What’s NOT On My Non-Negotiable List

wpid-2014-12-20-16.03.29.jpg.jpegFull disclosure: This post is me whining. This post is full of what you might call “first world problems.” I know and I’m sorry. In actuality, I’m very grateful for my life and blessings.


Y’all. Ever since I started really caring about my finances (read: stopped using credit cards), I feel like I’m broke all the time. It’s really just a mental thing. In my budget I have enough to pay my bills, get groceries, and put some money in savings. I even factor in eating out with my husband at least once a week. We’re totally, actually okay.

And yet I feel “restricted” by my budget because I’ve pretty much cut out all the big fun. I still make room for travelling, family events and gift giving, but some of my favorite big ticket items are gone, and today I’m mourning my loss. Give me some room to grieve, okay?

We all have our list of “non-negotiables”–expensive things we’re not willing to give up for the sake of financial conservatism. These often include travel, gym memberships, experiences for the kids, organic food, whatever. These lists are very personal, and I love reading them. Our non-negotiables are part of who we are.

Setting up a good, healthy, working budget has been a process, and I’ve had to take a good, hard, introspective look at what is really important to me, and what has to die at the chopping block. This is what I’m missing for the sake of being financially responsible.


  • The Nutcracker Ballet, tickets for 2, $88. I’ve gone every year at Christmastime since I was a child.
  • Bo Burnham, tickets for 2, $88. We’re huge fans and we missed him the last time he came to NOLA, and we really regretted it. The Netflix special was especially good.
  • Garfunkel and Oates, tickets for 2, $70? These girls are totally cute and really smart and I’d love to see them and support them.
  • Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, tickets for 2, $100? I listen to the NPR news quiz every week and laugh out loud a lot.
  • Glen Hansard, tickets for 2, $98. If you haven’t seen the movie Once, you should. I saw Glen at Jazz Fest two years ago and he was in.cre.di.ble.
  • Penn and Teller, tickets for 2, $124. Michael absolutely adores these two and they usually only perform in Vegas. Don’t know why they’re coming to NOLA or when they’ll be back…
  • Idina Menzel, tickets for 2, $158. She doesn’t need a description. I’ve been a fan of hers since Rent in the late 90s. Seriously.
  • Michelle Chamuel, tickets for 2, $70? She was runner up on The Voice a couple of seasons ago and we love everything she does.

These have been the ones that hurt my heart the most. I’ve also cut out season tickets to the Symphony, the Ballet and the Opera.

You’ll notice these are all “experience” things as opposed to tangible stuff. Just because I hate shopping doesn’t mean I don’t have my spending weaknesses. These are all things that in the past I would’ve put on the credit card and felt like I was living the life I deserved–YOLO and all that. Now, I realize I was living beyond my means. Sure, those are all things I hope to enjoy in the future, but not until I can really afford it.

I guess I maintain my balance by remembering what I’ve gotten and what I’m still getting in exchange for what I’ve given up:

Those are good things. Tonya got me thinking, “I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need.” She’s so right.

5 thoughts on “What’s NOT On My Non-Negotiable List

  1. Aw, Chela, I’m sorry you have to miss all that. I understand it’s a first world problem, but hey, that’s where we are, so it still matters. In my opinion, you are SO allowed to vent. Now that you got it out of your system, everything will work out in your favor. I just know it will! Merry (almost) Christmas, Chela! 🙂


    • Thanks Kay. I’m feeling better. I was especially sad about Penn and Teller since Michael loves them so much, but he didn’t even know they were coming to town haha so really, to him, it’s as if we never missed anything at all.


  2. Trying to stick to the budget, especially at the beginning, can sometimes make one feel like they are denying themselves of what they love. That is why it is important to save on issues that we do not care much for and then we can spend on activities we like while still not breaking the bank.


    • You’re definitely right. Every time I consider spending $10-15 on a lunch I’ll probably forget in an hour, I remind myself of what I really, actually want to spend my money on.


  3. Pingback: A Lovely Weekend and March Update | SmashOdyssey

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