Yesterday I decided that things need to change, and that I needed to be the one to initiate the change (rather than hoping the change I’d like to see in myself and my life would just come about on its own. Go ahead, you can roll your eyes here… I did!). Knowing what was coming, I hurriedly jumped on to a few of my favorite websites, where I knew there were things I’d been wanting to buy (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that most of it was makeup; then there was a shelf for the half-bath and a new wind chime for the front porch since the old one didn’t make it to the new house).
The grand total of all I’d picked out? Just under $300 including tax & shipping.
I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on the spending at that moment, though, so I closed my laptop & decided that as long as I made the purchases before midnight, they were fair game. We got caught up watching a movie as a family last night, though, and it ended up being a pretty late night. I woke up this morning & one of my first thoughts was that I hadn’t made the purchases I’d want to make, and now I was stuck.
See, my experiment starts today. The one that means tracking every penny spent, and not buying what’s not actually needed right now. I’ll admit, I had a few moments of “well, technically, no one need know… I could just count these as having been spent yesterday since I’d already planned to get them yesterday!” (I’m SO good at justifying! If there were a masters degree in justifying purchases, I’d have it!)
The idea of cheating on my self and my own decision, though? It just didn’t feel good. Which brings us to….
Today is July 1st 2018, and I’ve decided that it’s time to start. I’ve been paying for the hosting for this site for at least 9 months now, and kept telling myself that I’ll start on it, in earnest, soon.
Soon. Always soon. Never now. Until now.
Today I feel like I have a reason, and I have something to say. I intend to use the site as a place for documenting the experiments I’m running on my life, and my self, as a way of holding myself accountable for doing the things that I say I want to do, as well as to help anyone who’d like to play along. That said… July is an experiment in both wants vs needs, and financial accountability… and also in adding more of what I really want back into my life on a daily basis.
The financial stuff:
I’ve felt for months (longer?) that my financial life is out of control. Like I just can’t keep track of where the money is going and why there’s always more month left than money when I make a decent living (even for a fairly expensive geographic location). Very nearly every time I’ve tried to get a handle on the money stuff, I’d start digging in and end up in tears, and with my brain feeling like scrambled eggs. Not a pleasant experience, you know? So this time, I’m keeping it simple. I’m going to track every penny spent, every day this month. I’m building in accountability by:
- putting a reminder on my calendar that I will report in here at least once per week (on Sundays) how the week has gone overall and whether I’ve met my goals.
- sending a daily email to a friend to document how much I’ve spent each day, and on what. The primary goal is to track every bit of money in and out this month. The secondary goal is to spend only on needs. I would like to get a true baseline of what it costs to sustain us as we’re living now (*note – I’m including eating out once per week with TLD, and once on the weekend as a family. Both are allowable this month, even though they’re clearly not needs.)
- setting an alarm on my phone for 7:45pm each day, as a reminder to send the email above.
- printing off a calendar for the month of July to track income and outflow in dollar amounts, as well as a check box to document whether I’d sent the email for that day.
This feels good, like I’ve got it in hand, without being super rigid and freaked out about it all. We’ll see how the week goes and I’ll post an update here next Sunday 🙂
The fun stuff:
The friend that I mentioned, above, was also the one to suggest that I find a way to incorporate two hours, daily, of things that I really actively enjoy back into my life. (Because, listen… all work and no play makes
Jack Angel a dull boy girl!)
I’m not sure that two hours each day is feasible right now given my schedule (I already get up at 4:15am in order to have time to walk Lexi, do my daily writing, and get ready for work & out the door in time on the days that I drive into the office… not to mention I want to start finding time again for sitting in silence, for at least 30 minutes daily), but I can fit some time in every day for these things.
I knew that to make it work, though, I’d have to change some things up to make it SUPER simple for me to do this on the daily. The first necessary change was that I needed to put together little kits with everything required for each of my activities.
I know that, in the past when I’ve wanted to do something like paint, or color, it would take me so long to gather all the supplies together and get set up that I often just said ‘forget it’. I wanted to be able to remove those things as excuses for not doing what’s calling my heart. You can see the before & after of the closet, including my pre-made kits, below.
I also knew that the other thing that kept me from doing any of the things I’d say that I wanted to do was that, in the moment, when I actually had time… I’d go completely blank and forget what I’d wanted to do in the first place! (Seems so silly, right?!)
To remedy that situation, I pulled out an old glass jar that I’d saved & cleaned (it’s from raw honey that I like to buy… need to pull the Goo-Gone out to get the rest of the stickers off of there, but it serves its purpose!), and inside it I placed several folded up pieces of paper. Each piece of paper corresponds to one of the pre-made kits now sitting in my closet. So now, it’s super simple to just give that jar a little shake, open it up, reach inside, and grab whatever slip of paper jumps out at me! Then I can go to the closet and pull the corresponding kit out and get right to it. Easy-peasey, and I’m actively re-incorporating things that bring me joy into my daily life again.
So there we have it, and this is how it all begins. I’m already having some stuff come up about purchases (wanting to buy 2-3 more pairs of shorts that I can have available as I lose some weight here… oh yeah, that’s also in progress #minordetail), and I know that it’s related to my fear of not having enough… and also some other fears, which I may write about in an upcoming blog post (I am super curious whether anyone else does this).
But for now, here we go.