A few months ago, my Hubby started a new job, which included a pay increase. Our goal since then has been to live on the same income that we were already living on and to use the increase to go into savings and to pay down our credit card debt.
We've been doing well with the credit card debt repayment. We've cut that debt down from $13,402.24 to $7,879.50. So we've paid off $5,522.74 so far this year. Pretty darn good.
Also, when Hubby started his new job, we set it up so a portion of his pay increase would go directly into our savings account so what we didn't see, we would never miss. I strongly recommend this whenever you get a pay increase. It was such an easy transition and we never would have been this disciplined to save the money every single week by ourselves.
Even though I feel like those things are going well, I know that we're spending more than we used to. I really wanted to stick to spending the same amount we were before, but it's hard when you've been doing without certain things for so long and now you actually have the money for them. It's hard to keep saying no or to keep putting purchases off.
I'm not talking about going on vacations and buying new cars. I'm talking about needing things around the house. For years, we've wanted to put in a stepping stone walkway out front of our house. Without it, we were walking through grass back and forth to our cars and tracking grass and dirt into both the house and the car. So we finally went out and bought the stepping stones and now we love our new walkway.
Other things we've been spending more on are going out to eat just a little more often, getting the car washed more often, getting our two dogs groomed more often, among other things.
I guess you could say, we're spending more money on maintaining what we have. It's not like we're going out and buying a bunch of new gadgets, etc. And I know the things we're spending money on are not frivolous. They are well thought out and planned for. And I'm okay with that. Or atleast trying to be okay with it.
I think I'm just afraid of getting carried away with purchases or spending, thinking we can afford it. But we can't. Even if we have the cash to spend, we shouldn't. We have no business buying too much extra stuff when we still have credit card debt. Nevermind the fact that we also have student loans, a car payment and a mortgage.
All this to say, it's hard. Just like it's hard not to be tempted to charge up credit cards. It's also hard to live below your means. This personal finance stuff is work. And everyday tough choices are thrown at you and you have to make tough decisions.
Whenever I'm faced with the temptation to purchase or spend money on something, I try to think it through. Would it make my life happier? Would I regret buying it in a week? Can I find it cheaper elsewhere? Can we hold off and buy it at a later date? Would I have bought this several months ago, before Hubby got the raise?
Some days I feel great about how we're doing financially - especially in the last few months. Other days, I get bummed. I regret purchases and I second guess decisions. But I keep going, trying my best. Trying to propel ourselves into a better place.