Taking Stock part 3: Frugal

There’s a reason the title of this blog starts with “documenting the journey”.  I’m nowhere near an expert on any of the things listed there.  I decided to take a tally of where I am now, beginning this process, so later I can look back and see where I’ve come from.

Here in part 3, I’ll talk about being frugal.  Where I am now, and where I want to be.

Where am I?

I am so incredibly unfrugal.  I’m absolutely terrible with money, never managed to learn how to budget, and I know next to nothing about being frugal.  All I know is that:

  • I make a very good wage, and shouldn’t be having money issues.
  • Every month I spend at or above what I earn.
  • I am frequently scrambling to find cash to cover “emergencies”
  • I get paid once a month, so budgeting is a must, but I’m terrible at it!
  • I frequently overshop, and end up at the end of the weekend after payday with little to no money left.
  • I have little ability to tell my spouse “no” on buying things he wants.
  • Our vacation fund tends to get raided monthly so there’s little actual money to spend on vacation.
  • I have in the past used payday loans to get by, but I haven’t needed one in over a year.
  • The concept of opening bills tends to give me panic attacks.
  • Thankfully I have bad credit (see above panic attacks) and nobody’s willing to give me tons of money on a credit card.  Our total credit card debt is less than $2000.

See? Unfrugal.  I’ve got a lot to do in this area.  All day I’ve been struggling against spending a bundle of money ($150) on a small pile of books that I want.  And there’s these shoes I would love to have that are ungodly expensive.  And tomorrow we’re off to spend the day at the New York Renaissance Faire for our 12th anniversary.  And we’re down to $140 and I don’t get paid again until Wednesday.  Ah well.  I’ve never had an easy time denying myself purchases, but I’ve been working on this and other points of frugality the past few months and have made some changes already, I’m planning to blog on a few once I see some real concrete progress.  Or maybe blog about some roadblocks and failures.

Where do I want to be?

  • Have a full 3 month or more emergency fund in savings
  • Actually have a sizeable amount of money to spend of vacation.  Perhaps even take TWO vacations in a year, and go to Ireland like I’ve always wanted. (I go camping at Pennsic for my usual vacation, so this is not what you’d call an expensive trip)
  • Spend consistently less than I earn each month
  • Reduce our monthly bills
  • Pay off everyone I owe and get our credit back on track.
  • Track money spent on a consistent basis
  • Reduce mindless overspending and learn to live without
  • Find other possible sources of income if necessary.

Anything about my current state sound familiar in your life, things you also want to improve upon?

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