This is a post by my sister, Kelly, who just completed Month 1 of her year-long Spending Fast. – Anna
Life is Short – Is This All Worth It? Why Suffer?
“Death comes like a thief in the night”, I remember my mom telling me when we were little girls. I've been feeling really discouraged, and I've been asking myself “why?”, a lot lately. A family member died tragically a couple weeks ago. Why did he die? Does any of this even really matter, at all? Why should I bother with this Spending Fast? I've been finding myself thinking, “You only live once, and, really, what's so wrong with having some debt, and some indulgences along the way especially if it's getting paid off… no matter how slowly? Shouldn't I be enjoying life?” I don't have the answers, and I don't know what tomorrow holds but I DO know that every time I think of the future and of “Future Kelly” debt is not part of the picture. “Be Debt Free” is something that is ALWAYS on my goals lists, so while I did mess up some, and while I have been questioning a lot of life's biggest questions, I'm not going to throw in the towel on the Spending Fast.
In my last post, I told you how I was able to pay off my personal credit card within the first week of The Fast. Of course, I won't be having a tax refund every month- dang it:( so my upcoming savings won't be nearly as big as this first month's. I've also stumbled some, so the kids, and I ate out about 3 times. It was due to poor planning- BUT on the flip side, we ONLY ate out 3 times! My M.O. used to be that I would eat out, or buy something out at least once a day. My 3 children, and I ate dinner at home every night, and it was actually pretty nice.
I'm trying to be gentle with myself, despite the “set backs”. I'm still committed to the Spending Fast until November 5, 2015, so I'll just keep trudging along.
Small, Day-to-Day Changes
I've always considered myself a good Scout. I'm prepared, I stockpile, I have a plan. I'm quitting that this year- no more stockpiling. I'm using travel shampoos that would have stayed buried in my closet, and eventually be thrown away. The changes are small but I'm seeing that they do add up. I ran out of shaving cream so I've been using hair conditioner that I don't really like for my hair as a shaving gel, and it works totally fine. Okay, so this is kinda gross, and may be TMI but I ran out of cotton balls, so I decided to cut up the free huge maxi pads that the hospital gave me from my last child's birth. I cut them up into strips, and I've been using that instead of buying more cotton balls.
We're eating the things that are in our cabinets before we're buying more food, and I'm waiting 'til things are actually gone before I write it on the ‘need to pick up at the store' list. We even ate up the jar of peanut butter that's not our favorite but it's been in the cupboard for months. My coffee pot broke the first week of The Fast, and there's no way I will punish myself with a Year of No Coffee. Thankfully, I found a french press in my house that I NEEDED at some point but never used because it was too much hassle. I'm using it now. Also, I'm keeping the house at 68 degrees when we are home, and 65 degrees when we are not there.
Anna insisted that I should create a Needs/Wants list to help with my money spending decisions so I did that. Here it is…
My Wants and Needs List
– La Croix water, $4.5 box of 12
– Massages, 2-3 per year at $60 each
– Shellac pedicures, every other month-$50
– Eating out, 5 – 7 times per week
– Professional hair cut and color, every 3/4 months at $160, I have a gift certificate that I'll use, and then I'm not planning on getting hair cut at a salon until after the Spending Fast
– Car loan
– Car Insurance
– Pay college bill to parents
– Pay college loan to institution
– Kid's school tuition
– Food, currently spending an average of $170 per week
– Baby daycare: $600 per month, hopefully switching to a family member after the holidays so that will be a lower rate
– Clothes, but a perk of owning a clothing shop is I don't have to spend money on clothes so that's $0
– Drug store boxed hair dye. I'll trim my own hair, and my kid's hair.
I also made a Wants and Needs list for my store, Scout: Dry Goods and Trade
– Muzak/Mood music: Cancelled. Saving $55 a month, and switching to a group Pandora account which is just $3.95 month.
This is still a work in progress…
– Monthly rent
This is going to be a work in progress too…
Month 1 Spending Fast Savings (since 11/5/14):
How do you answer the question, “Is this all worth it?”, and does creating a Wants and Needs list help you make purchasing decisions?