My success in the Spending Moratorium is less stellar than I wanted to report, but looking back over the last few months, I am so glad I cut my spending. It meant I could afford the replacement of my external hard drive, when my ancient one crashed, as well as the replacement heater for the pool, all without stressing about it. We postponed replacing both items for a while, but I had a scare when my laptop began performing slowly. Afraid I would lose everything; I panicked and replaced the hard drive immediately. We found the part for the pool heater instead of replacing the entire unit; it was still a few hundred dollars for the part, but we were able to swing it because of my spending changes. This is much better than having spent the money on junk food and junk tchotchkes and having to charge the items needed.
I still struggle to reconfigure my budget and to prioritize what matters but I have begun to see that most of what I own is just stuff. I wish I hadn’t bought most of it, but I did. Now, I think I will see if anyone else wants to buy my stuff. Some of the items that I finally realized aren’t as important as I thought they were, will get listed online. I mean, really, do I need multiple sets of china for different holidays? That’s not us. We are casual people who love having people over, but when we do, we don’t care if the place settings are perfect. We care about seeing each other and sharing good food. As far as prioritizing, here is my short list: Our dog matters, so I’m not selling him. My husband matters, but he is for sale – just kidding. All the other stuff ( main furniture stays) The other stuff that consists of things that are redundant or just not important, I think we can sell or donate.
I thought a good way to visualize myself as a less materialistic person, was by developing other hobbies. I tried gardening as a new hobby. Pretty sure gardening’s not my thing, but I will give it one more summer before I give up on it. Luckily, most of what I planted are hardy plants according to my real gardener friends, so they will likely survive my cultivation attempts. In the creative new hobby mode, I sewed several new cushion covers for our patio furniture – but that was damage control, not creativity or hobby, after our dog ate the previous cushions. I did go hiking this summer, sometimes – okay, rarely, so it doesn’t really qualify as a new hobby. Listened to several audiobooks, and was surprised by what a great read The Killer Angels turned out to be. I can recommend it to you if you’re looking for a good book about the commanders in the battle of Gettysburg. Also listened to another amazing book called The Radium Girls, but I digress. This update is not a book review, it is about controlling our debt by controlling how we view quality of life and how we spend our money to achieve it.
Regardless of my new hobbies or lack thereof, our summer sped by and I am finding that the spending moratorium is not as limiting as it started out to be, but has helped me to some realizations about a life well lived. As one reader messaged me, Love is what matters, and must be shared. Though I want to dole out sage advice on savings and paying off debt, I am learning that even when you know what you should do, making the necessary life changes is an ongoing process.
Let me know how your adventures are working out. Feedback is welcome on LinkedIn or Facebook where this will be posted.