I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about money and spending and ways to save. Between the Hawaii trip, student loan payments that are going to kick in soon, a possible rent increase when my lease is up on October, and now possibly a flight to South Africa in March? I really need to look hard at how I spend money and where I can cut back. Part of this is making a budget and actually sticking to it, which involves me pulling the cash out of the bank for my grocery and gas (which is cheaper when you pay in cash anyways!) so that I know exactly how much I have and how much I can spend, and I think more about what I actually NEED to get through the week.

My best friend and our moms are doing a read along of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, but I’m totally slacking about it OF COURSE. But like Pam has said, “the print is large and it’s going to help get my finances in order”, help me learn to relate to money in a different way, and I’ve read a few blogs about how this book helped revitalize people’s finances, including one woman who lived super frugally and was able to save the cash to buy a house in a couple of years on one salary! A WHOLE HOUSE while making (probably) less than $50K a year. I don’t really want to go as extreme as living on rice & beans and never going out with friends or doing anything fun, nor do I want to give up Netflix, but I can find ways to be more frugal and get rid of debt and save money. I don’t want to be paying for school loans for the next 30 years.

Today, I read a post at Get Rich Slowly which linked to a NY Times article about money and happiness. It talks about how buying stuff doesn’t make people as happy as they think it might, and they link to a woman who pared down her belongings to 100 items and now lives in a 400 sq ft apartment with her husband. Again, I don’t really want to go that drastic, but I have SO MUCH stuff I can get rid of: my bookshelves are full of books I’ll likely never read, my closest is full of clothes and shoes I don’t wear, my underwear drawer is practically overflowing! Who needs that much underwear?! Not that I’m planning on giving my underroos to Goodwill, but I DEFINITELY need to cut back.

That article also suggests buying “experiences” rather than stuff and thinking and waiting and creating antici….pation before purchasing anything to increase it’s happy making qualities, and I was glad to know that I’m already doing this to a degree. My trip to Hawaii is going to be full of experiences: scuba diving all over, snorkeling, hanging out with a good friend, eating amazing food and having a really wonderful relaxing vacation with my feller. I’m hoping to keep extra spending as low as possible while we’re there, but I know I will want to bring home souvenirs (MMMM KONA COFFEE), but I also know that, for the most part, my memories and the pictures we take will end up being what I enjoy having the most. As for creating anticipation, I feel like I’ve been waiting FOREVER to get my Hobbit Feet. I’ve set aside money for them every week to save up, and I think having that slow build before I finally get them (tomorrow, hopefully!!) is going to allow me to enjoy them even more, especially since I’m able to buy them free and clear and not have to feel guilty about about putting another charge on my credit card.

Unfortunately, a lot of things live in the “someday, eventually” category, like “when I get my Christmas bonus, I’ll…” or “when I (hopefully!) get a tax refund…” or “When I’m splitting rent, I can save SO MUCH MONEY”, and it’ll be great when all those things happen, but until they do, I’ve got to focus on frugality and saving dollars wherever I can. I’ll just keep on keepin’ on, and trust God that he’ll provide like he’s always done, even when it seems like there’s NO WAY.