There are spending triggers get many of us that are trying to retrain our spending habits in order to reap better or more important rewards down the line. I know some women it is clothes, shoes, or bags of any kind. Others it might be perfumes or cosmetics. These have not been my money sucks. Mine continue to be books and impromptu meals/bar nights out. I have scheduled activities out with people, DH for example, and budget for what I think is a reasonable amount. It would be all fine and good but then the extra's start being layered.
I had put what I thought was a healthy $200 in my budget for eating out in April. The two biggies were going to be taking my daughter and her friend to our favorite Mexican restaurant, and then meeting up with another couple for dinner this past week. We thought that might have left another $40 or so for an inexpensive burger or pizza meal out or the odd meal DD#2 might need. Before this April tightening of financial reins, I realize now I didn't have a clue with a) how often I or a family member eats restaurant food or drinks and appetizers in bars, and b) how much we were very quick to just pull out the credit card to pay the tab without thinking of how much we actually spend out in a month. I've been in denial becasue we comfortably pay the Visa at the end of the month, but then wonder why our liquid savings rate is not higher. The plans got postponed with our friends, but even so, I estimate we are well past that $200 with another week of month left.
Book buying is another vice. Say all you want about libraries, and thrift stores being free and cheap and I'll agree with you. Sometimes, too often, the allure of having my own copy, feels like getting a fix. I like the intellectual high it brings me. "I'm literate. I have an extensive library. My family read's a lot-can't you see by the amount of books of varying subject matter and topics?" Of course many of those books have not been read, and are just becoming clutter fodder. I have raised offspring of book junkies as well. There are book people in the world and I am one of them.
I combined both my vices on Thursday attending a talk and book signing by writer Mary Sharratt, who writes fascinating books about women in history. A cousin of mine is her local tour publicist and the event was in my town at a bar with a cozy side room. I had a couple short beers, and a large order of stuffed breaded mushrooms to share with my cousin and her aunt, also my cousin. Then of course, I wanted a copy of each of the books Mary had for signing, one for DD#1, one for DD#2, and one for myself. At least I didn't buy three copies of each-I have some restraint. My impromptu night came in at $82. Yesterday I added another meal out to my tab when my friend, the other S (we have the same name and are known as the S's, but in full), stopped for lunch before the wedding at a quaint place she knew about on route.
Not the hole plugging in April I was going for. While this is discouraging, it is a good wake up call to think through the question of what do I want now or what do I want more, and be honest with myself. Sometimes it is very gray, like Thursday night. I did not know anything about Mary Sharratt's work, and now, learning about her research, and the lives these women led, I am eager to read more. I haven't see my cousins in ages, probably a couple years. The place cleared out pretty quick after the talk so I was able get a good catchup for nearly an hour. One of my sisters had joined by this point as well. Granted, I didn't have to buy any books, let alone three.
|My humble, but tasty, scone coffee cake.|
I can't be complete hermit though the rest of the month.There's a community hootenanny all through the town at various bars and the performing arts center starting late afternoon. There's no cover charge other than the price of food and drink. Getting out for a nice night of music and a beer or two with friends, enjoying the simple things in life, is worth the money. So is keeping family ties connected, meeting and talking with writers, and having lunch with a lifelong friend. I want these experiences more both now and later.