Author Topic: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...  (Read 3908 times)

LadyM

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PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« on: July 24, 2013, 12:05:09 PM »
I'm doing this in the hope of getting myself back on track.  Please help me, for I have strayed...

I've been reading MMM from the beginning, like literally 2 months after he began blogging, and I've been following his sage advice to fix what was a dumb situation.  We got to a good place, and on the way to better places.  Paid off all credit card debt, but still chipping away at car and student loan debt, but still better than we were.  We lowered expenses, cancelled cable, switched cell phones to AirVoice, and even got a good bit of money put away in savings, more than we ever had before.  Still far from mustachian, but an enormous improvement.

I haven't been on the forum in months, and that's a problem.  I went away because I did some DIY home improvement projects with some of the aforementioned savings.  These were things Iíd been wanting to do for the past 6 years of living in this house, but didn't really have the money to accomplish until recently.  So why not ride the wave?  With the help of my dad I put a new floor in our living room, and remodeled a bathroom, complete with tub and tile replacement.  I feel like a badass for doing it!  But remodels cost $$, even if youíre doing them yourself, and that would have been fine if I could have stemmed the spending and limited it to my home improvements, but alas I reacted to this a bit like a recovered addict; I found a trigger and couldn't seem to stop the spending, justifying it all in my head along the way. 

To keep this from getting too long winded, I have just kept spending and havenít been able to reel myself back in.  I opened a few rewards cards a while ago, and while I pay them off every month, the fact that Iím using them to essentially defer a purchase has become a problem, and I've been over-spending myself.  We've also allowed the grocery bills to expand, and we've been buying more beer.  Yes, I pay the cards in full every month, but a few of those months required dipping into savings to do so, and that is no good.  Bad Aspiring Mustachian.

So Iím here to repent.  Iím cancelling all but one reward card, and Iíll probably keep it for true emergencies.  Iím also going to reign back in the grocery spending, and Iím going back to shopping with a calculator.  And the extraneous expenses are going to get a limit, like an allowance in cash.  I worked hard to fix this stuff the first time, I donít need to go back to the bad place where we started.

Okay Ė time to hit me with face punches or tar & feathersÖ.whatever floats your boat.  I deserve it.  But please, after the beating, offer some thoughts or advice to help a $inner like me from going off the rails again.  I could always use a little more motivation to keep on the straight and narrow.


Rebecca Stapler

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Re: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 12:12:49 PM »
To help get you back on track, I'm curious what your financial goals are. If you don't have your eyes on a prize, it's easy to stray.

rugorak

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Re: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 12:26:04 PM »
Agreed. You need goals. And study after study have found that short term specific goals are much better than long term vague goals. Even if your ultimate goal is something long term and vague to get there you should set yourself many short term small goals. It forces some more planning and if you slip up it allows you to make the fix much faster.


Riceman

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Re: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 07:00:43 PM »
You're in Northern Virginia.  If you're not face-punching yourself, you are going to blow all your money on overpriced restaurants, pottery barn and whole foods, and when you're 60 years old you'll still be greeting e bevery new person you meet by asking, "So, where do you work?" 

The bike trails nearby are great.  There are ridiculously cheap Korean groceries aplenty.  And if you want to go out, you can get cheap peruvian, ethiopian, or vietnamese food easily. 

And please don't tell me you installed all new stainless steel appliances, because that's your future if you don't shape up.

Dee

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Re: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 07:09:28 PM »
You live, you learn. Now you know that one conscious spending decision can trigger an unconscious spending spree. You're taking constructive steps by acknowledging what has happened and curtailing it by being more aware of credit card issues. Chalk it up to experience and learn from it.

KatieSSS

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Re: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2013, 08:59:35 AM »
The hardest part is owning up to the problem, so at least you've done that! I understand what you mean about have a "relapse" of sorts. This has been a bit of a relapse month for me. I took a 2-week vacation and since I had saved for it, it was time to just spend the money! Rental car, lodging, and food - I didn't worry about the cost because I had the money, and it was great. That was the point of saving for the trip. BUT, I never spend that much money in my "normal" life, so when I got back I was in such a habit of spending that I bought way too many expensive groceries/wine and of course had to go out with the friends I hadn't seen in a few weeks. Stupid!

Go back to your budget and read some MMM blog posts for reassurance.

LadyM

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Re: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 10:22:36 AM »
You're in Northern Virginia.  If you're not face-punching yourself, you are going to blow all your money on overpriced restaurants, pottery barn and whole foods, and when you're 60 years old you'll still be greeting e bevery new person you meet by asking, "So, where do you work?" 

The bike trails nearby are great.  There are ridiculously cheap Korean groceries aplenty.  And if you want to go out, you can get cheap peruvian, ethiopian, or vietnamese food easily. 

And please don't tell me you installed all new stainless steel appliances, because that's your future if you don't shape up.

Oh Riceman, trust me, NoVa will take your money faster than you can count it.  Fortunately for us, we now avoid many of the pitfalls.  We also avoid all but the occasional restaurant meal (about once a month) and when we do go out it's someplace kid-friendly and cheap, like IHOP or Chipotle.  But a restaurant meal is a rare thing for us, as my husband prefers my cooking to most restaurants; he finds most restaurant food to salty, greasy, gimmicky. 

I make most of our food.  We shop at Trader Joe's (screw Whole Foods), and their prices are good along with the quality.  Yes, there are plenty of cheap Asian grocery stores around, but at times I'm wary of produce and meats being so cheap, and I'm concerned about chemicals, pesticides, etc., so I tend to shy away.  Perhaps I'm conditioned to be snooty, although I don't mean to be.  I just feel better about buying affordable organics from TJ's as opposed to the super-cheap items at the Asian mart.  But it's a good point to save money, and perhaps I'll go give one of those places another try.  For the moment, we're participating in a CSA and getting locally-grown fruits and veggies for the summer and into fall.  I just need to reign-in the food purchases and come up with some new and cheaper meal & snack ideas.

We live right next to the WO&D trail, and it's pretty kick-ass.  I haven't gotten out onto it as much as I'd like this summer, but it's nice to be able to take a ride on it for fun, or for a quick grocery run.

And no, we don't have SS appliances.  And we still have a 32" tube TV we bought in 2000 from Wal-Mart!  I can't bear to shell out the money to replace it until it breaks.

Good call on everyone who suggested short-term goals.  I HAVE goals, but I've kind of lost sight of them, or mentally said "they can wait, I need to fix/get/improve this thing..." I think that's what I need to get back to.  Get X amount into savings by X-date.  Pay the cars down by X-date.  Kill the student loans by X-date.  Save up for a down-payment on a house (want to move closer to where my husband teaches in a couple of years)  Some of these are more long-term, than short, but there's at least a progression.  I have to put my focus back on my goals.

I think I can do other things around the house to improve things without spending money, or at least spending very little.  De-cluttering is easy and free, and it NEEDS to happen.  Painting the walls is pretty cheap.  Finally hanging all of our existing artwork is free!  Cleaning out the attic...also a free improvement.  I just need to really think about it, and I can improve our space for very little cash.  And the projects that do require some serious money (like the impending total master bath renovation), will have to wait until we've built up the cash for it.

rugorak

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Re: PUBLIC SHAMING OF SELF!!! Face punches please...
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2013, 01:11:27 PM »
Cleaning out the attic...also a free improvement.

This could potentially be turned into a money making improvement too. Sale time! Your useless junk may not be useless junk to someone else. Get rid of it and make a few dollars. Put that money towards debt or saving for that bathroom. Win win :)