Friday, August 31, 2012

Spending Fast

I don't know if I should say I failed the spending fast or if I should say I quit or both. I didn't start at the beginning of the month. And when I got started I denied myself very little. The #realissue with this fast is that I did not include God. It was more of a project and less of a fast. 

It helped me do a couple of things:

1. Be conscious of the money I was spending. (Before the "fast" I was just spending until I ran dry)
2. Make a concerted effort to put more money in my savings. (I have savings allocated in my budget, but due to vacation, a big move and frivolous spending, I had not saved AS much.)
3. Stop eating out for lunch every day. I ain't got it.

It also taught me a couple of things:

1. I'm tired of being frugal. Unless forced to do so, I don't think I'm going back.
2. I'm a consumer. Some people are savers. Some people are spenders. I'm just a consumer. I market products at my day job. I buy products people have marketed to me when I get off work. And OH, what a fine job of marketing they have done. (Who's been to City Target? Oh, the joy.)

So I'm going to tell on myself here. I AM on track to save what I said I would save for the year, BUT... I've been using one of my credits cards. #facepalm Not sparingly, not responsibly and I have not been paying it off at the end of the month. This is more or less what brought on the fast (that I didn't really do).

So I paid these jokers off in February 2012, then I ran one up by the end of July. It's not maxed out and it has the lowest APR (and I cut it up this week and erased it off of my online shopping accounts) BUT I'm becoming more and more comfortable with carrying a balance. That cannot be good. Habits are HARD to break.

I'm going to take some time to come up with a game plan for paying this one off w/o sacrificing my savings goals. Stay tuned. Probably need to call my financial planner. Maybe he'll read this and call me first. I'm scared. Prayers and advice (and scolding) are welcome.


Unknown said...

I’m not going to scold but I’m going to be honest. I’ve been reading about your savings progress. It doesn’t seem like you’re truly ready, and until you’re ready you’ll keep having these pitfalls. I can empathize in a way. Overspending isn’t my Achille’s heel, but lately I’ve been trying to stop certain behavior and the truth of the matter is my mind knows I need to do this but my heart isn’t ready. Until I am TRULY tired of my current situation and want something different for myself, nothing is going to change. I don’t have any advice for you on that front because I’m in a similar boat myself. No advice anyone gives you will work until you’re ready to receive it.

But please…please stop using the word frugal to describe yourself. Chile, you are nowhere near frugal lol! I will introduce you to some truly frugal people. A frugal person does not upgrade to a more expensive apartment as a “reward” for paying off credit cards. A frugal person would probably DOWNGRADE to save even more money! It seems that you tell yourself these things to excuse your behavior. I’m not passing judgment—we’ve all been there. But until you are honest with yourself, not much is going to change. Maybe you can start with VERY small goals. Brining your own lunch ONE day a week. Not cabbing it for ONE day a week. Once you start seeing payoffs you may be inspired to goal yourself higher.

Good luck with your goals.

T said...

Unknown, thanks for you candid comments. I'm not sure when you started following my journey, but I lived in my mama's basement, various studio apartments, ate Michelina's $.99 cent "entrees" for lunch EVERY DAY and took the bus and train EVERYWHERE instead of cabbing or buying a car for YEARS.

I sat on my couch with money in the bank because I didn't want to go out and buy so much as a $10 drink.

If that's not being frugal, then I (and the dictionary) have a seriously wrong definition for the word.

When I say I'm tired of being frugal, I mean I was frugal during that time period in my life, but I'm not going to be anymore.

I've put in my time scrimping and saving and that will not be my lifestyle moving forward. I will, however, be responsible. And because I was so FRUGAL in the past, getting a more expensive apartment (that's nearly double what I was paying before) is not only a reward for paying off my credit cards, but also a testament to how truly frugal I was because my current living expenses are STILL less than 30% of my income.

I do agree that a change cannot be made until my heart is in it. I have to decide if not using credit cards is a change I want to make. Today, honestly, I'm not so sure.

I am so seriously proud of my financial progress. Onward and upward.

Unknown said...

If your living expenses (and I am going to assume you mean housing and utilities, unless stated otherwise) are less than 30% of your income, that means you have 70% or more for disposable income. I don’t know if you’re taking 30% gross or net, but 70% disposable income from either is pretty good in this economy. I know if I had 70% disposable income I probably wouldn’t use my credit cards let alone carry a balance! I am not trying to come down on you. It seems like a lot of your readers are your friends, which might complicate things when it comes to giving honest feedback. I don’t know how you live day in and day out so I can only comment on what has been made public on the blog. Yes, there is a dictionary definition of frugal, but living in your mother’s basement doesn’t automatically qualify you. There are many people with bad spending habits living in their mother’s basement and they aren’t saving anything.

Just food for thought. If you aren’t willing to take an honest look at your situation, you will stifle your growth from the outset.

T said...

Unknown, you noted that you don't have the whole story, but somehow you still feel comfortable making sweeping statements that address my habits. For example you say "stop using the word frugal to describe yourself".

And when I give concrete examples of how I've been frugal, you take 1 of the 4 and say, I don't necessarily qualify.

Quick question for you because you comment a lot, but seem to take issue with a lot of what I say via my comments.

Not only do you constantly post under "Unknown," but if we're not friends (
thanks for confirming that because I have no idea who you are), you don't agree with most of what I have to say, you're not comfortable sharing your name, a moniker or even a blog (so I can't have a glimpse into your world and better understand your POV) what compells you read my blog, (my very open and honest and intimate thoughts about my life) and comment so frequently?

Unknown said...

You asked for feedback and I gave it.

Blogger requires me to login with an email account. I haven't altered anything in my profile (as I prefer not to have to login using my e-mail, but that's not something I can control). The default was "unknown". You should, however, be able to see my e-mail address. I prefer *not* to have to identify myself over the internet. I've been reading your blog for a while though. You are correct in that I don't agree with a lot of the things you write but I wasn't aware that agreeing was a prereq for reading. I read (and comment) on a lot of things I don't agree with. As long as I'm not being disrespectful I don't see the problem.

Again, good luck with your goals.