I just returned from an out of town family wedding.  In the middle of my debt reduction spending moratorium, I traveled to a dangerous destination known as my hometown, amidst a reunion with family for a week.  Ouch!

Here is what I did well and what I didn’t do well on my path to debt relief.

Well Done:  I Packed More Carefully and Thoughtfully. 

I normally pack light on the assumption that I can buy items I forget or need when I get there.  Not this time!  I made a list and actually checked the contents of my cosmetic travel bag in case I had removed or used up any of the items usually stocked in it.   Enough clothes and shoes for likely events and extras for just in case of anything.  I did have to replace one item that broke while I was on my trip, but if you read any of my prior debt reduction spending moratorium blogs, you will notice in my budgeting rules, I allowed for replacement of broken items.

The problem with replacing an item, is that I had to go into a store to do it, and I pretty much had to limit myself to two aisles in which to find the item and get out without being tempted to shop for lots of stuff I didn’t need.  Probably, because I was going to write this budget update, I limited myself to the needed replacement item and some anti-histamine cream.  OK, the anti-histamine cream was an unplanned expenditure, but I feel no remorse, because I can’t stand itching.  I refused to tough it out until I could grab my own supply which was back in my first aid drawer at home, and I added the newly purchased tube to my cosmetic travel bag.

Other than the anti-itch stuff, and except for limited trips to grocery store for family cookouts (which was much better than eating out), I was sticking to my non-spending plan. 

Not Well Done:  I Got Caught Up in a Group Impulse Buy

Meanwhile, my husband spoke to my siblings about getting a screened gazebo for my parents.  Don’t get me wrong, I gave myself permission to buy gifts for family and friends, within reason, and I would get anything for my parents, but I need to keep to a plan and a budget.  This made me think about how many of us have to deal with others guilting us into spending more than we have planned for friends or family.

Are you getting pressure from others to spend money?  For my parents, I gladly contributed, especially since my vociferous husband is the one who started it.  But I have a plan for future surprises:

  1. I will start setting aside a small amount of money for family needs.
  2. For all instantaneous “Let’s get so-and-so a new blank” I decided to follow this protocol:  Set my own spending cap on how much I feel is ok.  In my family we now set a range of how much we should spend on the different things we feel our parents could use.  In our case, our parents planned, live simply and don’t want a lot.  We want for them.  We need to carefully consider who we are making the purchases for, and whether the recipient actually wants those things.
  3. Not having a spouse on the same page  can damage progress on the spending moratorium.  I will work on communication and will try to step back and think about the gift proposals.  It is important to avoid impulsive items especially when the funds are coming from several different households.  Planning ahead is probably just as important to them as it is to you or me. 
  4. I am getting back to a routine as quickly as possible. The daily routine helps curb impulse buying. 

If you have spending changes you’re making, let us know – we’re on facebook.com/ResourceShark and would love to hear what is working for you.