September 21, 2011

A Fool And Her Money

Confession time. Grab something (preferably food) and sit down.

There are a few things that I have trouble not spending money on.

Now, before you get all "I know what she's going to say", this isn't one of those frugal posts that talks about the few things we spend money on because we wouldn't buy it used, or want to buy quality that will last, or something equally virtuous.

This is one of those posts that talks about overspending. Booooo.

See, I've discovered in the past few months that I'm only a natural cheapskate when it comes to some things. Things like toys for the kids.

Stop judging me. They have plenty, most of which were purchased or given to them by someone else ::coughmomcough:: and besides, I can get Jr to run the house circuit, chasing after a balloon and yelling "Bah! Bah!" until he's sweaty and panting for the whopping price of four cents a month (yes, I did the math. Stop acting surprised).

Now that we've discovered the joys of second hand clothes, I have no problem not spending money on clothes for either the kids or me or Mr, since all of us combined for the year come in somewhere around $200, shoes included.

I'm also really good at not buying books - which, if you knew me in my past life as a child-free adult - might surprise you. But I was good at it then too, I just wasn't good at not reading them to the exclusion of all else.

I'm fantastic at not buying sheets and bedding, even though I look at those pages in the LL Bean and Ikea catalogues with deep, deep longing. But if we can comfortably house seven extra people and not need to borrow or buy sheets and blankets for all of them, then I think we're set for the next few years.

You know where I have the biggest impulse control problem? (Are you still sitting down?)


Shocker, I know.

For example, I've written (bragged) before about packing my lunch for work, but lately it's been a rare occurrence (I managed to make a lunch last night, though, and it's sitting jauntily in the fridge, hoping that I don't forget it).

You also may have noticed (I know Lindsay did) the "food emergency" category in our Plan Bean budget. That's cutting back. We've had so many "food emergencies" in the last few months that it's become a problem that we should start being realistic about.

So here's what I've deduced (I'm sitting at my desk with a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker and pipe, is how deductive I am this morning): Money = Time, and not in a Rolex-clad-businessman-from-1986-chomping-his-cigar-and-yelling-"Time is money!"-into-the-phone kind of a way, either.

No, Money = Time is more like this: Didn't make time last night and don't have time this morning to make lunch? Ching. Forgot to take something out of the freezer or prepare something the night before and now it's six o'clock and everyone is hungry out of their minds? Ching. Didn't sit down on Friday evening to make a grocery list that factors in sales, coupons, and what  you need to use up in your fridge? Ching.

I can forgive myself for lots of this - I'm a pregnant, tired, working full time mother of two and wife to one, and my days are F-U-L-L. Plus, I like sleeping. A lot. Wherever I happen to find myself.

But understanding why it happens and sympathizing (with myself, which is pretty easy to do) doesn't get me closer to Plan Bean. And it doesn't help us pay down our debt any faster.

And right now I'm motivated. But I don't know how long it will last.