We have the cute music-loving: Meghan Cave joining us this week for Gettin’ Guesty! Please help me welcome her.
She has written an essay about her transition to the frugal side and I’m really glad she’s joined us.
Cents-less Spending and Cents-ible Saving…
Someone once told me that I have a core belief that I deserve to be broke. I didn’t believe him because I love money and I really love to spend it. Consequently, I’m usually am broke, thus, that man was probably right. For a long time I thought the solution was that I needed to make more money. Only recently did I start to see the situation like this: I’ve been trying to pour more water into a leaky bucket instead of fixing the leak. It doesn’t matter how much water (money) I pour in if I can’t keep any of it! I have a good job but when I look around at what I actually own….well, there isn’t much. I have acquired a lot of debt over the years and I’ve just figured that’s why I’m always broke…I have too many bills. I am the type of person who rarely checks my bank account because when I finally do I become overwhelmed with guilty anxiety, ‘Am I overdrawn again?!?!’.
I’ve tried to make a budget many different times in many different ways and always failed. I’ve tried methods of using only cash and using only my debit card; another fail. I’ve tried giving money to non-profits, believing that more money would come in if I was giving more away to good causes. The only thing I hadn’t tried is not spending money. Seems obvious, I know, but I have a long list of reasons why I need all the things I do.
I came across Anna’s blog recently and I thought it was great, certainly inspiring, but not something I can do (or want to do). I just don’t want to give up the concerts, restaurants, movies, Americanos, new shoes, and clothes. However, as lent was approaching this year and the idea continued to burden me; by this point in my life I should be in better financial shape. I thought about giving up sugar, caffeine, or Facebook which all sounded equally awful so I decided on something else I thought was awful: I’d try to stop spending money on unnecessary items. I approached this with a complete understanding that it probably wouldn’t last more than one or two days but even that would be better than I’ve ever done.
I stocked up at the grocery store with food I could take to work for lunch and cook for dinner. I also bought some snack food that I could keep in my car and at work. For the next three weeks the only purchases I made were gas in my car. While everyone else at work headed to the 16th St Mall for lunch, I pulled out my lunchbox. I was certain my bank would be calling to check on me soon because my account had NEVER seen this much inactivity. It was difficult initially because everything I like to do and am used to doing costs money but I’ve been willing to try new things that cost less or are free. I’ve hosted a game night at my place, I’ve started using the library instead of buying books and CD’s, and I started blogging about music.
After three weeks I did have a few things come up like a bachelorette party and a baby shower that I spent some money on but by the end of March, instead of running out of money as usual, I had money leftover! I didn’t have to change my cell phone plan or cancel the cable; all I did was stop going out to eat, buying coffees, and making spontaneous trips to stores.
The challenge now will be sticking with my plan since I’ve failed so many times before. I’m working on changing my beliefs around money and myself. Although my prior actions might tell a different story, I don’t believe that I deserve to be broke. Each day is a new day and we don’t know what we’re capable of until we try.
Meghan Cave ● THANK YOU ● for being a part of And Then We Saved!