Let me say that Irv and I don’t live a luxurious life. We have a tiny house, don’t wear fancy clothes, don’t drive fancy cars, but we do live beyond our means at times, and that is a problem.
We have always had the mindset that if we need or want it and don’t have the money for it, we’ll just charge it and pay for it when the bill comes in. Well, we follow through on the first part and charge it, and then we never follow through on the second part of paying it off when the bill comes.
Doing that over the course of many years digs you into a great big debt hole and that is where we always seem to be. It isn’t that we can’t pay our bills, it’s tight, but we can pay them, it’s just that we seem to have more and more bills every year. We really haven’t charged much in this past year except for car repairs, tires and our new dryer, but it will take a long time to pay that off.
I’ve been working for a while on a budget…one where we truly set limits for our spending. We would take cash out for weekly expenses like food and gas on payday and leave the debit cards at home. Then if we need or want something and don’t have the cash for it…we will have to think about whether or not it’s something we have to have right now or not.
Debit cards are a great way to see where your money is going, but it’s also very easy to overspend…oh, it’s just a cup of coffee, or it’s just a pair of shoes, or it’s just some carryout….when you add that all up over the course of a month, you may have spent hundreds of dollars you didn’t really have.
The first thing I would like to do is to set a food/household budget. Irv and I tend to buy whatever we need/want. We have no idea what we’ve spent at the grocery store until we get to the checkout. It could be $120 or it could be $170. Then on top of that…every Friday and Saturday night we get carry out. Nothing expensive, but it’s still $25-$30 a week. Do we really need to spend that much on food and household supplies a week? I don’t think so. It's just the two of us for Pete's sake!
I think we should be able to keep it under $150 total. So, my thought is that we take $150 with us to the store, pay attention to what we are spending….then if there is anything left of the $150…that is what we have for our weekend carry out.
I love my carry out so you can be sure I will be paying close attention to what goes in that cart. I also read once that if people looked in their cabinets and freezer they could probably eat for a week or two without buying anything but perishables. Think you could do that? I think we could. What a great way to save some money. Plan your menu around what you already have on hand!
The other thing we need to look at is our personal spending…all of the little junk we spend our hard earned money on….but my head is spinning and my vision is blurred by little dollar signs right now so I think that is enough for today.
How do you keep your spending under control?