those frugal blogs because they have great ideas and maybe some day I can make a skirt out of a pair of pants.

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