The Struggles of Saving

Earlier this month, I wrote a post on spreading out Christmas shopping expenses by doing it earlier in the year.

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It appears I may have gotten overzealous. Instead of spending $200 on presents, like I had originally planned, I’ve spent closer to $400. Yikes. On top of all that, I’ve just spent another $900 this week on a new class package for my dance lessons. That’s a cost I had meant to push off until the beginning of next month, but that didn’t work out too well. On top of that, let me sneakily add that I’m getting a brand new phone (paying full price, all upfront because I’m a silly person). To be fair, the phone expense is something that I budgeted and saved for separately, so it’s not an additional “expense” per se, but I’m starting to wish that the $800 I budgeted for this new phone was instead being used for my cash flow problems.

The good news is that the class package for my dance lessons will last me through the end of the year. The bad news is that I still have to pay for it in my next credit card billing cycle. At the same time, I don’t want to pull back from any of the accelerated savings goals that I have set up to automatically deduct funds from each paycheck. What this leaves me with is a deficit of $800… and I still have a week of October to get through.

I started this blog as a way to get out of the month-to-month financial panic that I’ve been dealing with, only to find myself left in a position just as bad as the day I picked out my domain name. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and clearly neither is financial freedom.

It’s time to rethink this new savings strategy I’ve set for myself.

I haven’t actually decreased my spending, even though I’m fully aware that I have less money to spend.

For some reason, I thought that forcibly putting more money away into my savings accounts would help me effectively decrease my spending. Between September and August, I essentially reduced my take-home income by $500. My total spending for October is on track to be only $200-$300 less than September, largely due to my decreased food costs this month. That means I haven’t actually decreased my spending, even though I’m fully aware that I have less money to spend. What in the world is wrong with me?

When I called home to complain, my got an earful from my financially-savvy father who informed me that I was spending way too much on presents. He’s right. At the same time, I’ve committed to this present idea. I’m not very crafty, nor am I good at baking, so it’s not like I can give out a crazy assortment of fudge, cookies, and cake pops and be done with it. Plus, I recognize that I am making a decent salary. For me, the holiday season is about treating my family with things that they wouldn’t be willing to buy for themselves, and expressing to my close friends how much I care about and appreciate them, especially since I’ve undergone so many changes this year. What’s wrong with that?

My new plan is to better monitor my spending habits through the end of this year. I’m still going to continue to cut back on excessive spending, but significant financial changes are in store come January, and I guess the next few months shall be my buffer. It’s very frustrating to not be able to just start crushing all my goals once I’ve decided I want change. When I read other PF blogs, it aways seems so easy, right? Of course, it isn’t. Sigh.

May all your goals be more accomplishable than mine seem to be at this point.