It’s Spring break again….yeah, not for my children, but for my husband. It’s a thing when your spouse is a teacher. You don’t get to choose the times when you have vacation days as a teacher, but you do get to have a few days off that others don’t get.
Determined to not let this time slip by us we left bright and early this morning to take the girls to school. Then went to the bank to try and open a business bank account, because, ya know, I’m fancy and going to be an author soonish ;). Then we went to city hall to find out about how to file with our city to be a sole proprietor business. This is also fancy, and we have to have our home inspected to make sure that we will not cause fires. I’m not sure why they think that we’re more likely to set our house on fire as business owners than as residents…maybe they know the former mayor of Kirksville? (That was an inside joke for people of the ‘ville…the former mayor set her bar on fire for insurance money. Twice.)
Then, to solidify our fanciness, we went and spent my birthday gift card at my favorite nursery. I bought tulips, creeping phlox, pansies, sweet woodruff, and some dirt. The dirt was fancy dirt, so it counts towards fancy as well.
Now we have a fancy flowerbed at the front of the driveway with pansies and phlox inside, and plenty of space for the itty bitty daffodils and pink and purple tulips.
On a not so fancy note, sticking to our budget is going very well so far. We did our grocery shopping and stuck completely within our weekly limit. It was a very budget conscious trip, without completely scrimping. This is one of the keys to sticking to a budget….we have to be realistic. Our family needs a certain amount of food, and a certain amount of convenience to go along with said food…So yes, I do spend a little extra to purchase veggies that are already cut up into a stir fry mix so that I can throw that into a pan and feed my children fresh veggies…yeah, that costs a tiny bit more, but we’d be wasting a lot more money if I purchased food that I needed to prepare from scratch and then let that rot in the fridge on a day when I’m way too tired and need a break…and then ordered a pizza. I’m actually not a big proponent of saving huge on the grocery bill. Not that I’m against coupons, or savings…I just find that when we eat meals that we’re really happy with, and that don’t take super-human creativity on my part, we don’t fatigue our will power muscle as quickly.
This is a main aspect of the psychology of the budget. You save in some places….not every. single. place. We get fatigued from denying ourselves. Will power fatigue. There was a research study done on college students that asked two groups to resist eating something. One group was asked to not eat a plate of chocolate chip cookies. The other group was asked to not eat a plate of radishes. Then both groups were asked to solve an impossible puzzle. Guess what?! The people who had resisted the chocolate chip cookies gave up more quickly. Their will power was fatigued when they started the puzzle, and they didn’t have as much left over to work on the puzzle.
I tried the whole couponing thing. I was buying foods that I didn’t enjoy as much, having to go to more stores, being super creative with the meals. It wore me out. I couldn’t really note a difference because it was taking up so much time and effort to save small amounts of money here and there (most of the products we buy don’t have coupons on a regular basis). I read an entire book on the subject of how to save money on groceries using coupons and mail in rebates, and other cash back offers. It fatigued my will power too much. I’m sure it works for some people really well, it’s just not my cup of tea.
So we do not have a small grocery bill. We spend what I consider to be a lot on groceries every month, but we get so much enjoyment out of the food that we eat, and we feel good when we eat healthy meals, and so I think in the long run it actually helps us to stick to our budget and enjoy the process of being on a budget more.
What helps you stick to your budget? Or if you’re having trouble sticking to your budget, where do you think you are running into will power fatigue?