1. I am a SAHM/Hs'er to Abigail ( five in two weeks) and Geneva (2 1/2). I have tried joining this before, but like a pp, got discouraged.
2. My dh and I have been trying to follow the scheme in Your Money or Your Life for a handful of years, but it's hard to write everything down, so we've more or less given up. However, we're living in a small house with a low mortgage, and we have finally paid off our car, so we have attained a couple of our goals wrt reducing our expenses. Unfortunately, we are finding we are not saving (or putting on cc debt) as much as we feel we could, and some bills such as grocery, are going up as our kids are eating more food and we're eating better food. We're also considering buying a second vehicle.
I have gotten into a habit of buying mostly whatever I want, and then justifying it. I have been putting money into homsechooling stuff as well, for which we have agreed on a maximum of $200 per month. I have been trying to keep it to much less than this, and I did well this summer, saving instead of spending that money for 2-3 months in a row. This money is also meant to cover anything I want or need for myself or the kids, such as clothing, personal care etc.
We keep trying to pay off our highest interest cc, but whenever we get it almost down to nothing, we end up having to do something for the car that we can't afford. About a year ago, it was almost at $0, and then we needed tires. Now it's gotten up to $2000, even though I try to pay off any homeschooling expenses I put on it right away. It wasn't even truly paid off, as we just transferred the balance to a lower interest cc, which we've done a handful of times now. The cards have got to go. One small card that has a low limit, that we use only rarely is all we need.
3. Game plan. Sometimes I think I spend in response to my husband's pressure not to spend. He insists we only buy things we need, but I like to have nice things for me and the kids, such as occasional new clothes for me, and nice, quality toys and books for the kids. But I feel like I am out of control now, buying everything I want (or almost).
This month, dh and I both need some underwear. I also want to buy a new pair of boot/shoes for me, as my two best pair are: 1) horribly ripped and suitable only for camping and in the coop 2) a pair bought for $7 at a thrift store last year, but are a size too big and need thick socks to be comfy. I want a pair of le chameau rubber crocus clogs, the low-cut style, in black so they can be rain-proof yet dressy.
I just bought a bunch of stuff online last week, and felt uneasy afterwards. I have the money to pay it off the cc, but I wonder if I went overboard buying books and cd's for homeschooling, and some stuff for me as well.
There are a handful of birthdays in this month in my family, but maybe I can make some things? My stepmom likes to knit and I just started spinning my own wool, so maybe I could give her a small ball of it, even though it's not very good. We have in the past, given eggs (we get a dozen a day) as gifts.
We also need to spend money on the car, as it needs new tires. We were supposed to do it in the spring, but we didn't and now the winter tires we drove all summer are worn out.
We also have a chunk of change saved up to renovate our bathroom, which was supposed to be done soon, but the contractor we arranged fell through and we're still searching for a new one.
I tend to buy a lot when I go to Frenchy's, the used clothing store. I say I am going in for something specific, but I end up finding other good deals as well. Last week I went in for a wool sweater for myself, and came out with that, in a bag of $25 of other stuff as well. Shoes and clothes for the kids, some books, I dunno.
I need to get back into the frugal mindset, rather than this mindset that I can justify everything. Waiting more, assessing true need, I'm not sure what else I can use as a strategy.
One thing I try to keep in mind is that, in line with YMOYL, whenever I spend money I am spending my husband's life energy, and that everything I buy puts us that farther away from his early retirement. Which is better for my kids? Expensive, classical toys, or extra years with their Father. That can hekp me sometimes, but it's hard to fight against the instant vs delayed gratification.