I have some lofty goals for my Money Talks series (that I’ve been keeping up with on a monthly basis):
- Talk about money!!
- Share some of our money struggles.
- Share some of the ways we overcame (or are overcoming) our money problems.
- Share some tips.
- Get your advice!
I started off the series by sharing a struggle of my own (frittering my money) and a tactic I’m using to keep looking at the big picture instead. Then we shared our tips for paying off student debt faster and saving money without realizing it. So you know we’re student-loan free and save (some of) our cash. Brag, brag, brag. I think it’s about time to share more pitfalls, no? The overarching point of this series is for us to give each other our tips and tricks, but also to realize we’re all human. We make mistakes, we have weaknesses, but can still get ahead financially.
Here are some current money weaknesses, and what we’re doing/not doing about them.
Charlie, the money-suck.
I am sentimentally attached to a two-thousand pound heap of metal, my first car. I was thisclose to donating him to charity, but then we went to get him from winter storage. I took one look at his plucky green face and panicked. Hubby and I have good memories in this car: I picked him up for our first date in Charlie, Hubs and I painted Charlie ourselves, and we had even planned to fix him up and race him (before we learned how much damn work that is). Although we keep him in the summer, to use our single garage for our daily driver we store him in a facility for the winter, ranging from $60-$170 a month. I know.
Nope. No solution. To save that cash, we had planned to let him go. BUT I CAN’T!! Instead, we’re going to look for a cheaper facility next winter and think about it for another year. I could keep him in the garage and park our actually usable car in the driveway but having to scrape off the windshield in the winter makes me thunderously grumpy. If all of our friends knew about this (especially when we say, “can we go to a less expensive restaurant, we’re budgeting?” they’d think we’re crazy but I figure it’s better to blow this money than to ditch him and always regret it. Right? Argh. This love affair is my biggest weakness.
But I “need” it.
I thought I was getting better at distinguishing “needs” and “wants,” budget-wise. Yes, I can put off buying luxuries until I’ve saved up and, yes, I (think I) know what we truly “need” (and it’s not much) but I still can’t wipe the word from my vocabulary. I find myself telling Hubby “I need spray paint to paint the bar cart, “or “we need to replace the ugly light switches”. I need to eradicate that word from my vocabulary entirely because I think, in my heart of hearts, I am still having trouble distinguishing between need and want.
No easy way and I’m sill struggling, seeing paint as a “need” when, truly, it isn’t. I’m just trying to catch it and correct myself. Instead I try to say to Hubby, “hole in the head!” (as in, I need it like a) when I spot something I love, but don’t need. I’m also spacing these not-a-need purchases out, and planning projects – capitalizing on coupons, sales and using up all of my supplies instead of buying something new each time.
Truth be told, there are few things we need (aha – there’s that word!) to buy for the townhouse. There are some important projects left that will help resale, but we’re really at the icing part. Although I try to create affordable projects (like my recent framed agates), I need most of these things like a hole in the head (see? I’m learning).
This is a toughie, especially because I work from home and log a lot of hours in the townhouse. I like the space to look good, plus I constantly have ideas. Creativity is my chill time, what keeps me sane. So I’m trying to sell things to make extra money for superfluous projects. Even though it took weeks (and so many “are they still available?” kijiji replies that went nowhere), I actually sold the two old white ceiling fans for $30 (sweet), so that $30 offset the cost of the new agate art! Also, although it seems contradictory, I’m trying not to get lured into super cheap projects that end up disappointing me and just wasting supplies. I’m trying to find a balance between affordability and looking-awesome-ness. Plus I’m looking to supplies I have on hand, to see what I can make with them!
I don’t think we’re terrible about this but about once a week I toss the remnants of an expired yoghurt or a too-bad-for-banana-bread banana. Something goes uneaten. Every time I toss it, I see that food item as money and feel guilty. But then I also feel terribly guilty because I know there are people in this world hungry enough to eat a black banana.
I have a new trick I’m testing out: staying away from the grocery store until I’m out of a category entirely. I used to buy grapes when I had perfectly good apples at home. Before I’d find a recipe that required spinach when I had lovely carrots withering in the crisper. Now I look in the fridge first and make something from what’s in there. Or I find a series of recipes using similar ingredients to make sure those loose ends get eaten! Until the last, sad peach is eaten – no grocery store fruit runs! When we’re out, we go buy a variety produce and eat it until it’s gone, so I’m not devoid of nutrients, no worries. I’ve also turned to frozen veggies and fruits, so in a pinch I can add some peas to a dish or make a fruit smoothie (don’t want scurvy just to save a buck or two), seeing as I’m employing a just-in-time grocery shopping method for perishables. In other words, I’m meal planning more effectively and learning to go without, eating what we have (a crapload of apples) instead of what I want (blueberries on my cereal!). Now I really want some blueberries.
We have more money failings than these, but these are at the forefront of my thoughts right now. How about you? What do your struggle with? Do you have any fabulous tips for our problems?
P.S. Speaking of money, how’s about a little treat, for free? Only a couple of days left in my ILIOS jewellery giveaway. You could win something pretty for yourself, no laborious entry process required: just tell us your favorite piece of jewellery from the shop!