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In the forgotten land of busted-up budgets, my time and effort in writing expenses down to the cent are more worthwhile than I expected.
Instead of spending quality time with Mr. BuLL, high-strung cats, or at the very least, taking a nap, I dutifully typed every purchase I made for nine years. Almost a decade of tracking expenses.
Is this an origin story for how I became a bean counter?! Possibly. But not today!
Along with the amount, I added comments about what I bought, which is more painful than the price. The depths of my consumer mindset was long, deep, and scarring.
Per the wise words from Indeedably, “A choice made long ago. One with long-tailed consequences.”
I would find it more interesting and less disturbing if it was someone else’s budget but alas, the colorful mess that looks like someone ate one too many crayons, is mine. The review is painful but enlightening. At least now, I can see my warped ways and how I have adjusted them to future saves.
The Weight of Books
Buying books was making me broke.
It wasn’t the only reason, but it sure was a consistent reason. I had flawed logic. Instead of supporting my local library who was also broke and pay their $8 user fee, I would buy books from the dollar store and try to resell them.
Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
I should have supported the local library, but I didn’t. Instead, my past budget is riddled with wasted time and money.
What was once warped ways becomes future saves.
Later on, I would work at a couple of libraries where my passion for borrowing was rekindled, and I have leaned on local libraries ever since.
Borrowing is better than buying. First and foremost, it’s free. Plus, I don’t have to consider whether to keep, sell, or donate the book. The library is the one that maintains and stores the paper cadre, which turns into less cleaning and storing. Lastly, borrowing saves a small forest with its multiuse life.
Books are better when borrowed.
Clutter to Declutter
It’s shocking how much I visited craft stores. If I didn’t know better, I would think I worked there.
I pursued the shelves and browsed the stores more than occasionally. More like weekly, based on my budget.
The part that makes me pale faster than paste on dry hands is that I no longer have 99% of it. I went from buying décor to decluttering it a few years later.
I’m disappointed that I fell for the consumer trap, but I’m in good company.
I work with a gaggle of retirees, and I love it. They share their hard-earned insight, which I greedily gulp.
There is one lady I adore named Lily. She pursued a career in accounting when everyone else was busy being teachers, nurses, or flight attendants. Along with periods of struggle and strife during her childhood which included starvation and later the loss of a child, she has brilliant gems of insight.
A while ago, she jokingly shared, “I spent my whole life accumulating stuff. Furniture, clothes, jewelry, and now near the end of my life, I just want to give it all away.”
I responded, as the sassy ranger I am, “Yeah, I want to skip the accumulation part.”
She did get rid some of it through yard sales when she downsized from a bi-level house to a condo, but she gave away more than she sold. Lily’s ways have become my future saves.
My perspective may have changed, but my want hasn’t.
Those stores continue to be a weakness with their cute ideas and instant appeal which is why I rarely visit them. I have statistical knowledge, compliments of a budget, that my want is stronger than my wallet.
Quantity to Quality
I used to buy many cheap things.
Not only is that bad for my finances to buy something cheap on repeat, but it’s a waste of natural resources too.
I buy less now, but when I whip out the charge card, it’s more expensive. Since my wages haven’t increased that much, I save up before purchasing. The window between desire and saving enough for my shiny object is a waiting game. I win more than expected while I play this game.
- Sometimes, by the time I have the money, my interest has shifted.
- Sometimes, I repurpose something else that I already have.
- Occasionally, the item will go on sale while I’ve been hawking it.
- On rare occasions, but it does happen, someone will gift the item.
No matter how I win or lose the game, I buy less because patience is power.
When I was little, I moaned about wearing a uniform.
I don’t remember whining about it, but my Mom has mentioned it on more than one occasion.
I didn’t like the boxy shape and bland colors like any preadult; I wanted to express my quirky and colorful fashion sense.
As a big, I love uniforms. A uniform makes it easy to start the day since I know what I’m wearing, and it’s paid by someone who wants the conformed boxy-with-a-shot-of-military-charm look.
Plus, my fashion sense has dwindled from quirky to comfy. I wear similar colors and styles, which isn’t too different from a personalized uniform. I have fewer clothes but I wear all of them. I discarded the maybes, somedayers, and that looked-better-in-the-storers. I kept what feels good all day, every day.
Warped Ways Future Saves
There was a time when I was cute and little when I thought the D in Disney was a G. A fancy, backward, G that no one talked about.
As I grew older, I realized no one said Gisney.
For good reason! 😆
I cackle over this silly logic, but it’s a lesson too. On more than one occasion, I used the experience I had to fit reality. As I got older, the guffaws were less comical and more concerning.
It’s hard to chuckle when money is involved.
But, just like the weird G, I learned bigger and better things as I grew in wisdom and wrinkles. Every stumble, every misstep, every purchase of yet another craft item I donated in less than a year, is another example of how far I’ve come and how the future is greener because I’m willing to grow.