A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it – William Feather
It’s Thursday night at 7 pm. I am tired. I am not in the mood to cook. I really, really, really want to order Dominos pizza. I put the 2 medium pizzas with pepperoni and green peppers (hey, it’s only $5.99 each, right?) in the cart ready to order along with some cheese bread. I want those 2 pizzas right now. I want them for tomorrow for leftovers. It’s not that big of a deal, is it? I know it’s just pizza, but insert your favorite vice and see if you can relate.
But I couldn’t bring myself to order it.
This is not the first time this has happened to me.
I sat at my computer and sighed. I was hungry. I thought about my post called “It’s Only”. Then I wondered if I would really be using my money wisely by ordering those pizzas.
I put a frozen pizza in the oven (it’s almost the same).
I couldn’t bring myself to order the pizza because I knew I could spend my money in better ways. I couldn’t push the submit button on the computer because I knew that $20 pizza order could be a basket full of produce or other goodies at the farmers market. That $20 goes a long way when your at the grocery store and buy things like flour, sugar, milk to make things from scratch. I can make several frugal meals from these ingredients and have money leftover to buy vegetables (and whatever else I fancy) to feed myself for a week. That same $20 can go a long way if you really think about how your spending it.
Sticking to a budget is tough. I only have a limited amount of spending money each month and I want to make the best use of it. I do have money in my budget for extras (when I want to splurge) but I was planning to go out with friends tomorrow night and I had set my money aside for that. I couldn’t do it all so I had to make a choice. I opted for the boring frozen pizza.
Sticking to a budget is really about the choices we make every day that ultimately end up adding up over a week, a month and years. I didn’t always think this way. It’s taken some time to train my brain and get over the “It’s only” mentality. When I’m struggling with wanting things that aren’t in my budget, I remind myself why I’m budgeting:
- I want my money to work for me.
- I want to be able to save for rainy days.
- I want to fund my retirement so I have money to live on in the future.
- I don’t want to feel trapped in a job or a life I hate because of my debt load.
So I chose the boring frozen pizza.
I read through my 7 day budget program and some of my favorite blogs like Get Rich Slowly for inspiration. It keeps me going, reminds me I’m human and that tomorrow is a new day and I can do better. I am not perfect with my budget and some months are good and some months just aren’t. That doesn’t stop me from trying and continuing to improve my spending habits.
The boring frozen pizza was edible and I was full. By tomorrow I’ll forget about that $20 pizza order and be glad I have the money to go out and enjoy an evening with friends.