You may have noticed that of the websites I frequent, half are about frugal living. This is something I have been obsessed with lately. Partly because the economy is in the crapper, partly because, well duh! everyone should save more and spend less. Ironically I am posting this after running to the grocery store for fruit and somehow spending $30 and then stopping at Starbucks on the way home for a $4.35 hot chocolate, and that wasn't even the large size. I am not a very frugal person. I go in spurts of buying generic, not spending a lot of money, cutting expenses, and then I will order a new diaper bag online. We will get rid of my gym membership because it wasn't being used and then go out to dinner. Yeah, I make a whole lot of dummy moves. But I read all kinds of personal finance blogs because they inspire me to think about being more frugal.
We have a decent amount of debt. I am not talking just mortgage, car and student loans. We also have some credit card debt. What can I say, I am of the plastic generation. And I also tend to feel a sense of entitlement sometimes. Like I deserve this because...well I just do. Therefore I have purchased many a trinket for no good reason knowing full well I shouldn't. I am also not very good of depriving myself or telling my husband no. Even when I really should. So really, I should be more frugal, save all I can and attack the credit card debt like a rabid badger. And I pay all my bills on time. And I always pay as much as I can towards my credit cards, which is usually at least double the minimum payment. I am not totally naive.
So where is all this coming from you may ask? I just got done talking to my sis. She is in her first year of her career and lives at home. I, with my abundent wisdom and experience, have told her to live at home and pay off as much debt and save as much as possible. Because I want good things for her.
I guess by posting this, all my friends and family can read it and then berate me for making stupid purchases I don't need (except the zoo membership we are going to purchase...it has already been decided). I need to be held accountable to someone. I think there is hope for me yet. My mom and I have decided to go super low key for Christmas this year. Pretty much no gifts will be exchanged with that side of the family. If people feel they must buy gifts, they can buy for Lily, though she doesn't need much. She will be nine months at Christmas. She will be happy with a box. This is the year to do this. Next year she will be old enough to sort of get Santa. I don't want to keep Santa from her. I am stoked about this because it takes half the stress out of the holidays. And it keeps some money in my pocket...as long as I stay away from Starbucks!
On that note, here is a story that I wish I kept in the front of my mind a little more often. When we were leaving for our honeymoon...the second time...long story...my grandparents were going to drive us to the airport. It was a Monday morning, and we needed to stop by the courthouse five minutes from their house to get my real birth certificate. My grandpa was at the senior center doing whatever it was he did...woodworking, socializing. He was running a little late and my grandma was starting to get agitated because he needed to eat lunch before we left. I said "Maybe he stopped at McDonald's." My grandma said "No, he would never stop at McDonald's if he knows there is food at home to eat." Different generation, different mindset. In my mind, it almost makes more sense to stop at McDonald's because it is quicker than fixing and cleaning up from lunch, especially if I am already out. But my grandpa knew there was food to eat at home, so he wouldn't pick up fast food. I don't know why, but that memory speaks volumes to me in terms of not spending money unnecessarily.
Okay, thanks for listening to my general rambling.