Thursday, July 2, 2009
The Year of The Home: Frugality
Frugality is a very important part of homemaking. You have to guard your finances. Money, according to almost every poll I've ever read, is the number one stressor in people's lives & the number one reason many marriages fall apart.
I was quite lucky to have been raised by great parents that stressed the importance of minding your finances well. I am so far ahead of many of my peers. The only debt that I have to my name is my car & that is very close to being paid off. I was lucky enough to escape college without having to take out any loans. I would say the majority of people cannot say this & there is nothing wrong with that, I'm just very lucky. The other major form of debt comes from credit cards. Again, my parents made us swear that we would pay off our credit card in full every month or we couldn't have one. That one rule will save you from so much grief later on.
Even though I don't have any real debt, finances still stress me a bit. I want to buy a house sometime soon & don't have the money saved that I would like to have before buying. I also love to travel but don't get to do it near to the extent that I would like. So, in hopes of growing a bit of a nest egg, dreams of travel, & aspirations of being a smarter homemaker, I'm going to start living a bit more frugally.
Last month I had a higher than usual credit card bill & made a commitment to not buy anything unnecessary (ie, no makeup, no music, no movies, no clothes, etc...) until after Kim's wedding in August.
Well, you know when you make a commitment, Satan cocks his gun & attacks. If you aren't familiar with the computer game The Sims, it is not exactly a game with an ending. Basically, you create a family, buy them a house, get them a job & let them live. You tell them when to eat, go to the bathroom, shower, sleep, go to work/school, socialize, etc... Essentially, you play God. It is basically like playing with dolls for the more sophisticated. :) I've owned both The Sims & Sims II. I love the game & play it all the time for the first few months of owing it, then I'll sit it down & not touch it again until the next edition comes out. Recently, they came out with Sims III. I wasn't planing on getting it but then I found this blog & it really got me interested in the new attributes of the game. So, naturally, I want it. Now, normally, I would have given in to our society's new culture of instant gratification like I have become so guilty of lately, & bought the $40+ waste of time. But, Kristy, you made a commitment, remember. CRAP! Ok, so I'll have to wait, fine.
But then, I decided to one up myself. As of late, I have been having difficulty getting back into the weight loss mode. Granted, I am supposed to be plateauing until after Kim's wedding but I have recently gained about 7 lbs back. Not good. Not enough to freak me out but enough to slap me in the face & say "get your butt back in the gym." So, as an incintive, I have said that I will buy myself the game once I get into the 160's...that's about 15-17 lbs to go. I've never done the whole reward system thing. Never really needed to. I thought loosing the weight was reward enough. However, now that I've lost as much as I have & I'm feeling healthy & sexier, it is getting harder to stick with it, so maybe this will do the trick. Just to end this part of my story on a good note, I've lost about 2 lbs this week & kicked my butt in the gym all week.
Ok, back to the frugality issue. This week I went in to Wal-Mart for some groceries. Well, evil WM has now rearranged their store so that the makeup & stuff are right next to the groceries. Before, I would have had to walk to the other side of the store & I am usually too lazy to do that unless I just have to. Well, instantly, I turned down the nail polish aisle. Ok, here, I must say, I rarely paint my nails except my toes & that is usually done when I get a pedicure & even at that, I have some nail polish in the cabinet at home. I do need to get some lighter pink for Kim's wedding if she wants our toes painted, plus I had split one of my nails this week & thought I should get something to repair that. Well, after several minutes, I had decided on a color, a repair, & a base & top coat combo. Each of these over $5. Then I started toward the groceries all the while feeling quite guilty. Then I stoped. I remembered that we will be getting pedicures before the wedding & she may paint our toes, plus, I don't know if Kim even wants our toes done or if she just wants us to have French tips. So, I U-turned & put back ever last bottle. After doing a victory lap around the forbidden section, I moved on to my list. Even though this was a little thing, I felt like I had won some huge battle. Yay me! :)
Here are a few links I just found that I liked about the frugality:
6 Great Reasons to be Frugal
Free frugal budgeting & personal finance advice