Maybe it's the pantry challenge that has me staying within a grocery budget this month. I have been tracking my spending and am determined to stay in that budget. When I felt I needed a new binder for my household notebook I went looking for a new one at the stores and couldn't find one that I felt was sturdy enough. I could settle and spend $6 for a "durable" binder that really wasn't that durable. I just couldn't bring myself to do that.
When we closed the law firm I was able to recycle some binders that were over 15 years old. It is remarkable how well binders were made back then. I know. I make it sound like they are over 50 years old. The binder that I pulled out of the box was sturdy, but ugly. A piece of cloth and some batting is transforming that binder into something pretty.
Or perhaps it was when I was at the grocery store and I was reaching for our favorite salad dressing and saw it was close to $5.00 for a 1 qt. bottle. I didn't buy it and came home and googled the name and found a great copy cat recipe that I can make for a whole lot less. In fact we enjoy it more than the original.
I believe strongly that the reason I think through my spending is due to two things: contentment and not feeling deprived.
Today is a good example. We are in the midst of an ice storm here in Iowa. The trees are coated with ice and there is a good possibility that we will lose some trees and also lose our power at some point today. The roads are treacherous and the news broadcasters are saying if you don't have to go out, then don't. I am warm (for now) in our house, drinking my second cup of coffee and delighting in the fact that I did not have to get up early and go to work in this mess of a storm. I am very content being at home full time and I wouldn't jeopardize that by breaking the budget due to overspending.
As for not feeling deprived, I did feel deprived 23 years ago when I stayed home for a while with our oldest son. He was 1 at the time and we didn't even live paycheck to paycheck - it was worse than that. I could only buy the essentials and then I had to think about if it really was an essential. Over time I felt deprived because I was never able to spend a dime on something fun. We were constantly living under a cloud of financial doom. If the car broke down, we didn't have the money to pay for it and so on.
Today I can go out and buy a dvd, cd or book if I want and we can still pay all of our bills and put money in savings. I don't feel deprived in the least since I know if I want to buy something such as a dvd, I can. The contentment comes by knowing that I can wait until the price is right or after waiting I may not want to purchase the item after all. I have a plan set up for my "fun, non-essential" spending.
I enjoy owning history dvd's. In December I was able to purchase the HBO dvd set "John Adams" for only $17 and I received free shipping. It was on my list of wants for several months but I did not want to pay the asking price of $50. I double checked the price today and it is $20 so I still saved $3 and also saved on the shipping. I can rent dvd's at my library or through my Netflix account and I do. However there are some dvd's I want to add to my library.
Everyone has something in their life that they like to spend their money on. For some women it may be scrapbooking or craft supplies. With a spending plan you can budget for some of these non-essential wants and still incorporate crafting or hobbies into your budget.
I have made changes in my life and I now have a plan for spending money. Before I just bought whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. At least I have a plan now and I am able to wait. Even then when the price is right I re-consider it.