Monday, August 24, 2009

Getting Less Spendy

I've been pretty spendy recently. Some of it has been spending that was planned, but postponed until I returned to work, like replacing my car, flooring for our entryway, and a new grill now that the end of season deals are good.

Some of the rest is holiday and birthday related. I'm well on my way to done shopping with the 7 autumn and winter birthdays that fall between now and the end of the year, as well as quite a few holiday gifts, including for my daughter. Which will feel great when everyone is crowding into the malls in December.

Then there were the costs of hosting 30 people for Kiera's christening party a couple weeks ago, parking costs in Boston, and various other ancillary expenses.

But there was also the clothes I bought for Kiera (let's just say I don't particularly want to add up the total) for winter and sale stuff for next summer. And trips to Dunkin Donuts with my new coworkers, along with a few lunches here and there.

Add it all together, and it's a lot - and I do mean a lot - of spending.

I'm officially spent out, I think. There's more coming - due to a water leak, we have to gut our bathroom in the next few weeks, and we really can't salvage anything. And of course, there's the day to day stuff - tolls, groceries, gas, drycleaning. We have to fill our heating oil tanks this month as well, and that's never cheap.

But aside from the unavoidable, I'm done for a while. A long while.

For clarification, we still have plenty of savings, no credit card debt, and balance the budget. But I don't particularly enjoy overspending. It leaves me with a vaguely icky feeling, like when you eat that second large slice of cake because you want it, not because you have room.

So why did I? A few reasons. For Kiera, it's very important to me that she's well dressed. Maybe because I really wasn't when I was growing up, maybe because, given how much time and medical intervention it took to have her, it's likely she's an only child and I feel like I can spoil her. Probably a combination. Still, parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint, and I need to ease off the gas pedal.

But I think in the bigger picture, I was spending because I felt, for the first time in years, flush and secure. For almost 4 years I was an independent consultant - often contracted month by month, and if I didn't work, I didn't get paid. Now, while still a consultant, I'm an official employee of a firm, with paid time off, and a level of job security. I still have to work to build the business, but the level of risk and insecurity has dropped off significantly. And that has felt pretty good...maybe too good. "Whoopee we can spend again" has never led me to my best moments. Being more frugal and creative has.

The problem with spending is that it breeds more spending. And for someone likes me, who loves to shop - and probably always will - continual shopping just makes it harder to stop. So sometimes I need to pull the plug and just stop entirely. It's the financial version of a reset button for me. And it works.

So it's time to reboot, go through the budget, make sure lunches are packed every night before work, and grab the free coffee at work instead of Dunkin Donuts. I'm not beating myself up - but I'm not giving myself much free reign either.

So maybe getting spent out was good. Now I can focus on other stuff.

1 comment:

paulette said...

I know a sure fire way to get rid of the shopping itch! read back copies of "the tightwad gazette" every time! I have been a fan of your blog for quite sometime....although we are in very different stages - it is quite creative, energetic and heartwarming! you go girl...