It's review time at work and I might've mentioned something about raises not mattering because no matter how much money I make, we always seem to be broke. Then I might have said, "broke, broke, broke", followed by a distortion of my mouth and face that amounted to an "I'm sick of myself" expression.
For those of you who do not know Audra, let's just say that she is a bit "no nonsense". She has no tolerance for irresponsibility and frivolousness (or environmental abuse, but that's a separate blog).
I first tried to blame my financial woes on the kids. I whined that we were riddled with costs for daycare, private school, summer care, piano lessons, swim lessons, golf lessons, gymnastics, snacks for schools, activity fees, clothing, breathing (oh, wait, that one is actually free). She looked unimpressed. "You make more than you spend on that stuff. So where is the rest going?"
Um..charity, my 401K, um...
No. Though some does go to those places, the real problem is my spending. I feel compelled to note that at this point in the conversation, Audra looked disgusted, as if I had just thrown a plastic bottle in my trash can.
She said that my blog on Sweet Tea highlighted my problem with consumerism. "Did you really need the Starbucks at Target?" "What did you go to Target for?" "What did you leave with?" All very valid questions. I went to Target for trash bags and I left with everything but. I broke down and confessed my secret trick to try to spend under $100 so that my spending would dip below Dirt's watchful radar. I don't know if that trick actually works because Dirt never mentions anything to me about my spending, but with every swipe of my debit card, I can almost feel his eyes perusing the details of our account, just looking for a triple-digit purchase to interrogate me about.
After our conversation I felt motivated to go home and make a budget with Dirt. He was going to be so proud of me for initiating budget talks, I couldn't wait to impress him with my new-found motivation for living within financial confines. "What about purchasing things we need, or home renovations?" I asked, "What about vacations?". Audra gave me a line about saving and budgeting for them, she may've called me "young grasshopper", I'm not 100% sure.
Since Audra is all about plans (she's a PM by nature and by profession), she gave me an assignment: For 1 week Dirt and I were not to buy anything outside of gas and groceries. One week. I was up for the challenge! We smiled and she stood up and told me she'd check in with me on Monday to see how I did.
Earlier in the day Dirt had e-mailed me a picture of some fishing boots that he wanted me to pick up at Cabalas on the way home. Since we hadn't formally had our budget discussion, I felt that it would be unfair for me start budgeting by cutting out his desired item. So I left work and headed to Cabalas as planned for the $60 boots. But that's when something bad happened. I panicked. I felt the urge to hoard up on things before the budget went into effect. By the time I got to the register I was up to $200, it was not a good start to my new financial plan.
I spent most of the day today thinking about all of the things I need to buy before the budget goes into effect. This is probably not the proper thinking and I'm sure that Audra will scold me for this on Monday.