Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Living On Less

That is my new mantra: Living On Less.  And I usually enjoy it.  I actually love creating my budget each month and seeing where I can scrimp in order to leave more to put into savings.  It is so empowering to watch a debt balance decline, and then pay it off in full.  I love creating a yummy, nourishing meal out of nothing when I have spent my grocery budget for the month and I am forced to cook with what is in the house.  This summer, I have even set a goal to drive as little as possible, and we ride our bikes everywhere.  I have used less than a half tank thus far and feels so good.  (I'm sure it makes then environmentalists happy too.)  It is honestly SO FUN!  So truthfully, today, I was having a pity party.   I received several invitations from friends to go and do some really fun things.  There's a girls night out tomorrow at Chili's, and a group of friends invited my kiddos and me swimming at an aquatic center today.  Another invited me to head out of town to a splash park, and I swear every neighbor I have is headed camping and I am super jealous.  It isn't so much that I can't afford to do these things, but rather that the money left in my budget for the rest of the month is allocated for other things. 
So instead, my kids and I set up our own splash park in the back yard.  Even I went on the slip and slide, and it was much less crowded than the aquatic center would have been. 
A friend reminded me today of the popular saying, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."  I Love that!  It describes how I feel about living.  Sure, I get rid of things (I hate clutter).  But, we make due with what we have.  When I redecorate, I re-purpose what I already have in the house, and simply make a room feel new.  And I enjoy altering and embellishing clothes to give them new life.  Try it sometime . . . it really is quite fulfilling. 
So, I haven't always lived like this.  In fact, for a long time, I have lived quite the opposite.  Budget???  What was that?  And if I didn't have enough money, I always had a credit card.  Dave and I would spend independent of one another and not be accountable to each other for our expenditures.  I didn't really see the need of saving for a rainy day, because credit cards were for a rainy day, and at our house, it seemed to rain a lot. 
I'm not really sure what changed.  It seems that one day, I (we) just realized the error of our ways and started to make changes.  Dave even bought me The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey for Valentine's Day.  (He's so romantic!)  But seriously, it is a great book. 
So, if you're reading this thinking how sorry you feel for me, don't.  In fact, if you haven't reined in your spending yet, give it a try.  You might just discover how fun it is to live on less than you make and become debt free.  We're almost there!  Won't you join us?

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