Week 10 Wins: Six wins from a pay period of unexpected expenses.
"There is no such thing as normal month," says You Need a Budget (the blog). And they are right. Normal pay periods are also few and far between, so it shouldn't have been a surprise when several less common expenses stacked up to have a real impact on my extra cash. Necessary dry cleaning, my teenage son's homecoming week, and some purchases related to my son's ongoing quest to be a self-taught snare drum player in the high school band next year added up quick. Despite this, I found six (count them, six!) great wins to keep the motivation going:
Paid an extra $131.05 toward our credit card debt.
This extra cash came from two sources. My new habits helped me eliminate $65.18 in unnecessary expenses (a bit harder feat after last pay period's belt tightening). The other $65.67 came from returning the last of my pre-Mindfully Spent purchases that still had tags. Reversing the poor choices of my past has been a great source of small wins. While I won't miss the guilt that came with those purchases, they have helped motivate me on the journey.
Better-than-free time with friends.
This pay period, I hosted a Stitch & Brunch event. "A what?" you may ask. Basically, I had some amazing ladies over to knit, stitch, mend, eat, and chat. I needed the quality time with humans, and I repaired 5 items of clothing/housewares that had been collecting dust. Great company + saving money on clothes = Heck, yes!
My son started taking an interest in frugal living.
Maybe for you to be as impressed as me I will have to remind you that he is a teenager. (In fact, he turns 16 years old TODAY.) Frivolous purchases are like oxygen to teenagers, right? But he was excited to show me this video on "How to Live on $3 a Day / One Dollar Meals" -- They're actually healthy! I think I'll be coming back to this for inspiration as we work to trim down our grocery budget in 2017.
We invested our time in improving our future finances.
With the potential to reduce our mortgage interest rate by about a full percent, it was time to rework our mortgage. Refinancing a home loan is a whole lotta paper work, but the substantial cost savings makes it worth it. Even luckier? We locked in our new rate before the Election Day rate increases started taking effect! (Something tells me that we'll be celebrating that win for awhile!)
I started asking myself harder questions about my finances.
As my makeup began running out this pay period, it was time to start asking a dreaded question: "Is my mascara a necessity?" Since social media has blown up, I wear light makeup most days. While the honest answer is that it is not necessary, it is a creature comfort that matters quite a bit to me. While I will continue to push myself on this question, I found a dollar-saving compromise for now: Instead of my $20 department store mascara, I went with a $5 drugstore mascara that received rave reviews by thrifty beauty bloggers. I'm incredibly happy with the results!
We enjoyed a couple luxuries (without breaking the bank).
My husband and I enjoy weekend road trips, and we can often coordinate lodging with friends and family to make them relatively inexpensive. However, we had two on the books this last month. They were booked before we were spending our money more mindfully, so we were without a real plan of how to fund them. Although we had to call one off due to storm warnings, we worked together to find a way to fund them both with cash and prevent any of our travel costs from adding to the debt we were working hard to pay off.
We have a lady spa in our area that is glorious. It is $35 for a day pass. I had saved up some dollars and was ready to splurge and spend a pampered night catching up with a couple friends... then I found a completed punch card for a free visit in my purse! Visits over the last several years had finally added up to some no-cost indulgence.
What are you celebrating this week?