BUT SOMETIMES BEING RESPONSIBLE SUCKS
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.
WHAT’S NOT ON MY NON-NEGOTIABLE LIST:
- 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:
- A hearty savings account
- Paid off my first credit card, more to come
- Going to visit family with real money
- Increased 401k contribution
- General feeling of “I’m being smarter with my life”
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.