Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A self challenge...

I've never been excellent with money. I can admit that. Patrick will agree whole heartedly. I am what you could call an "impulsive buyer". I just like the feeling of instant gratification. And I like having what I want.

On a positive note, though, I have really grown in this area over the last seven years (re: the length of my marriage) I have come to learn the difference between want and need. I've learned the idea of patience by waiting and saving for something. I have been blessed by stopping to consider the pros and cons of a purchase and then making an informed decision. I'm grateful for a very wise husband.

My struggle with spending money comes in the little, everyday things. A soda from Sonic here, a coffee from Starbucks there. And my most offensive {to our budget and my heart} spending comes on the "it's-been-a-long-morning-we-should-just-go-out-to-lunch-and-get-a-treat-" days. I think I have taken the word treat to an unhealthy level of necessity.

I don't want to spend money foolishly. I don't want to ignore or disrespect our budget. In fact, having a {strict and very detailed} budget has been beautiful for our marriage. Not just relationally, but financially. We have been able to save for incredible vacations; we have bought several things with cash instead of financing; and we're able to plan well for our future. I want to respect Patrick and his efforts to keep our budget up to date and I want to honor God by following the budget {and money} He has given us.

With all of this said, all I really wanted to tell you is that I'm setting some limits and goals for myself. I'm goal oriented and don't mind a good challenge. Especially when that good challenge can only produce good things :) I've been thinking over the last few days how I can be better about my spending and more mindful of how it affects me and our family. {all while searching for a pair of cropped, skinny, black, twill capris...I'm a work in progress}

First, I want to continually pray that my mind would be set on things above. I want to remember that I'm not here to please myself and to be of the world. I want to grow in godliness through this exercise. Also, I want to learn to be self controlled. I don't want craving and desires to consume me. I want Jesus to consume me! I don't want to feel like I need a "treat" to get through the day.

SO with all of that being said {again}, here are my goals. I will start tomorrow {since it's already 3pm} and maintain these "limits" until the end of the year. I'll re-evaluate on January 1st and go from there. I will offer myself grace, though, if we have visitors or if something is beyond my control.

1. I will only eat breakfast or lunch out once every 10 days. That gives me three times in a month to have a meal out. I think that's more than fair. This doesn't mean I can't hang out with friends. Sure, it's easier to meet at Chick-fil-a, but it just takes a little planning to meet at a park for a picnic or to have friends over.

2. I will only buy one coffee drink a week. This may be tough. In fact, I deleted this one and tried to think of something more frequent. But I knew it was what I was suppose to do. Ugh.

3. I will only purchase other drinks once every 10 days. I think I spend more money on drinks than anything else! It's so easy {and cheap, relatively speaking} to go to McDonald's and get an iced tea or to Sonic and get a cherry coke zero during happy hour! This may also help me stop loving soda. But more than that, I can make iced tea at home or buy soda at the store and make it last.

4. I will not buy clothes unless I need them. This is tough, too. I love shopping and finding something cute. It's so stress relieving and satisfying. But I don't need clothes. I was just able to purchase several things recently and it was such a blessing since I am not yet able to fit into some of my small clothes, but when I lost weight I got rid of my bigger clothes. AND I want to be mindful, when I do buy clothes, to purchase things that will last and that are age appropriate.

5. I will be able to have three "treat" times in a month. I can get a cupcake, or a soda, or a coffee, lunch - whatever! But I will need to be mindful of my other spending limits. And I want to use these "treats" wisely.

That's all I've come up with so far, but I'm confident that it will be challenging. I am looking forward to learning from this and growing as I try to stop wanting. I'm excited to truly learn to be content - and this is a step in that direction. And I certainly don't want to set myself up for failure by not allowing any kind of spending. I feel like this is a great, graceful, happy medium :)

Anyone up for challenging themselves with me? If you do, leave a comment and let me know so I can keep up with you and encourage you!


mom of 3, hater of cheese and birds said...

I think we could be twins in the soda department - I used to drive thru and think "ah this is my one thing I do for just ME all day"..eventually though it became less satisfying as our true need is Christ! One tip - as a momma of young ones some of your social outings will be McD's or CFA. You need this to keep your sanity! If you plan ahead with juice boxes and fruit, you can skip the meal and buy some chicken (and free play time for B)

erin said...

Totally feel you on this one. I started the 'no buying new clothes' challenge for myself back in January (caveat -- I can get something if I have a gift card). Surprisingly, the times that I have wandered through the clothes at Target lately, nothing has appealed to me . . . maybe it's working! I appreciate how you are focusing this back on Christ -- he fulfills us, getting new stuff just doesn't cut it. :)

Christy Cap said...

No. But. I love you. :D