…Wallet. You thought I was going to say ass, didn’t you?
Guess what? Saving up for something you really want to buy instead of just putting it on the credit card really stinks. Sure, it’s the responsible thing to do but it’s a real buzz kill.
One year ago Dear Husband and I put ourselves on a serious budget savings plan. It all started when we calculated how much college will cost in 12 years. Before the budget we would put money away to a savings account but never really earmarked it for anything specific. Then something would happen to the car and there goes a few hundred bucks. Soon we would want to take a trip and plane tickets for four ain’t cheap. Home Owners Association dues would roll around and before we knew it our savings account was depleted and we still had to pay for season football tickets including a hefty donation that accompanies them just to secure the right to buy the tickets. Next thing we knew it was Christmas and we hadn’t saved up for that and who the heck knew where all our money went. Oh, and the college savings? Ummmmmm
Dear Husband does what he does best and made Excel spreadsheets, charts and graphs. Soon he had multiple savings accounts opened and direct deposit into each one with exact amounts that would help us pay for these regular expenses that we know come up every year but always seem to surprise us. He’s a wiz when it comes to Excel and figuring out percentages and things that make my eyes glaze over. We have 11 different savings accounts all with a specific purpose. We’re not kidding around here.
Awesome. We were on the right track. We spent the year living lean. I had a grocery budget that I kept a close eye on and I learned to stay away from the side of Target that can turn a simple grocery trip into a $300 spending spree. However, this new system put a serious kink in my need for instant gratification. No longer could I buy that super cute dress just because it looked awesome on me. Soon I was paranoid about spending $3.50 at Starbucks.
Thanks to credit cards we have become a society of instant gratification. You want something? Then go out and get it and pay for it later! Only, they don’t really tell you that you will be paying a whole lot more for it if you take that route. I remember my first credit card was in college. There were tables set up every five feet in the student union luring unsuspecting co-eds to their credit doom. They told me that I could have a credit limit of $10,ooo and only have to pay $20 a month. $20 a month?! For whatever I wanted?! Yes, please and thank you.
Now I’m a little older and a smidge wiser and married to someone who has more self-control. However, I still am peeved that I can’t buy whatever the heck I want whenever the heck I want it.
Last week we were really close to buying a new couch. Our current couch has served us well but it’s becoming saggy and worn. We were soooooooo close. I found a really good deal on a tax-free weekend with 12 months no interest. Perfect! But wait…Addison’s birthday is coming up and I’ve had my heart set on a trampoline. Oh, and Harry is ready to move out of the crib and needs a big boy bed. Those two things plus the couch are NOT part of our spread sheet savings plan. Well crap. There went my couch. Instead I stuffed the couch cushions with old pillows that were taking up room in the linen closet (because what are you really supposed to do with pillows that are too uncomfortable to sleep on anyway?)
Where is my instant gratification!?! I’ll tell you where.
In my spending defense…my old Toms literally had holes in them. I really got my money’s worth out of them and it was time for an upgrade. Give me a chance and I can justify almost any purchase. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for our bank account) many of those justifications have to go through the keeper of the spreadsheets.