It hasn’t been my intention to turn into a once a month blogger, but I was just looking at the dates of the last two posts and realized that’s pretty much what I’ve become! I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things, but if my current trend of busyness continues, I might only be able to up it to about twice a month.
I haven’t done anything interesting or remarkable when it comes to my stuff lately – I’ve parted with a few things here and there, but nothing major. There are still areas in my home that could use some help, but with the amount I’ve been working, the last thing I’ve wanted to do at the end of the day is come home and sort through all my crap. It’s been all I can do to continue to keep things like incoming mail and magazines under control. Overstuffed drawers and closets? Forget it, they can wait.
Actually, I was pretty proud of myself for throwing something away the the other day. I reached into my purse for a lip gloss, and grabbed the first tube my fingers found. I put it on, and noticed that it smelled kinda chemical-y, like maybe it was past its prime. Then I looked in the mirror and wasn’t happy with the color. Or how sticky it felt on my lips. And instead of just putting it back in my purse like I usually do, I actually THREW IT AWAY. That may seem like the obvious choice, but take a look at the tube:
I’ve had it so long, all the identifying brand information has worn off the tube. It’s still mostly full. I have probably hated the color multiple times, but I do remember that this lip gloss was expensive, so I’ve just hung onto it, hoping someday I would like it, use it, and get my money’s worth out of it. I’m happy to say that I am finally able to toss stuff like this, leaving my purse a little lighter from unnecessary stuff. And unnecessary guilt.
Other than that, I guess the main thing that’s been on my mind these days is that for as jubilant as we were to be out of debt, I mostly feel like we’re still in it, because nothing about our financial life is more fun than it was before. Part of this is due to us having a lot of expenses in June, so to be fair, we haven’t had a month yet where we weren’t trying to come up with an extra $1,000 or so for bills. But both Ron and I have been kinda bummed that we’re still scrimping and saving like usual, and we still can’t afford to do anything but the basics. In fact, we were supposed to celebrate our birthdays in June since we couldn’t afford to do it in May, but June was so freaking expensive we couldn’t do it last month either. We’ve half-heartedly talked about doing it this month, but our anniversary is in August and we need to save money to be able to celebrate that, so we may just take a pass on celebrating birthdays this year.
Obviously, these are total first-world problems. We are not suffering. My point is just that I keep finding myself wondering why after the initial high of reaching our goal, it really doesn’t feel better. Even though I logically knew it would take us time to be able to bolster our finances back up, and that we couldn’t just run to the mall or start going out to eat on a regular basis the second we paid off our cards, I think a part of me WAS craving some sort of shopping-related reward for our hard work. For the past year I’ve kept all sorts of lists of the things I would buy when I was out of debt, and Ron and I even kept a list of things that we need to replace around the house once we are financially able. And those lists have not budged, because instead of just charging stuff like we usually would, we are holding off buying anything that we can’t pay for in cash, or pay off in full if we were to charge it. And that makes the whole shopping thing a sloooooow endeavor.
The one thing we did purchase this month was a replacement for our nonstick frying pan, because the coating has been chipping and peeling off on the old one over the past year, and I’ve heard that toxins can be released into your food when that happens, so we knew we needed to make it a priority to replace it:
We actually would have put it off even longer, but Williams Sonoma was having a good sale on the cookware we use, so it seemed like an opportune time to buy it. We have a smaller nonstick frying pan from the same cookware line that is also peeling, and we considered replacing that too, but ultimately talked ourselves out of it. Technically, our “splurge” this month was Stella’s annual shots and vet exam, which we charged last month and will be paying off in full this month. We hadn’t really planned to replace cookware this month, and if we keep buying new pieces, we will suddenly find ourselves back in the same situation of having to come up with an extra $1,000 beyond our normal expenses and I am sick to death of that process. So the new pan is our one purchase for July, and we’ll have to wait until next month before we can get something else.
I hate this process. I hate waiting. I hate not being able to get what I want or need when I want or need it. I hate knowing that there are things I want right now that will be sold out by the time I’m able to afford them. But even as I type these words, I know there is nothing special about me that says I shouldn’t have to wait – lots of other people have to wait for things they want, and many of them never even get it. And I know that if I REALLY need something important, like medical attention or food or shelter, I have a wide open charge card that can help me get it in the blink of an eye. And I know that for all the hundreds of items I either sold or gave away over the past year, there was a moment where I felt I wanted and needed each one of those items too, even though most of them didn’t really provide a great return on my investment.
So I suppose I just have to work my way through this part of the process, and get comfortable being uncomfortable with all the stupid waiting. But let me tell you…it totally sucks.