Posted in less is more, Money Matters

C.R.E.A.M.

C(ash) R(ules) E(verything) A(round) M(e)

Although having a minimalist mindset, for me, isn’t so much about spending less as it is about living with less, I find myself seriously evaluating where all my money goes. I, mean, I have worked in banking for the last twenty-three and a half years, so I check my bank account damn near every day. While I see the money trickling in yet pouring out, I haven’t been mindful (There’s that word again!) of where the moolah is actually going. I’ve always been focused on is my balance correct and not so much on “Why the fuck did I just buy that?!”

Well, that’s changing, and I know the above statement may be somewhat controversial, but let’s face it: You need money! Specifically, you need cash to obtain freedom — freedom from debt, freedom from worry about not having enough money, freedom from everything that suppresses you from not having enough money!!!

What’s so upsetting for me right now is that I’ve always maintained the belief that I don’t have “enough money” to pay down my debt. I challenged my own mindset by pulling my last three bank statements and highlighting every purchase that wasn’t a necessity (rent, utilities, food, insurance…) and the numbers were staggering! Mind-blowing is more like it. After I crunched the numbers, I realized that I could’ve cut the balance on a debt-consolidation loan I have by half. HALF!!!!

Y’all!!!!!! I wish I could kick my own ass! But I’ve allowed myself five minutes of anger and sorrow, and now, it’s time to get to work. I have never been as serious about getting out of debt than I am at this moment. I’ll be fifty in three years, and I want to enter the next phase of my life debt-free. I don’t want to be paying frivolous bills on shit that I probably will no longer own.

That’s another thing! I’m paying debt today for shit I no longer own! If that ain’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is…

My plan? Track my spending for thirty days, and I mean, log every cent that I’ve spent, along with why I felt I needed to make that purchase. At the end of the thirty days, I’ll reassess and determine if the purchase was a necessity or a frivolity. Then I’ll determine if I could’ve done without the frivolous purchase and created other ways to satisfy that need without having to spend money.

Yes, I’m probably overthinking this, but that’s what I do. I’ll follow up next month with my findings.

Posted in less is more, Life, Money Matters

September Wrap-Up: I Did Better Than I Gave Myself Credit For

So, for the month of September, I created some pretty lofty goals for myself. One thing this minimalism journey is constantly teaching me is the art of mindfulness. I see that word used constantly among the more seasoned minimalists, and I always poo-poo’d it with a “Chile, bye”, but now, I freaking get it!

Once you’re mindful and intentional with everything that you do, you’re already halfway there. Trust me, I’m not trying to sound preachy, but it’s true. For me, I’m so used to doing what I want, when I want, and damn whatever else. I don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire month thinking about spending my money before actually spending my money. I have always been of the mindset that it’s my money; I earned it, and I’ll spend it any way I choose. Anybody like that? Enough chit-chat, let’s get to the results!

  • E-book purchases: I have a small disclosure here. I did purchase e-books in September, but I did not spend money on them. I used my Amazon gift card balance, so the books I bought were gifts, not purchases 😛
  • Clothing purchases: Honestly, I thought this would be the biggest struggle for me, yet it wasn’t. I think now that I’ve resolved that I don’t need any new clothes and that I’ll be creating a fall capsule wardrobe, there wasn’t anything I really needed, or wanted, for that matter. I was hella tempted, though. I have not unsubscribed to a few mailing lists of my favorite retailers, and I actually did go to a few websites and added some things to my basket. HOWEVER… I BOUGHT NOTHING!!!!
  • Fast food breakfast: This also was a tough one. I love to cook but not 6:30 a.m. in the morning. Yeah, yeah, do it the night before…But I don’t like reheated breakfast food. Sue me… I love Panera and Chic-Fil-A, which are directly across the street from my office and oh so convenient… I toughed it out and got my ass up to cook a hot breakfast in the morning. The question is, can I continue this? Not gone lie, the answer is probably no. But I will be more mindful of this. Shit, I saved about $50.00 not buying breakfast in the mornings. If that ain’t incentive, I don’t know what is…
  • Grocery shopping: I was fully expecting not to meet this goal, and I did not disappoint myself :/ I am a horrible grocery shopper. I rarely make lists; I don’t comparison shop; I’m an impulse or “good intentions” buyer, knowing damn well, I don’t eat yogurt or squash like that. I’m seriously working on this, and I expect to make significant improvements in the coming weeks. I ended up spending well over $300 in groceries. Admittedly, my breakfast food items slightly contributed to the spike, but not that damn much!

In conclusion, I’m pleased, overall, with this self-imposed challenge. There is room for improvement on all fronts, but I feel good. I hope October’s is just as, if not more, successful.

See y’all next week…