I felt guilty the other day. I was sitting with my husband at a restaurant and the waitress brought the bill and I felt guilty. I looked at it and thought, "Ok, I spend $25 a week on groceries and here I am spending $16 on ONE meal." I looked at my hubby and said, "We have to stop doing this." And he replied, "Well aren't we supposed to spend money on the little things that make us happy?" He was referencing my post from a few weeks ago.(HERE)
I've been thinking about what he said for the last couple days. Yes I did agree with that article, to spend money sometimes on little things that will make you happy. But then I thought about being in debt....the only debt we have is our mortgage and our car loans(which I wish we didn't have but hubby insists on driving nice cars). The loans make me unhappy. So even if I sit here and spend money on small things all the time to give myself momentary happiness, in the end I will still be unhappy because I have the cloud of debt over my head.
The mortgage is something that doesn't bother me as much. We are young, this is our first house, it's normal to have a mortgage debt at our stage in life. We planned for it well. I paid off all school loans and extra loans before we bought the house and we bought under our price range so we knew we could afford the house, even if we had a low month.
The car loans bother me, yes we can afford them, even in a low month, but growing up I didn't have a car loan, I drove a junker and I was perfectly happy with it. On another note though, we are one of those couples where one of us is way more thrifty than the other.(Can you guess who?) My husband had several vehicles before we got married and he paid more for them(even if it wasn't that much compare to today standards) than I would even dream of paying. I bought my grandparents old hail damage clunker for $500. Before we got married my husband spent money on clothes and whatever he felt like. He never had a savings account. I had a savings account since I was born. I followed the envelope system and I put away money each paycheck. By the time I left for school I had several thousand dollars in my account from working a part time job. Unlike the other kids at school, I was paying for my education, instead of my parents.
People are different, it's just a fact of life, and when you get married compromises have to be made. I let my husband pick out our cars, which might not always be the smartest move but I know he's not happy when he doesn't have the car he likes to drive. I don't like the debt but I like him to have the car. Anyways, the point I'm trying to get at here is this, he gets the nice cars, that makes him happy. I'm going to use money that may have been spent on something else to pay off those cars sooner, that makes me happy. That's our compromise. You may not agree with it but it works for us.
Going back to my original story...spending that extra money made me unhappy and feel guilty. So even though it was on something fun and extra I shouldn't have made myself spend the money. For me, I will be happier debt free. Then I will feel like I can spend money on the little things and not feel guilty about it.
All this morning I worked on coming up with a budget and some new plans. My get-out-of-debt plan. I've made these before but they haven't been fully agreed upon so they fell apart. The budget I've finally come up with helps us to pay off things that need to be paid off so I have less stress.
We don't make alot of money, which I'm sure you can tell by my posts. I'm not one of those rich people that are thrifty just because, we are thrifty because we have to be. I do everything I can(most of the time!) to save us money in all aspects of our lives. Along with my new budget I've also come up with some goals I want to follow. Here are my goals for the next couple months:
Take whatever produce I can get for free and USE it. My mom recently asked me if I want another box of apples to can up. I thought about saying no because we don't eat alot of apple stuff and then I thought about it. We don't eat alot of apple stuff right now, but if it's free, shouldn't we try? We like apples, I can them in several different way, there is no reason why I should be turning down free food! So I took that box of apples and I'm ready to take more if I find more.
Stick to my $100 a month grocery budget, see if I can have some leftover at the end of the month. I started this one a couple weeks ago and I may have strayed off course here and there but I know we can stick to it and still eat well. That's the glory of couponing!
Start a savings account and work on a emergency fund. No we don't currently have a savings, we used to but moving 4 times in 3 years can take its toll on you. I know we can get there again and I'm determined to do just like I did in high school, set aside a certain amount from our paychecks each month and put it in savings and NOT take it back out.
Those are my goals for the next few months. Yes, there is only 3 but I think they are some good ones to start following. I work well when I have a plan. And I know that if I continue with this plan we will be debt free someday.
I love to hear your thoughts on my ramblings. Do you and your spouse agree about money? What are some compromises you've had to make? Do you have budget goals for the rest of the year or for next year?