Note: These shoes are my new faves. Vegan J-41 “barefoot” shoes, $30 from Costco. Sooo comfy.
I appreciate you mentioning that budgeting is a lot like weight loss. I have been the heaviest I’ve ever been ever since having my first child (currently 27 weeks with #2) and I think a large contributing factor IS being in school, having the uncertainty (husband graduates tomorrow and we have no idea what’s going to happen), and feeling out of control. I was praying for years for comfort, and then recently started changing my prayers to solutions.
The first thing was to get out of debt. We have a hefty goal of getting out of credit card debt by the time the baby gets here and I really am surprised at how quickly it’s moving!
And yes, food has been a huge money sucker. We were grocery shopping all the time (Costco can kill us), AND eating out. In the two weeks that I have actually made (and stuck to) a meal plan, we have come under budget and cut our expenses like crazy! We are always good at finding deals, but we are learning that while trying to get out of debt, it’s not about how much you SAVE necessarily, but how much you SPEND.
I’ve also found that I’m a totally emotional spender. Do you do this? Like, I really REALLY wanted to buy a scarf today because these last few weeks of my husband in school has been stressful. How do you manage to keep self control? I’m also an emotional eater, so any tips would be helpful 🙂
In a follow up email she writes:
I never knew just how much of an emotional buyer I was until I stuck to a strict budget. I found that I used ALL the same rationalizations as I do with food. “I deserve this, I’ve had a rough week.” “I deserve this, I had a good week!”
It’s pretty unhealthy, but if I could I would mourn with cake and celebrate with cake. Mourn with shoes and celebrate with shoes.
Self-control is not fun, but it feels so much better when I see that debt going down!
First of all, congrats on your 2nd!
What an exciting time for your family. Especially your husband graduating. A milestone for both of you guys.
I know it’s a scary, unpredictable world out there, post-college. While in school, you’re able to comfortably live in a bubble of denial. It’s cozy & you don’t have to worry about the “real world” yet–or at least it’s easy to feel that way.
After Joseph finished his B.A., we had no future employment prospects.
Just a month before graduating, a career path that he had been planning on entering completely fell through. That was a huge disappointment. So we took a year off, lived with my parents, & saved a lot of money. Fortunately, we had no student debt, in fact, we were totally debt-free.
At that time we had 2 kids & one on the way.
It was humbling to be put back in that position of living with parents, but it was also a blessing. Not just monetarily, but we were able to spend quality time with extended family & get to know them better.
During that year, Joseph studied for the LSAT & applied to law schools. Then we waited. He was accepted to the school of his choice, & we spent the next 3 years after that working very hard.
Those were the years of babies & sacrifice. And when it was all over, we had a job lined up, but it required that Joseph pass the bar before he could begin. That was 6 more months, followed by 9 more months (because Joseph didn’t pass the bar exam the first time around & they only administer the test twice a year).
A lot of waiting & more debt. It was an uneasy period of our lives. It was also one of the most blessed. Joseph was a stay-at-home dad & the kids got to spend so much time with him.
This morning I read the following scripture in the New Testament.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we carry nothing out. And having food & raiment let us be therewith content.”
1 Timothy 6: 6-8, KJV
In the moment of reading I was struck with how true these words are. The solution to controlling appetites, be they for food or material things, is contentment. And realizing, material things are temporary parts of our much greater existence.
As I discussed on Friday, money is as only as good as we allow it to be. It’s tool to help us live (that food & raiment bit), to be self-sufficient so then we can help others.
I could give you a list of “tips for not emotional eating” or “tips for not emotional spending.” But what it comes down to, is not a list of do’s & don’ts (although that may be helpful) but rather a principle: contentment. Which means, to be grateful for what we do have, to focus on that. To look around & notice the beautiful, the good, the kind. And acknowledge that what we have is “good enough.”
This mindset runs contrary to the thinking that pop culture sells which is: you are not enough. Therefore, you must buy what you do not truly need, you must eat when you are not hungry, because in doing so (they want you to believe), you may be made complete. The good news is, this only works if you buy into the idea that you aren’t “enough” & that what you have is not enough.
The beautiful thing about contentment is that it eases these feelings. It softens the edges of want, & helps us to focus on what is most important–not the things, but the people.
Do you have anything to add?
Please share your experience or tips with Carrie.