Friday, April 22, 2011

I Love My New Budget

I recently imposed a budget on myself. Not because I was spending recklessly, but because I really wanted to be told how much I could or could not spend.

I settled in on a modest amount that I would not go over on buying things for Gracie and me, which usually translates to mean.... clothes, and it lasts me through the month. I can spend all of it on Gracie or all of it on me or somewhere in between.

It's almost like an allowance... I can spend it as fast or as slow as I want, but when it's gone for the month, it's gone. And this is why I have loved it...

My new budget helps me shop with purpose. I have sisters, and I also have friends who we go out to the mall or stores with mostly as an outing with our kids. And I ALWAYS find something that will look cute on Gracie and even worse, I can ALWAYS find something for a good deal. Before my budget I understood that I couldn't buy everything I liked even if it was on sale, but now I feel like I know when I should or shouldn't. That's what I lacked before. The difference now is that some outings are fair game for buying a new shirt for spring or a new pair of shoes and some outings are strictly for window shopping. Window shopping has its benefits too. On those trips when I'm not buying anything, I get a chance to just analyze what I like and what I don't, what's a good price and what's not, and in the process make better shopping decisions on future outings.

My new budget helps me return things I plan on returning. For example, I spent the tail end of my spending money this month on a pair of shoes to go with a skirt I bought for Easter. I had to order them and they arrived yesterday. THEY DON'T GO WITH MY SKIRT. I was reminded again why I don't buy shoes on the internet. Ivory looks a lot like white on a computer screen, but a lot more like beige next to my white dress. Luckily I am able to return them here in town, and with the difference buy a pair of white sandals that do match, staying within my budget and saving money, because returns = either saved money or money that can be spent elsewhere. When you only have so much money to spend, every dollar becomes important! It's helping me improve on my habit of not returning things I have planned to return that sit in a bag until I'm convinced that it's not worth the hassle. Now I'm convinced that it is.

My new budget helps me feel accountable and responsible and like I'm exercising restraint. I don't have to have it all, but I can pick up some simple pretty things for Gracie and me. It feels good.

My new budget helps me find good deals. I go back for that coupon I got in my email inbox instead of driving off without it. $5 saved here is $5 spent or saved elsewhere.

My new budget helps me plan ahead. I was walking the aisles of Target looking for a wedding gift when I stumbled on their pajama section. Oh how I could use some pajamas. Pre-budget I may have just spent the 10 to 20 bucks on them right then and there... but I used up my budget by April 5 this month :). The pajamas will have to wait til next month, and until then, I will look for the ones that I like and not just make an impulse buy.

My new budget has helped me splurge a little. In trying to use our money wisely, I have always tried to shop smart. The budget just gives me some direction. So I buy a lot of clothes at sales and the employees at Ross know my face well.

a typical Ross price tag... it's like magic the way that $28.00 turns into a $9.99

But a few weeks into my budget days, I found a shirt at Down East that I really really wanted to own. It was $18. Call me cheap, but I have rarely spent that much on a shirt in my life. I usually remind myself that I could buy two or three shirts for that elsewhere. But I reasoned, if that's how I want to spend my money this month, then that's how I'm going to spend it. And I did. I could have hunted at Ross for something close to it, but I bought the real thing. And I got a little thrill out of it. I don't do that every time, but sometimes it's fun for a change.

I love my new budget because I can get a pedicure without worrying much about whether I should be saving money instead. When my toes are pretty, I feel pretty.

And I have tried doing it myself, but I like to have someone with experience do it so that they look fantastic and not pathetic. If I want to spend a chunk of my allowance on my toes, and I do, then I can.

Lastly, I love my new budget because it helps me feel like I'm being responsible with the money that this man works so hard to provide for us. He works so stinking hard I don't know if I'd be able to sleep at night otherwise!

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