I had a little bit of a melt-down this weekend. It happens to the best of us I guess. Life has been a little crazy lately. Covid-19 issues, another expensive year with unexpected expenses, family issues beyond my control, etc. I thought I was dealing with it all until I wasn’t. Trying to juggle travel arrangements for a mini-vacation and not being able to find an economical option just sent me over the edge. Luckily a good friend talked me off the ledge but my takeaway is that sometimes you just need a good melt-down to move forward.
I get tired of being poor sometimes. Oh, I know I’m rich in all the ways it really matters. I have two awesome kids, great friends, great family, and a secure job that I like. I’m talking about financially poor right now. Sometimes you just get tired of pinching pennies, and working hard on your finances, only to have every year bring new unexpected expenses that make you feel like you’re never going to get ahead.
The Wish List?
I would love to be able to buy a fabulous, newer condo. It would be great to be able to help my kids with their student loans more than I’m going to be able to right now. How about a vacation and not having to worry about how to pay for it? I want to be able to go to Ikea or Target and buy some things to set up a cute little home office for myself. Heck, this weekend, I found myself debating whether I could really swing purchasing a couple pair of shorts (something I’ve not bought in I think 5 years) after spending the money on a haircut.
There’s a name for what I’m going through-it’s called Frugal Fatigue. I actually wrote about this almost 4 years ago too. You can read that post here. Frugal fatigue is basically being sick of pinching pennies non-stop, sick of worrying about what next thing is going to pop up to derail your finances, and feeling like you’re missing out on all the fun in life because there’s nothing in the budget for fun.
Is there a cure?
Remind yourself of your motivation or your why. I want to get out of debt for several reasons. Moving into my forever home (looking for something a little newer) is important. I want to be in a better position to help my kids out in the future or be able to visit them if they move away after school. If I want to change career and chase my dreams, I want to be financially secure enough to do so.
Look to the future. My finances in 14 months will most likely be much better. My car will be paid off and Michael’s wisdom teeth payment plan will be paid off. That’s a monthly savings of about $400.
Nick will have graduated from college by then too and hopefully he’ll quickly find a full time position that has health benefits. Once both boys have jobs that offer their own health insurance then I’ll have some huge savings. My job pays my health insurance premiums but I’m paying over $700 a month to add them.
A popular tool out there in the personal finance blogging world right now are printables that you can color in. I think I just need to create a pretty colorful visual that will motivate me to keep paying off my debts. A visual reminder that you’re getting closer to your goals is something that would be motivating to me.
Embrace the present. What is currently good in your life that you can focus on when you get down?
For me, I just have to remind myself sometimes that I am much better off than many others. I might have to juggle some things some months but it’s been a long time since I’ve had to worry about paying my bills. Do I eat steak for dinner every week? Nope. Get my nails done every week? Nope. Salon-colored hair? Nope, it’s me and Miss Clairol. My bills are paid on time though and there’s an occasional meal out with family or friends and I can splurge on a latte at the bookstore when I’m browsing.
Can You Take Some Baby Steps?
Tightening the Budget
I keep a pretty tight budget but there’s always ways to cut costs further. Now that’s it’s just me, I plan on calling to see if there’s a cheaper internet plan. We needed a really high speed internet when there were 3 of us streaming various devices but this can hopefully be cut back a bit now.
Looking at a cheaper streaming plan to replace Sling as well. They’ve been a bit glitchy lately and there’s another plan that’s popped up that’s about $15 a month cheaper. It also has the Paramount channel, which would allow me to watch Yellowstone with the fabulous Kevin Costner! Bonus!
Groceries, restaurants, fuel, and entertainment are my variable budget categories. I reduced these quite a bit when Covid hit and I wasn’t leaving the house as much. I could probably still cut them a little bit if I tried.
I’ve had the same furniture forever and, to be honest, probably 50 percent of it or more is hand me downs from relatives. I’m ready for a different style, so I may look at selling some pieces so I can offset the cost of the new furniture I want.
Fix the Little Things
There are plenty of little projects I need to do around my home too. I have two bedroom windows that need to be replaced. Our two bedrooms have nasty carpet that I would like to replace with wood flooring like the rest of our condo. The pantry door in my kitchen keeps falling off so it definitely needs fixed or replaced. I still need to patch/spackle the holes in the wall that were created when my entertainment center fell earlier this year. The windows and carpet are probably going to have to wait for now but I could at least get some estimates so I know how much I need to budget for these. Patching the wall is probably a cheap, easy fix and I’m going to work on that this weekend. Pantry door is probably somewhere in between with its cost and ease of repair.
I’m going to make a list of all the little things that need fixed/repaired and start knocking them out. It will give me a mental boost to have them fixed. Fixing these items will also put me a step closer to having a condo ready to sell when the opportunity comes.
I’ll definitely survive this little funk. I’ve been through this many times. Creating a plan always helps calm me down. Knowing that I have a set timeline that certain debts will be paid off certainly helps. I’ve made it this far and I can certainly see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just have to keep an eye on the road ahead, not the road behind.