Originally Posted by pumabearclan
Food for thought: what lifestyle situations are costing you when you are trying not to spend? Over the years I've seen a few trends on this forum: children's social life, busy and out-and-about rather than at home for the day, and the adults' lifestyles including socializing and career/work commitments.
Wondering if an assessment of lifestyle would be a helpful approach in addition to working on each day/month. It's likely a lot of you are already doing this kind... what have you learned that you are willing to share?
I read a superb book that argued that children, being now unable to work for a wage - good - and unable usually to participate in the family economy, have become disenfranchises from society, and indeed this is the definition of disenfranchisement.
Yes, there are certain choices that cause big financial failures in spite of good intentions. Spending out and about, for sure, is the biggest source of uncontrolled spending. Gymnastics costs way more, but it is a calculated expense. The gas for excursions: huge. We live in a relatively isolated area, and it's wonderful and the fuel to get anywhere adds up fast. Raising animals (even small ones) for 4-H adds up, but although those expenses are annoying, I wouldn't change it.
I think we are doing fairly well. I wish there wasn't so much emotional desire for treats like eating out, etc, but really the demand is small. We have regular discussions about finances, and as the girls age they are getting better at accepting them. We are lucky in that the girls can participate in our work-for-pay in a real way if they want. I do agree that excluding kids from the work of adults (I'm not saying it's unnecessary necessarily, I'm just pointing out a fact) is not a good thing for them. The "real world" seems like something they get to do later in life, and that's sad.
We are adding expenses that have long been necessary: a second cell phone, a storage unit (I really wish this weren't necessary, but for now my sanity depends upon it.)
We aren't eating square meals, not even family dinners every day as activities and such get in the way of that. That adds to the food bill, which is prodigious. If we were home every day then it would be different, but I value what we do regardless. Everything is a trade off, and as long as there is nothing that seems to be missing then I am OK with that. I don't mind our lifestyle, but there are "expenses".
If I could change anything right now? Hmmm.... I'm not really too disappointed with what we spend, I just wish it were more mindful. I don't think the spending my girls are begging for is based off of media. They want stuff for their animals, they want treats, they want new gymnastics leotards or riding clothes. They want kayaks and fishing gear and camping gear and camping trips and new swimsuits and would love a hot chocolate or some french fries or tacos while we are out getting it. My oldest is at this moment pestering her dad to get on building the rabbit hutch for our two new rabbits we are getting. The new kittens need a vet visit in a few weeks. A cheap-ass birthday tablet needs to be replaced eventually with a half-decent used iPad so I can sync it with everything. They bought their first CDs at the record store.
I spend a little too much on yarn, and on drinks and food for when we have knitting night. I spend too much on hiking gear and books. Too much on good, organic or locally raised food. I need to make room for life insurance and a little bit towards investments, as I have no retirement savings currently. I'm heading back to college this summer.
Wow. Really, this is the first time I take a good look at what and how we spend and felt, really, quite pleased with it. It could be less, and if I feel the need, stuff will have to go. After a particularly bad spending day out, I call a moratorium on everything except rabbits and swimsuits until we head out north for a week in Seattle (my youngest needs a new suit for girl scout camp).
So for us, really, it's lowering our expenses down here and there and making better choices along the way, and most especially, *planning* and budgeting and all that.