So let’s get back to accountability shall we?
This week had me realizing a few things:
1) As soon as I reach one goal, I am looking for another. I don’t stop to savor the moment. Instead my brain rushes on to the next project or, more appropriately, the next thing to worry about. I need to work out more so my arms aren’t so flabby for my sister’s wedding in a few weeks. Argh! I need to get a gift for them too and bring my dress to the tailor. That reminds me, I have to book a rental car and the hotel for my friend’s wedding in September. And remind my husband to order his books online rather than paying full price at the school’s bookstore. That reminds me, I need to schedule in some worrying about money. Yep.
2) Then there’s the age old question: how the hell am I going to pay for all this? Well….I don’t know. I keep going over the numbers and I keep coming up short. My husband is going to look for a part-time job at school and I will keep mystery shopping and trying to squeeze as much out of our budget as I can. And I guess in the mean time I will pray. We will be ok through November. We split up his tuition into four payments, half up front then three parts over three months through December. But I have no idea how we will get all of the money for the December payment. So, that’s where planning ahead (see point #1, also known as my crazy busy brain) comes in handy and I hope that we can squirrel away some money over the next few months to pay for tuition in December. Yes, squirrel can also be a verb.
3) I drive too damn fast. I got yet another ticket this month. This time it was in the mail from a speed camera. DC must be hurting cause they charged me $125! Add the speeding ticket from Montgomery County from last month ($40) and another street sweeping ticket from me not remembering what day it is (Thesis Brain Syndrome) and forgetting to move my car ($30). So that’s $195 to shell out. This time it’s my fault, unlike some other times, and I see no need to try to wriggle out of an offense I committed. So now I have to figure out where this comes from. See point #2.
4) I have to cut back on couponing stockpile trips. For food, that’s fine. But I have reached my limit on shampoo. I’m running out of space. My sister and her soon-to-be-new-husband will be moving halfway around the world in October to Papua New Guinea and they need to stock up on stuff to take with them, so in my last trip I got stuff for them. And good body wash and shampoo will probably be super expensive on a small Pacific island. So I can help with that. But otherwise, I need to just use what I have. Couponing is a hobby because it’s fun and saves me money, but right now things are so tight that cutting out some trips to CVS can save me even more…$10-$20 a month which we sorely need to save. So I am imposing a partial ban on myself and only couponing for food, or if something is actually free and I need it.
4) I have to have faith. Things have worked out for the last year when money has been especially tight and I have never been homeless or hungry (well, sometimes hungry but I always rustle up some grub). Things sometimes look really bleak. Despite being a personal finance blogger and super thrifty, our debt numbers keep going up as we take out loans for school, get medical bills in the mail, and took out a vacation loan (at a good rate at least!) to solve some immediate cash flow problems for traveling to California for my sister’s wedding. I get discouraged and think that it should only be going down, but that is not our life right now. Beating myself up won’t help but finding out where I can make the wisest decisions possible and cut unnecessary expenses can. Also, focusing on the non-spending things in life that make me happiest is the key to pulling through these tight times. Things will work out. They always have as long as I keep trudging.
5) I want to focus more on having non-spending days and focus less on what great deals I can score at the store and focus more on spending time with friends, getting a great book from the library, or walking my dog. Thinking about money a lot is really tiring. Yes, I have to be vigilant about saving and watching my spending, but it drains me. Focusing on the positive rather than the negative is the name of the game.
And speaking of happy things, this just makes me smile.