As I take down and prepare to recycle our 8-year old, pre-lit, 4 ft. Christmas tree that slowly dwindled down to having only 1/5th of the lights working, I start to think about how I might miss out on the after-Christmas sales, where I was hoping to snag a replacement. They’re probably all sold out by now! I worry. (Did I mention how I am an expert? At least at worrying. I’m trying to lose that credential lately.) Even if they weren’t, I spent the cash, mostly piggy bank quarters, on groceries and now we’re not using credit this month! I think, defeated.
Then I catch myself and say, as it is a new year, how about a shift in thinking? I am determining to stay on the sunny side of life this year. The past several years were way too wearing on me, full of anxiety and more often than I’d like to admit, negativity (which grows easily when you’re chronically fatigued), and I’m ready for an improved point of view. (And hormone health…but that’s for another post!)
My January goal, as mentioned earlier, is not using credit. After December and gift buying, mostly on Amazon (where Discover offered 5% cash back on purchases!!), my husband showed me our mint info…and there was a lot of red. Actually, in more than just December. Because we don’t buy what we can’t afford, I didn’t think of it as a problem. I’m the acquisitions expert in the family. (Read: shopper extraordinaire). We had money in savings. I discussed everything beforehand with my financial partner, my handsome hubs. But with over half the year drawing from it (mostly for medical bills and health efforts like buying organic and gluten free foods), maybe it’s time to scale back in other ways? So, thought-pattern shifting time!
I don’t really do things half-heartedly. I’m kind of all or nothing. So when my husband suggested we be careful the next few months and try to save, I got curious. What if we didn’t use credit AT ALL this month?! (With the exception of buying gas, which Discover offers 5% cash back on, again…that’s making money, you know)?! How much could we save then? The possibility was rather exciting.
The goals? Save for our kids’ next year at a private school, be able to afford plane tickets to visit my brother on the other side of the US, and budget for a dog (wasn’t that like $1,000 a year including vet bills?).
So, no impulse buys this month. Empty our pantry. Get creative with meals, only use gift cards ($40 to Target, $25 to Amazon, and the rest of our cash, which was about $20 in bills, and $10 in coins) to restock the empty fridge with fresh milk, fruit and veggies for the kids after returning from Christmas vacation. Put all “wants” on a list for next month. I got this. So I think.
P.S. Back to the Christmas Tree…I changed my thinking to more outside the box. I’ve always wanted a little 2-3 ft. live one that come in cute little pots at Lowes! So that’s my plan. Next year, we’ll have a tree/bush to plant outside after adding some live greenery to our home. No artificial one in storage(we don’t really have storage spaces in our home) for me! How’s that for a step towards minimalism? I should pat myself on the back for that triumph out of decor-tragedy!