Monday, January 24, 2011

Money Saving Monday: Learning About Money

I'm veering a bit away from Penny's prompt today, as part of the Saved Quarter Challenge.  She asks about interest rates and paying off debt. I'm fortunate: I have no credit card debt. I do have substantial student debt, which I am feverishly working to pay (my lofty goal is 5 years; that's lofty because of another one of my ambitions is to join the Peace Corps for 2 years, and you make NO money in the Peace Corps), but I am not at a point where I can negotiate interest rates or anything similar. Rather, I'm working on getting rid of them as much as possible BEFORE they're due.

In leiu of discussing the topic this week, I'm going to reflect on something I've learned this week: sticking to a budget is hard. Not in a I won't be able to pay my bills sort of way. Not even in a I can't reign in my spending habits way. No, it's hard because just when you're saving money, something awesome comes along, something that might help you achieve your goals, and you now have to make a decision.

I was seriously tested when I saw the internet explode with the $10 for a $20 Amazon gift card deal. Seems like a no-brainer, right? I'll admit that even though I'm quite low on cash at the moment (end of the month, waiting for contract payments), I spent a good portion of the day trying to make it work. "Well," I thought to myself, "if I sell these books, and deposit this check, I can get this deal for my $100 holiday." All day, these types of thoughts ran through my head, until finally I realized, it's only ten dollars. Yes, it's a free ten dollars, but it's ten dollars that I don't have to spend at the moment. Another Groupon, or Daily Deal is going to come along, and not taking advantage of this gift card is not going to derail my $100 holiday.  And, you know, once I realized that, I was relieved. Whew! I don't have to stress over how I'm going to pay for gas for the rest of the month. I don't have to worry that if I forget my Nalgene or travel mug, I won't be able to grab some water, or some coffee.  Much. Better.

Since that epiphany, I've been much more relaxed about this whole money thing.  And, I'm learning that not doing things spur-of-the-moment is not going to make my day worse. Just because I suddenly crave a fancy coffee doesn't mean I have to obssess over not having one; my day will not be ruined. How freeing is that?!

What have you learned about money this week?


  1. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who occasionally gets really obsessive about great deals or saving fairly tiny amounts of money. I was also really tempted by that deal, and in hindsight, I probably SHOULD have taken advantage of it, but I'm trying to convince myself that more good deals will come along!

  2. Yeah, I spend a lot of time going "Do I REALLY need that Groupon?" They have such good deals that its sometimes hard to say no!