Wednesday, October 26, 2011
money talk (and other things, too)
Um, I hate money.
I hate that it is so necessary for everything in life.
I hate that it is so hard to come by.
I hate that it is so easy to let go of.
I hate that it is somehow allowed to control so much of my life, my attitude, and my decisions.
I have been having a hard couple months with money. (Read: there is too little coming in and too much going out and not a whole lot of control being exercised in the few areas where it could/should be...)
Wait....let's back up....It's been a rough summer-into-fall with money.
In the past four months:
1. Sweet hubby's car had some major repairs done
2. My car had some major repairs done
3. We replaced a hot water heater
4. We had our house broken into, and had to replace a computer (the tv is just gone, folks, just gone, and we're using an older, smaller one in its place)
5. We apparently ate a whole lot of food and drove a whole lot of miles, judging from the combination of lots of grocery charges, restaurant charges, and gas purchases.
6. We depleted our emergency savings
7. We took a vacation or two that we really didn't deserve to take.
8. We sent some money to sweet hubby's parents, to help them buy a house. (No, we didn't buy a house for them. Just helped grow the down payment.)
So there is some honesty for you. Not very fun honesty, since recognizing a problem is supposed to be the first step in fixing it.
Here's the plan to fix this overspending problem, or at least to hopefully make it manageable again:
1. (done) refinance home loan. Monthly payments have been lowered beginning Nov. 1. That's this month, coming up, with a lower payment.
2. (done) new credit card, with cash/miles rewards instead of the old Target visa, which no longer gives us 10% discount cards. The monthly limit on the new card is lower, so we'll have to be more careful about when and where we spend on it.
3. stop taking vacations to places that aren't free (um, right. Should have been doing this all along.) Our next getaway weekends are planned for visiting friends (and staying at their houses) and to the beach (where the house is in the family).
4. stop eating out so often (this one has a lot to do with sweet hubby). We are working on making meal plans that recycle ingredients (that sounds bad) and involve cheaper foods. However, I insist on having fresh vegetables pretty regularly and sometimes our schedules seem to make cooking ridiculous. We have a bad habit of buying good food and it going bad before we eat it, due to poor planning on our part.
5. stop giving money to random things at school. Do you work in a school? Do you have 25 million things that all the other teachers seem to be donating money to ALL THE TIME? "Please bring 3 dollars to wear jeans on Wednesday" and "How much can you contribute to the United Way" and "Can you donate $5 to give an underprivileged child a gift certificate to the book fair" and "Can you give to this" "Can you give to that" "Please give" DRIVES ME CRAZY. As if teachers don't earn small enough salaries to begin with, then spend their money on their students buying materials, they are also asked to give money to a million other things at school. The plan: Part 1: think ahead on the materials front, and ask parents to save things and send them in as they can. I can find some storage space in my classroom....And I can afford not to buy the totally random stuff that being a fun teacher requires. Part 2: Say no. I simply will not be participating in giving to things that are not near and dear to my heart just because I feel pressured to do so at school.
6. Save, save, save. It seems there will be very few new clothes this fall, very few decorations, and the Christmas gift giving list will be trimmed as tight as it can be trimmed.
7. No more emergency spending! (Life, please cooperate. Water heater, thieves, cars, I am talking to you.)