My promise to you to exploit all ridiculous, stupid, and careless happenings and also what we do about those ridiculous, stupid, and careless happenings has fallen short- until now.
In early August, I was starting to feel like we were a little out of control with our spending. Coming off a few busy months, I was noticing our finances falling a little flat. A lot flat. We were “missing” money– but where did it go?
It’s a classic tale, really. Told and retold around the internet by personal finance geeks, thrifty mom blogs, and a particular breed of minimal millennials: The Tale of Superfluous Spending on Food and Drink.
Our crazy spend began in May and ended in early August. It was catapulted into being with the start of our first vacation of the year– Our visit to Chicago. We were pretty proud at the end of this visit, because even after some unexpected expenses (our kids got sick, so our hosts asked us to find a hotel so we wouldn’t share the wealth), we came up right on budget. Yay us! We had house guests the following weekend and supplied foods, some drinks, etc. Then we went on to a road trip to Philly to visit family. Somehow, all this traveling and the fun of going places, seeing things, and eating out stuck with us when we arrived home. And then for most of July, they stuck around like the kind of month long cold that produces phlegm in the back of your throat and causes your head to feel just a bit of constant pressure.
It wasn’t massive amounts of money all at once- but it added up to a quick $1500 that we had no intention of spending. An extra $500 in each month for May, June, and July! We were both shocked when we went back through our spending and added it all up! Yes, we have had some success with online budgeting tools, but our consistency with them is quite low.
Here’s the thing I shouldn’t say as someone who is supposed to be working day and night to pay off debt but I’m totally going to say: While we were in the moment, we had a really great time spending that money. I enjoyed spending it. I enjoyed the drinks they bought (even if they were overpriced!) The food we ate was delicious. The laughs we had with family and friends was well worth the overage and I feel so lucky that we had the wiggle-room in our budget to let loose a little bit.
Those are the important words. A little bit. We will not keep up that level of spending as a rule. It isn’t in keeping with our real life or our big goals. In retrospect, of course, I wish those dollars had ended up tucked away somewhere else. Ah well.
The good news is for the month of August, we spent less than half of what we averaged in the late spring/early summer! Back to routines and a much tighter budget!