Money and me

One of the things I have realized is, now that I’m working outside the home, I’m spending less. It’s a combination of wanting to spend my free time at home, in the quiet, and not being as bored. Boredom equalled spening in my world for quite a long time. Also, I’m working my behind off as a waitress. As you may know, the money isn’t amazing when you’re working as a server, so I am loath to part with any of it except to pay down debt. I want that money that I worked so hard for to go to something important, not just another dinglehopper or widget that we don’t really need.

Sadly, I’m realizing how much money I wasted when I wasn’t earning it myself. It’s  awfully easy to spend money that you haven’t worked for. I actually just apologized to my husband for spening so much on such stupid stuff over the years. I haven’t had a job outside the home in many years and I guess I’d forgotten what it felt like to have to earn the money that I was spending.

While this may not apply to many of you, it’s a biggie for me. I was a student and stay at home mom for about 12 years. My husband was making plenty of money and yet we always felt a little tight at the end of the pay period. We spent on dining out, and books, and golf, and car parts for the classic Mustang we were rebuilding, and new tech toys… all kinds of things. We didn’t think anything about putting something on the credit card if we didn’t happen to have quite enough money for it in the bank account. We let the debt pile up without even quite realizing where it had all come from. We put gasoline on the credit card and never really paid it all off. The debt became somewhat alarming.

Last year we finally decided we wanted to do something about it. We stopped putting gas on the credit card and we stopped charging everything. We would only buy big things after discussing them. Well, paying for the gas out of pocket hurt at first. We always seemed short on money. We still bought things on credit but we’d discussed them and convinced ourselves it was ok. 18 months no interest? We can totally do that!

I read Dave Ramsey in August of last year and I loved it (except that last couple of pages where it became our religious duty to make money so as to keep it out of the hands of the bad people. I wasn’t a big fan of that justification). The plan seemed to me to make sense and so I wrote out our debts and posted them on the refrigerator. As we paid the little ones off, I crossed them off and wrote the payoff date next to them. We had paid the first one off in a month. Now we’re left with the biggies – the car and that darned credit card bill. We paid one of the cars off just a couple of months ago though and boy, did that feel good!

While our credit card debt is larger than average, I take comfort in the fact that we’re not adding to it, and it’s all on one card with a relatively low interest rate. We have only a few more months before it’ll be time to tackle it. Every payment is going to make me very happy.

All that stuff on the credit card is nothing, though, to the amount that I, personally, spent on dumb stuff. My husband is a very tolerant and wonderful man. I would come home and tell him that I went to Target and bought $70 worth of stuff, none of which we needed. He’d grimace and then ask if we were broke yet. I’d say no, and he’d say, “OK,” and that’d be it.  Well, no more. I have finally rememberd the value of a dollar and it’s pretty high. Bills, food, and gas are about all I’m spending on these days. I don’t feel deprived though because I know that if I want something else, the money is there for it. I haven’t wasted it on stupid stuff, so it’s there if I find something that’s worth spending it on.

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