Y'all. I decided to take a break from investing blog posts to tell you that I have been spending way too much money! I was going to say that May was a heavy spending month, but in truth, its been a heavy spending year in general. Why you ask? Well, let me tell you.
I have been traveling a lot. And I mean a lot. All of these trips have been domestic and for the most part, pretty local, but between transportation, food, activities and lodging, costs have been adding up.
I have really good reasons to be traveling so much. Some trips have been for work (which I was reimbursed for); for great life celebrations like bachelorette parties or the birth of my new Goddaughter; and because my sister finally lives on the same coast (and only a 5 hour drive away!) as me. I am not complaining because I am fortunate to have so much to celebrate in life. And the whole point of being/becoming financially fit is so that you can enjoy your money. It doesn't make sense to have a fully stacked savings account and all you do is sit in the house (unless you like doing that!). Financial fitness means you can live out the fantasies of your life while also taking care of the realities. That being said, how much I've been spending has been starting to weigh on me.
Confession (i.e. tangent) time. This is actually my constant struggle: reminding myself that it is okay to spend money for enjoyment purposes. I fall much more on the save rather than spend part of the spectrum. When I started this journey, it was because I was afraid I didn't have enough to cover my needs. Once I got a little further along, I saw myself falling into the trap of closing myself off in order to ensure I had enough. That wasn't necessary. My cousin this weekend said it best: if you are saving money to the detriment of your relationships, you are saving too much.
Let's unpack that statement. I am not saying that you should let others convince you to spend money you wouldn't spend normally. What I am saying is that going out to dinner with friends, paying for that concert, taking that trip, going to get your nails done, or buying that book is something you should be doing. Your money is supposed to work for you. But the reverse of that statement above should also be true: if you are spending money to the detriment of your relationships, you are spending too much. Life (and financial fitness) is about balance.
Back to all my current spending. May really set it over the top for me. I had two trips and I was spending a ton on food, so I decided to do something about it. When I budgeted for the month of June, I cut my "restaurant" budget by $100 and reduced my "clothing" budget to $50. I also tried to trim any other fat in my budget that I saw. In addition, I have set a goal to not spend any money three days a week. For the month of June, that is 12 days total out of 30; so almost half the month. I've tried to do better about eating what I have at home, and designating specific days in the week for spending, depending on my plans for that week.
So far it has been good! And I feel better already. Scripture says that there is a time for everything. So far this year, it has been a time for spending, but June has been a time for saving. I initially got the idea to do this from this No Buy Challenge. Honestly, this seemed a bit too intense for me, but I liked the concept. It was about creating rules relevant to you and your spending habits and where you see you can cut back.
If you're like me and get a little antsy when you spend too much, this is a good way to take a step back and review your expenditures and reduce where you can. Traveling this year has brought me a lot of joy; but I know that making sure I'm comfortable with my level of spending is just as important. I challenge you to bring some balance to your life in the month of July. If you've been spending too much, try and cut back. If you've been saving too much, treat yourself to something nice. Just like in exercising, we need to shake it up so that the body still keeps working and we don't get bored. Shake it up next month and stretch whatever saving or spending muscles you need to.