We have three priorities right now (in order):
1. Eat healthy, nutritious food (which for us means grass-fed meat and organic fruits and vegetables)
2. Save money for Japanese school
3. Pay down debt
Each of these priorities is expensive. The only way we can accomplish them is to scrimp and save in other ways. That means we don’t have money to replace things right away or to make necessary car repairs. We don’t have money to spend frivolously.
Here are just a few of the things we have done without recently:
1. Our hand mixer broke, and we didn’t replace it.
2. Our car needs new tires, so I am selling my kids’ old clothes on eBay. We won’t get new tires until we have the cash in hand. (Right now we are about 40% there.)
3. Our TV just died, and we didn’t run out to replace it. We have been making do without tv, though the kids understandably sometimes complain.
4. I have lost so much weight that I need new clothes, but right now I make do with the few smaller size items I bought at Goodwill in December.
5. My son and I have been walking to school rather than driving. Sure it gets cold sometimes, but we are getting exercise, saving wear and tear on the car and saving on gas.
I’m keeping a careful spending log, and each week, my husband and I briefly go over the budget. I’ll be honest, I don’t like accounting for every penny. I don’t like feeling financial pressure. I don’t like having to consult our budget every time an unexpected expense comes up.
In short, I was developing a bad attitude. An I-Can’t-Afford-Anything attitude. An I-Hate-Being-So-Broke attitude.
Not fun for me, and not fun for my family.
Now, I have a new attitude. We are doing what we have to do to fulfill our priorities. For the first time in a long time, we are telling our money what to do for us. We’re scrimping and saving in most areas, but that is just so we can reach our financial priorities, our financial goals. We are in control, and we’re deciding how we want to use our money. That feeling is a good one, an empowering one. It certainly beats having a pity party.