Frugal Confession Time…Budget Woes

by Marcy on July 29, 2008 · 0 comments

Over the weekend, Angie at Thrifty Florida Mama posted about her frugal confession. Her post got me thinking about what my current “frugal confession” is. I have been thinking about it for three days now, honestly, and it has taken me about that long to put into words what I am currently struggling with the most.

So after all of this thought, you would think that I came up with something earth shattering, but not so. My frugal confession is that even though my husband and I have been living on one income for a year and a half now, I still act like consistently living on a budget should not or does not apply to us. Crazy, right?

Whenever I get tired of clipping coupons, searching for deals, planning, limiting what I purchase etc… I somehow convince myself that it is ok and that we don’t really NEED to be on a budget. We are doing it because we WANT to, right?

Wrong.

The reality is, no matter how much money you make, a budget is a smart thing. Trust me, I know all about making decent money and not having what you should have (or COULD have) in the bank to show for it. But my closet is now full of expensive clothes that don’t fit. So *not* budgeting was worth it right?! (that was said with a sarcastic voice in my head by the way).

I am trying really hard not to look at a budget as something that is restrictive or limiting. If anything, a successful and realistic budget should be freeing because once you establish it and start living with it, you can have peace of mind in knowing that you are making the best out of the income that you have. Or so I am told. :-)

I really do believe all of this, and logically I know what we need to do. Our household income is more than enough to afford us the things in life that we need, plus some. And while we have done some things right (we have a 6 month emergency fund, will/living will documents, and only one last debt to pay besides our house) we are not doing as well as we should (sticking to a grocery budget consistently, eating out a lot, using credit cards too much).

I am not writing this post to bash myself, because I am proud of the progress we have made, even since cutting our income in half. And while I have spent some time looking back on our two income days and berating myself for not being smarter or doing things better, I am starting to get to the point where I realize that this is all part of growing up. Making mistakes and learning from them is better than making mistakes and continuing to make the same ones over and over again.

We may not be at the point where I thought we would be by now had I continued working. Maybe we’ll have to adjust our goals a little bit. Maybe it’ll take us a little longer than we thought. But we will get there…provided that I get my head in sync with reality and start living by a budget. Consistently. And not just when I feel like it. (Note that I am saying “I” and not “we” on this one because it is often my spending that screws up the budget, not my husband’s).

We have done a decent job of cutting back, but we still slip up. It is hard not to go back to our old ways of buying whatever we want (within reason).

And so the journey continues. My Dave Ramsey book (Total Money Makeover) is calling out to me. I think it is time for me to finish reading and to regroup; to continue to be thankful for my blessings; to continue to find ways to cut back. Not just because I want to, but because I need to. We need to.

And as for next month? I am going to stick to my grocery budget if it kills me! I’ll be posting my July stats and goal updates this weekend. Stay tuned…


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