Wow, this 21-day challenge has been hard.
I know, I know, plenty of people go without buying things for extended periods of time, but that’s just not me. Within days of starting the challenge, I came up with a new project I want to do and it’s killing me that I can’t start it. We’ve been letting our bunny run free in the backyard and she loves it. Like she fights me when I try to bring her back inside, which is something she never does inside. While I’ve thought in the past that it’s inhumane to have an outdoor-only animal, I’m really thinking that our buns will be happier outside. So we’ve decided to build her a shelter (though she’ll have the whole yard to roam and the shelter is just for sleeping and bad weather) and possibly a bunny friend (bunnies are happier with friends, but I’ve never been able to talk my husband into a second until we started talking about having her outside).
Either way, that’s given me two things that I really really want to buy. I’ve been trying my hardest to not actually buy them and succeeded so far, but it’s still really difficult. It’s helped me to become resourceful in finding things for free though. Like how I really wanted a big cup to carry around full of water and rather than buying one, I borrowed one from my mom. I’ve been looking at the free section of a local classifieds for wood and bunnies, but haven’t found either that match what we need yet. I’m really just trying to focus on the fact that if I really need something, it’ll still be there in 2 more weeks.
I think another thing that helps our challenge is the fact that we’ve reformed how we do our budget. It’s not a complicated reform. Actually, it’s what people who don’t have credit cards do every day–just spend what you have.
We sat down and figured out how much comes out of our account per month on automatic payments (bills and such), subtracted that amount from wages earned, and that’s what we have left over to spend. In order to do this, we’ve started transferring the money over to the account that I had prior to our marriage (and we never closed because it’s supposedly better for our credit) and using a debt card. That means that bills come out of one place and spending comes out of another. It’s going to be rough to suddenly run out of money at the end of the month (which I’m sure we’ll do), but I think that’s what we need. It’s too difficult to decide how much every individual section needs per month and monitor each thing. In the end, if we spend all our money on going out, we’ll have to figure out how to eat just from things already in the house rather than grocery shopping. If we having a big bill at the vet, we’ll have to spend less on entertainment. It all affects the whole, so we’re treating it as a whole.
We’re also working on starting our debt snowball with the money left over (we’re transferring over slightly less than what we actually have after bills). In the end, we want to be like my in-laws. They’re so smart with money it hurts and they don’t deny themselves either. Case-in-point, my father-in-law’s brand new Dodge Charger. It’s because they’ve been smart with money from the start. They never let themselves get into debt and beyond that, they built up incredible savings and other financial equity.
So all-in-all, major financial reform. Hopefully for the better. The 21-day challenge, I’m hoping, will help me to prioritize what I actually need to buy rather than want, which will tie back into the plan.