Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lifestyle Changes

A few weeks ago, I noticed something--a 6 digit credit card bill.  For some, this might not be a big deal, but for me (the girl who pays off her credit card in full almost every month and NEVER carries a balance above $1K) this is a huge deal. 

Let's be real here, kids:  I just about lost my shit.

So what happened to get me to that point?  Basically, we moved.  We dumped all of our savings (and checkings) into buying a new home in the burbs.  And it's great!  But now I know why people truly resist moving to the burbs.  It's expensive!

So while I'm not paying city wage tax, my car insurance went down a little, and I'm not driving 40 minutes to go to retail and grocery outlets that looks like a zombie apocalypse was forecasted by Miss Cecily Tynan, I'm paying a whole lot more elsewhere.
1. My mortgage and property taxes.  They went up about 20%
2. Commuting.  That's gone up (for me anyhoo) about 30%
3. Daycare.  That's gone up an astonishing 90%.  Yes, folks, we pay almost double for daycare what we did before.

And to top it all off, now that I'm done carrying, baring, and nursing children, my body has returned to its normal shape and size.  But my 5 year old clothing is either too beat to wear or is too big (yes, I typed big.  I'm one of the lucky ones.) and I've needed to re-invest in some work clothes.

All of this unanticipated expense has forced me to rethink what I'm spending money on, and I've made some lifestyle as a result.
1. Not shopping anymore.  No clothes. No shoes.
2. Bank account consolidation.  Big guy and I weren't understanding what the other was doing and where money was going to pay for what.  It was confusing and we just didn't handle it.  Now all of our accounts (his, hers, and ours) are at one bank and with only a few weeks of this, it's made everything a lot easier.
3. Tracking spending.  Sounds rudimentary, but to force myself to look at statements, copy down what I spent and where (and the anticipation of having to do this later) is really helpful.
4. When I feel the need to buy something, I've been checking to make sure I don't already have an acceptable alternative.  Especially with clothes that I haven't been able to explore in 5 years, I'm finding that there are things that got shoved to back of the closet that are in great condition and I can wear them again.  It helps that I'm Kon-Marie ing my clothes--if it doesn't bring me joy it goes to someone that will find joy in it.
5. I'm doing my damnedest to use all the leftovers.  For all of us.  I found that even if I'm really good at bringing my lunch, there's one guy in our house that was spending lots of money on lunch ($~50 a week).

So, that's my truth serum.  And it will all be back to $0 balance in less than 3 months.  I'm cheap like that.

[Insert not-so-subtle requests from the peanut gallery on ways to not spend]