Remember how I told you about my plan for a serious Spending Diet in this post? Well, I thought I'd give you a little update from how it has been going so far.
It hasn't even been a full month since I started (even though it seems that way), and I'm already beginning to understand how much of a challenge this is going to be. EVERYTHING costs money, and you never know what's going to be around the corner that you have to drop some dough on! I've been very careful about budgeting out my money so far, and knowing exactly where it's going, how much I can spend, where I'm spending it, etc. I've also been diligent about tracking it in my checkbook so that I know exactly how much money I have which I'm SO proud of myself for!
The hardest part (which I easily predicted) is saying NO to stuff. My friends have actually been really understanding so far about my situation, and I've been honest about what I'm trying to do. I find it amazing how much they've commended me for doing this, and it comforts me to know that I have their support. But the hard part is turning down stuff. I hate saying "no" to concerts or having a drink when I go out. I want to be able to do those things! But I've done whatever I want for much too long, and I have to take responsibility. And it is damn hard sometimes.
The up side is that I'm finding out a lot of creative ways to have fun without spending money. We've been doing movies in the park (for free), we played kickball last night (free), we'll do lunches / dinners together where everyone brings a dish potluck-style (almost free), we go for bike rides (free), or watch movies rented from the library (free), or mooch off friends that have ways to snag tickets through their work to places like Waterworld or a Rockies game (free free)! With a little ingenuity (and some restraint when it comes to eating before I join people for dinner so that I can live with just a glass of water or a small snack, or ordering water instead of a glass of wine) I am pretty sure I can figure out a way stick it out with this whole thing, while still having fun at the same time!
Something that I realize too (which I guess I've always known) is that life is not about the things that you have, or the things that you buy. While packing this weekend for the big move and looking around my apartment I thought about how many of the things I move from place to place with me, and how much of it I really NEED. It wasn't much when I really thought about it. Most of it is just stuff. Stuff I enjoy having, mind you - that little colorful vase I like to have as a decoration for my apartment, or that fancy handbag that I use once a year. But it's still just stuff.
Here's what it comes down to:
All I really NEED is a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a bit of money coming in, food in my belly, and friends and family that I love that love me right back. I have all of those things, and I think that makes me pretty darn lucky.