“Death Comes Like a Thief in the Night” (& Other Reasons Why I’m Asking Myself if Saving Money is Really Worth It)

death comes like a thief in the night is saving money really worth it? andthenwesaved.com

This is a post by my sister, Kelly, who just completed Month 1 of her year-long Spending Fast. – Anna

 

Life is Short – Is This All Worth It? Why Suffer?

“Death comes like a thief in the night”, I remember my mom telling me when we were little girls. I’ve been feeling really discouraged, and I’ve been asking myself “why?”, a lot lately. A family member died tragically a couple weeks ago. Why did he die? Does any of this even really matter, at all? Why should I bother with this Spending Fast? I’ve been finding myself thinking, “You only live once, and, really, what’s so wrong with having some debt, and some indulgences along the way especially if it’s getting paid off… no matter how slowly? Shouldn’t I be enjoying life?” I don’t have the answers, and I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I DO know that every time I think of the future and of “Future Kelly” debt is not part of the picture. “Be Debt Free” is something that is ALWAYS on my goals lists, so while I did mess up some, and while I have been questioning a lot of life’s biggest questions, I’m not going to throw in the towel on the Spending Fast.

In my last post, I told you how I was able to pay off my personal credit card within the first week of The Fast. Of course, I won’t be having a tax refund every month- dang it:( so my upcoming savings won’t be nearly as big as this first month’s. I’ve also stumbled some, so the kids, and I ate out about 3 times. It was due to poor planning- BUT on the flip side, we ONLY ate out 3 times! My M.O. used to be that I would eat out, or buy something out at least once a day. My 3 children, and I ate dinner at home every night, and it was actually pretty nice.

I’m trying to be gentle with myself, despite the “set backs”. I’m still committed to the Spending Fast until November 5, 2015, so I’ll just keep trudging along.

 

Small, Day-to-Day Changes

I’ve always considered myself a good Scout. I’m prepared, I stockpile, I have a plan. I’m quitting that this year- no more stockpiling. I’m using travel shampoos that would have stayed buried in my closet, and eventually be thrown away. The changes are small but I’m seeing that they do add up. I ran out of shaving cream so I’ve been using hair conditioner that I don’t really like for my hair as a shaving gel, and it works totally fine. Okay, so this is kinda gross, and may be TMI but I ran out of cotton balls, so I decided to cut up the free huge maxi pads that the hospital gave me from my last child’s birth. I cut them up into strips, and I’ve been using that instead of buying more cotton balls.

We’re eating the things that are in our cabinets before we’re buying more food, and I’m waiting ’til things are actually gone before I write it on the ‘need to pick up at the store’ list. We even ate up the jar of peanut butter that’s not our favorite but it’s been in the cupboard for months. My coffee pot broke the first week of The Fast, and there’s no way I will punish myself with a Year of No Coffee. Thankfully, I found a french press in my house that I NEEDED at some point but never used because it was too much hassle. I’m using it now. Also, I’m keeping the house at 68 degrees when we are home, and 65 degrees when we are not there.

Anna insisted that I should create a Needs/Wants list to help with my money spending decisions so I did that. Here it is…

 

My Wants and Needs List
WANTS

– La Croix water, $4.5 box of 12

– Massages, 2-3 per year at $60 each

– Shellac pedicures, every other month-$50

– Eating out, 5 – 7 times per week

– Professional hair cut and color, every 3/4 months at $160, I have a gift certificate that I’ll use, and then I’m not planning on getting hair cut at a salon until after the Spending Fast

Sephora makeup

 

NEEDS

– Car loan

– Gas

– Car Insurance

– Pay college bill to parents

– Pay college loan to institution

– Kid’s school tuition

– Food, currently spending an average of $170 per week

– Baby daycare: $600 per month, hopefully switching to a family member after the holidays so that will be a lower rate

– Medicine

– Mortgage

– Clothes, but a perk of owning a clothing shop is I don’t have to spend money on clothes so that’s $0

– Drug store boxed hair dye. I’ll trim my own hair, and my kid’s hair.

 

I also made a Wants and Needs list for my store, Scout: Dry Goods and Trade

 

WANTS

Scentair: $37 monthly. I’m switching to Scentsy which is just smelly wax.

– Muzak/Mood music: Cancelled. Saving $55 a month, and switching to a group Pandora account which is just $3.95 month.

This is still a work in progress…

 

NEEDS

– Monthly rent

– Payroll

– Internet

– Inventory

This is going to be a work in progress too…

 

Month 1 Spending Fast Savings (since 11/5/14):
$6,884.21

 

How do you answer the question, “Is this all worth it?”, and does creating a Wants and Needs list help you make purchasing decisions?

P.S. Meal planning 101, and this is a handy post too: 98 Cheap and Easy Foods to Make for Under 5 Bucks. Follow along with all the Spending Fasters here and here.

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15 comments


15 thoughts on ““Death Comes Like a Thief in the Night” (& Other Reasons Why I’m Asking Myself if Saving Money is Really Worth It)

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  1. Emily

    I really enjoyed reading this longer post. As the site has gotten busier it has felt more common for the posts to be a thought, not a complete narrative. Thanks, Kelly.

    I hear you about having a hard time finding balance between saving and feeling like you’re denying yourself pleasure/fun. No one likes to feel like they are always living to make their future better and that’s it. But I guess the point is that being debt-free will allow us to live fully in the moment once we get there because debt is really all about the past and that’s not healthy either.

    Reply
  2. Kelly

    I can really relate to this. There was a school shooting in my town, then shortly after a highschool classmate of mine died tragically in a separate accident, then my cousin passed away on the following Easter at the age of 26. I’ve always been frugal to a fault, and I was starting to wonder if I was saving for a future that may never come, as it hadn’t for those we’d recently lost.

    It’s why I’m in debt in the first place. I spent money trying to distract myself, have a good time, and it’s held me back on other endeavors in my life. There have been times recently I really could have used the money I spent. Looking back, I wish I had just realized that another dinner out or an afternoon shopping wasn’t going to lift my grief, or enrich my life.

    Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

    Reply
  3. Mrs. Frugalwoods

    I’m impressed with your resolve! Way to go! It can be hard to stay the frugal course, but, I find the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. There’s nothing so great as being truly free–financially and otherwise.

    We also employ the “use up everything” method with our pantry and toiletries. It’s amazing the stuff I’ve found buried in the back! Sidenote: I’ve been using conditioner as shaving cream for years and it’s a great system :).

    Reply
  4. Lauren

    Great Post! I struggle with the “isn’t it even worth it” question a lot. Any one of us could be gone tomorrow, so why not spend and enjoy life now? But, then I remind myself that while life is short, we all want to have a BETTER tomorrow, and that includes one with less debt. At least for me. The thought of loans and bills really leaves me feeling like my hands are tied.

    Reply
  5. The Roamer

    I understand how losing someone can make you question your decisions. I’m sure its perfectly normal.

    Interestingly enough when I went through it, it did not serve against my goal. It actually reinforced it.

    I don’t feel like I’m giving up anything when I save money. I do feel like I am giving up so much when I’m stuck in an office.

    Reply
  6. Mallory

    Yes, of course it’s worth it. Do you really want to be the person who leaves this earth in debt? It’s one thing of course to get a sudden illness or get in a terrible accident but to leave the legacy that “Yes she passed away…not to speak ill of the dead but did you know she died with huge debt and girl, you know she wasn’t ever going to pay it back anyway–no way she could have afforded all those trips!” Honey, people talk whether you are dead or alive, so I would want my kids to hold their heads up high and say “She was very good with her money and taught us how save and when to spend”. Certainly not, “Mom left a HUGE debt bill-I guess she wasn’t good with her money and that’s why I’m not good with money.” So, yes, it is worth it!

    Reply
    1. Anna Newell Jones

      Good point, Mallory. Plus, I wonder if the debts end up having to be paid from “the estate” or by the family…? I don’t know enough about it but I’m going to look into this more!

      Reply
        1. Mallory

          Just read the link and very informative. My point is that I have known people who have passed away with a lot of debt and for some reason that is what everyone always talks about at the wakes and afterwards. Plus if one has children, it is always seems to be what the kids talk about. I guess everyone expects there to be money when a parent passes away (maybe from tv and movies) and then what is more common is that there is debt left. Thanks for your response!

          Reply
  7. Ashlee A

    Let me just say – I love your TMI story because I do ridiculously (let’s call it) resourceful things like that too! And then I wonder if I’m a nut and turning into one of those dumpster-diving frugal bugles. This is a very candid account of your experience so far, and I think the honesty is great. I often wrestle with the “Why do I care so much, anyway?” question myself. For 2 1/2 years I worked feverishly to pay off my debt, turning down life experience and time with friends to save, save, save. I got myself out of debt (woohoo!) and then 1 year later the transmission went out on my car. I panicked and bought a different one, going back into debt. Talk about a let down. All that sacrificing to just end up right where I didn’t want to be. That was a huge life lesson and eye opener for me. I am grateful for how my ideas on money and debt have changed for the better over the years, but as I climb out of this debt I’m going to give myself a little more wiggle room each months. Trips can happen while paying off debt. Concerts and shows can happen while paying off debt. I think finding a balance of enjoying life and saving for the future is key. Best of luck to you! Can’t wait to follow your journey.

    Reply
  8. Rachael

    I really like this post, because it shows someone taking on the ‘No Spending’ fast, and seeing how it’s really like.

    I especially like how there was a list of ‘Wants’ versus ‘Needs’. It’s always a good reminder to really see what we need to spend money on, rather than just things we want.

    I did that today. I spend some money (food wise) on something I didn’t really need, but wanted. I always beat myself up about it. But I should. It’s important, especially when I could be using that money for things I really need.

    But you should have more posts like this!

    Reply

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