Friday, October 17, 2008

Budgeting...Time and Money

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about budgets, haven't we all? The economic situation is disconcerting at the least, terrifying for some, and the constant news reports do nothing to assuage my fears. What impact this recession will have on my long term financial picture is unclear but it is certainly having an affect on my day to day life. Everything costs more, from groceries to gas to my lawn service. I'm over-budget nearly every month so I've had to sit down and do some major tweaking. There are some things that I can't or won't do without - the aforementioned lawn service for one, certain beauty treatments another. (much as I embrace my witchy side, I am unwilling to go totally gray just yet). I can't control my car payment or mortgage, have already canceled optional phone features and reduced other utility bills as much as possible. So, that leaves only a couple of areas that I can affect: food and entertainment.

With that in mind, I've been examining how I spend my money which segued into another, perhaps bigger issue: where I spend my time. Discussing it with my friend Jersey, we agreed that we are both making a more conscious effort to spend both more productively, and with more attention to the impact on our heart & mind as well as body. So, I've made some decisions about where to put my dollars as well as the 24 hours I'm given in each day. When I'm spending each mindfully, I find that I make different choices, ones that feed my soul and fill more than just my belly.

For instance, instead of tossing $8.00 on fast food, how about a beautiful bouquet of flowers?

$4.00 on a fancy coffee or a fresh new magazine?

$25.00 for the latest gadget or a nice pampering pedicure?

$40.00 for a chain restaurant meal or homemade dinner at home with family & friends?

How about an hour of mindless tv vs a mind-enriching new novel?

2 hours surfing the internet or a long walk on the beach?

You get the idea, it goes on & on & on...the point is, I am trying to live my life more mindfully, spending my hard-earned dollars and gift of time where they matter most instead of tossing them aside. Because contrary to what I might have once thought, there truly is a limit to each.


Catherine said...

Brava, Michele! I'm toying with the idea of instituting a Spend Free day each ordering, no impulse purchase (or any purchase aside from utilities, taxes - the unavoidable). If there's not enough gas in the car, no go! Wonder if it's do-able?

Teacats said...

Excellent ideas all around Michelle! I do color my own hair and trim my bangs; do my own nails and we do not have a lawn service so cuts must come from other places .... usually the fun trips to places like Target and their fun seasonal items! So I am trying to stay away from there today -- and get some household chores done -- like trimming the roses; laundry and vaccuming AGAIN! ((four cats and all adore to shed at the same time .... ))

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

mrsb said...

What a great way to try to live! I also like Catherine's idea of a spend free day. I might have to try to do a spend free weekend!

Helena S. said...

Good ideas!

Jen said...

Experiences over things.

Sage advice. I'm so behind on your blog--I hope you are well.

Anonymous said...

I need to set up a budget.

Rapunzel said...

Thanks so much for the comments and encouragement!

Catherine, the Spend Free Day is a great idea, I'll join you in that!