One of the things I'm doing for my Household Reboot is to try to get a handle on the money end of things. Argh.
When you're on a tight budget, it can feel like you're endlessly policing yourself, which is exhausting and can lead to a lot of resentment and feelings of deprivation.
My mechanism for coping with that kind of mental mess is to reframe the problem in a way that makes it sound like a virtue instead of a burden. For example, when making a choice to spend money, I look at what I could be spending it on now as compared to what future thing I could do with it instead. In that light, a choice not to buy a thing today is a choice in favor of being able to buy some other thing tomorrow.
But it can feel like all you're doing is saying "not now, later", without having a clear picture of how much progress you're making in the now. So I'm turning it into a game - I'm keeping track of all the money I don't spend, and giving myself a monthly tally as a trophy.
The twist is that "choosing not to buy" isn't the standard. After all, I can choose not to buy a new pair of shoes that I don't really need in the first place, but that doesn't get me anywhere except on paper.
What we're looking for here is a way to mitigate the feeling of being deprived without actually becoming deprived. The question then becomes, "How do I get/do this thing that I would typically need to spend money for, but without spending the money?"
And that is why yesterday I got on YouTube, and learned how to cut my own hair.
|This picture would be way more dramatic if I had had the forethought to take a "Before" photo first.|
It took me about 30 minutes to view enough videos to convince myself that I had a grip on the process, then about another 30 minutes to actually complete the cut. So about an hour all together - which sounds like a lot except that it would have taken more time than that just to get to a salon and get a professional cut - and at Nashville mid-range prices I would have spent $50.00.
So the math is: for an hour of my time, I got a mid-range haircut that I am actually quite satisfied with, and saved $50.00. Or to look at it another way, I got a $50.00 haircut for free. Or to look at it yet another way, I did not have to spend several hours of my husband's work life to pay for a $50.00 haircut. Or to look at it another another way, I can put that $50.00 in a bank account and save it for a tank of gas to get to the beach. Or to look at it yet another another way, I could take that money and go buy that pair of shoes.
I've started a page in my bullet journal for tracking my savings, and I'll update you from time to time. Do I dare set a figure as a goal?