Monday 13 January 2014

The Defence Against the Shopping Spree Impulse

Okay, I think I have a solution to the Spending Spree Impulse . . . I think. What it entails, for me, is to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Since I am somewhat of a whiz when it comes to Spreadsheets, I have made up a spreadsheet to track my expenses. This spreadsheet will not only budget out my expenses but track what I actually spend and see how that impacts the long-term length of the project. (If anyone is interested in seeing/using the spreadsheet, I will send it to you . . . without my data in it of course).

Speaking of the length of the project I have increased it from twenty-four months to thirty months for a few reasons.  Two years from now it will be February and that is too cold to move and/or buy a place. Second of all 30 is a nice round number. Thirdly that will put me in the middle of summer, a nice time to buy and make a move.

Also that will help me achieve my long-term goals of this project. For me, it is to pay off my Credit Cards in a year, and have 20K in the bank for a down payment. The one little deal I made with myself is to get a Trailer Hitch most likely next month, before the Credit Card Pay down starts.

I want the trailer hitch so I have the opportunity to get out there and do something. If I come across a cheap/free trailer, I can actually take advantage of that and still go camping (if you mention a tent I will hurt you). I know that to buy a trailer would blow a hole in my budget unless I tighten my belt further.

The one thing I know about budgeting is that if you make it too tight you will not be able to stick to it. In a few months you will scream “F*ck it” then rush out and splurge on something, thereby ruining your budget.

The only way you can stick to a harsh budget is if that is the only source of cash you have. No money means you find a way to live on what you have, perhaps not the most elegant of solutions but you find a way to exist on little cash, trust me, I have done this.

Budgeting when you have cash is much harder because it requires discipline not to go out and spend money available to you. Rather than do something fun like buy something new and shiny this budget requires that I do the boring thing like pay down my credit cards. I see the pain of the spend but not the reward of the nifty new thing.

This can be overcome by looking and revising my budget to help keep the larger picture in mind. By seeing not only what I am doing now affects not only this month’s budget but the whole project. Each spend or save decision rippling down the budget like a stone thrown into a pond.

This also lets me see the balances of my credit cards go down and the amount of my savings go up. This is the cool thing to see and I can keep in mind the place I will buy and keep fixed on that goal rather than the little nifty things I want to spend on now.

I do want to get some sort of a trailer so I can go out and enjoy the outdoors in the warmer weather and not simply barricade myself in my room for the next thirty months.

Next up on my closing down the house project is to put my bed into storage. That happens this Friday. Then I will sell/give away the stuff I don’t want: Chest Freezer, Washer/Dryer, Couch & Loveseat, as well as Dinner Table & Chairs.

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