We, the FID (Family in Debt), are being crushed by the OFID (Other Family in Debt). As indicated in a previous post*, our FID and the OFID decided to try to spend money only on necessities (loosely defined) this month.
When the matriarch of the OFID called yesterday to guiltily confess that they had gone out to breakfast (gasp!), it became clear to me that our FID is failing miserably in comparison. The husband from the OFID, apparently, has not even been buying BEER! Whaa?
I, on the other hand, have purchased electric toothbrushes for the kids, new cups for the kids, and I bought a potted plant this weekend. We bought pumpkins. I'm sure I also bought some unnecessary groceries since I haven't quite figured out the difference between necessary food and luxurious food. And my husband spent last weekend partying in the city with his Rocky Mountain buddies buying who knows how much food and booze. And he bought something he's apparently ALWAYS wanted because he found the chance to get it at cost. That item? A helmet-cam that also works underwater--good for kayaking, dirt biking, motorcycles, whatever.
(We've got some great underwater footage of the kids acting out shark attacks in the tub. If I figure out how to do it, I can post it for you.) And I have had to spend at least $300 on the dog. The dog.
And next week I turn 40. And I think we'll go out on a date this weekend and spend some money on dinner and maybe a movie. And I want a present. Luxury? It's my 40th birthday, and I can just hear Suze Orman telling me to get real and honest and that if I want to truly be a grown up, I should celebrate my 40th birthday at home eating Ramen noodles watching a DVD I rented from the library. Like THAT'S going to happen.
So I think we'll have to have a "do over" next month. But, of course, next month I travel to PhD City in the U.K., which will NOT be cheap. At all. And I'll be lonely, so I'll want to spend money eating in nice restaurants rather than dank holes in the wall. I have a particular charcuterie in mind. I could eat there every day. Jars and jars of olives in the windows. Cheeses in open on the shelves, and a great in-house casual dining. Ah. Heaven. But, yes, a luxury.
But there are also things I have not been buying. I canceled my gym membership (finally). I've downloaded free yoga that I really like. I have avoided the local bakery. I have only been to my local coffee shop once (today). We have hardly eaten (or ordered) out at all. I clipped coupons and used them last weekend. I studied the grocery store sales for the week and went to two different stores in order to get the items I needed on sale (they are very close to each other, so I didn't have to use extra gas).
The upshot? I'm still in the red for the month. But the good news is that I've become much more aware of the various ways in which the money slips through my fingers. Now, the trick is to get a list of all of my husband's expenditures for the month, put them together with mine, get him on the same page with me, and try again. I'm sure we'll be sufficiently shamed and scolded when we compare notes with the OFID.
I welcome all tips for reducing my spending and increasing my (and my husband's) discipline.
*Can someone PLEASE tell me how to insert links to previous posts and how to label posts for hotlink archives? I have not been able to figure out how to implement these features.