I’m so behind on this week’s blog I considered just skipping it and combining it with next week. I feel like it is getting harder to find time to write than it was just a few months ago. Or maybe it’s flagging enthusiasm for this challenge?
Yet I soldier on because I do not want to be a quitter. I have started to think about what all this will have meant once this one year challenge is over. Will I have gained any knowledge about how I operate as a consumer? Will I have learned to tighten my belt? Will there be any significant changes in the way I spend money? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions.
Right now I am feeling both grateful for my life and the plenty that I am surrounded with and I am also stressed by the on-going financial issues that our medical bills from a few months back continues to plague us with. I am reminded of how lucky we are to manage to get away for the weekend, as we just did, on a mini family vacation to Yosemite. At the same time, I am frightened by how costly that ended up being and feeling slight guilt over that (more on that in a bit).
I’m essentially an internal mess. I want to be frugal and thrifty, yet time and again we end up spending. I am caught between wanting to be content with only the bare minimum and finding that sometimes spending is not only just necessary but sanity fortifying. I wonder if we are being wise to enjoy our money now despite challenges, or foolish and should be more cautious and knuckle down and save, save, save. I do not want to be a foolhardy millennial living off of credit like there’s no tomorrow. I think it’s safe to say that that is not the case, but sometimes I feel as though we teeter on that brink.
Last week I did some online shopping for “essentials” thinking that I was being efficient with my time and energy (my time is worth something, too, right?). Well, as it turns out, some items were not exactly right. Now, I had to deal with the rigmarole of returns. Essentially, I ended up settling for ‘less-than-exactly-right’ items and gave another item to a friend’s kid rather than make that effort to repackage and pay for return shipping. What I have learned from that is, a physical store is still preferred despite the effort involved hauling the kids with me.
I will also confess to cute, sparkly, holiday appropriate shoes that I impulse bought for my girls. There was definitely no need there. I thought perhaps that I would use them in our yearly photo shoot ( my internal spending trickster came up with that one!), but have decided on a theme that actually will not include sparkly shoes. Sooo…I have been staring at those shoes, set right by the door with tags on, debating and debating. To return or not. Every time I think, ‘ok, I’ll return these’, I envision my littlest running around with those sparkly Mary Janes and she looks so CUUTE. But, when it comes time to take off the tags, I can’t. Maybe I will change my mind and want to return them….
So, they sit there yet. My eldest’s sparkly shoes with the tag on have made it as far as the trunk of my car ( she has a pair of shiny shoes already)…now to look for the receipt. I don’t know why this is so gosh darn hard for me. Honestly. And in accordance with the rules I laid out when I started this challenge, if I am unable to return items I’ve spent frivolously on, I need to give away items. So, I will focus on that. More purging is in order!
And about Yosemite this weekend. It was amazing. It is one of the most picturesque places one could ever hope to visit. It is definitely something as many people as possible should see. It also happens to be one of the most expensive State Parks one could visit. For a two night stay in their tent cabins (camping sites were already booked up when we booked a few months ago) we were out almost $400. Then take into account that you aren’t allowed to cook there (lots of bears, drought with the potential for fires) so you need to buy dinners at approx $35 per meal for two adults and two kids. Also, the gas to travel 5.5 hours in both directions. Also, a $30 entrance fee for any and all visitors to Yosemite. All told we were looking at about $600. Now, the reason we like to camp is because it is the most affordable way to have a vacation. This did not fall into that category. It really did not. But we went with friends and they were all in and so were we. We had an absolutely marvelous time. The girls loved it. I loved the ease of having a cabin with beds, a bear box, a working light, and no food clean-up. It was quite fantastic. Aaand it is something we will not be repeating for quite some time!! So, yeah, there’s some guilt, but there is also gratitude for the fact that we could do it at all.
So, what is this blog all about this week? I dunno. A sort of confessional. And I feel the need to admit that I am really feeling quite embarrassed about all of this. I set out to do this “no needless spending” thing with a lot of enthusiasm and optimism. As it turns out, I feel like I have been failing at it quite miserably. I am embarrassed that more often than not this has been a list of my failures. Why does it matter? It just does. I know that this blog is mostly just talking into the wind, but for the few of you who are reading (for which I am grateful) I want to be able to say that I am making progress, that something is shifting within me. I want answers to my query: why do I want to spend? I will have to just end with no answers, as yet, reached.
love and gratitude.