Mar 12 2009

Budgeting gave me the permission to spend

Sometimes, I really hate spending money. Most of the time, I’d rather save it or use it to pay down debt. So maybe that’s why my wardrobe has gotten to a really sorry state — I just couldn’t stand to spend any money to improve it. Oh, and I usually dislike clothes shopping, so that’s another reason.

I was depriving myself of things that I needed, and for no good reason.

After having Jonathan, none of my old jeans fit well. I didn’t have many good tops or a decent pair of casual shoes, either. I certainly didn’t want to be a frumpy mom, so I figured it was time to go shopping already.

I looked at our budget and crunched some numbers, and felt comfortable setting aside a chunk of change to improve my look.

After identifying some gaps in my wardrobe, I made a list of specific things I was seeking.

Then, I went shopping. I went to a thrift store, Target, the mall, and spent some serious time online browsing various stores.

And you know what? I was totally fine with spending that money.

The money was budgeted for this specific purpose, and I no longer felt bad about buying things for myself. I didn’t say, “Oh, just work with what you have and send that money toward paying off your car.” (Of course, if we were in a dire financial situation, I wouldn’t buy new clothes. But we’re ok right now).

In essence, setting aside money for new clothes gave me the permission to spend without feeling guilty.

I didn’t just hit up the clearance racks, either. I shopped for things that fit well, looked good, and made me happy. I even paid full price for a few items. For the most part, though, I found some pretty good sales and combined them with coupons or used Ebates or Cashbaq (referral links) to make my dollars go further.

In a way, it felt good to spend the money. It felt good to take care of my own needs. It felt good to not use credit. And it feels good to wear pants that don’t give you a muffin top!

You’re welcome, economy.

13 Responses to “Budgeting gave me the permission to spend”

  1. I agree, the idea of saving can be taken too far. Budgets are a great way to solve that problem.

    Great post, keep up the good work!


    Nate @ Debt-free Scholar’s last blog post..12 Ways to Waste Money in College

  2. Just like a diet, you have to bend the rules every once in a while of you’ll go insane. Good for you for buying some needed clothes.

  3. I totally agree – my husband and I are the exact same way! By the way, do you still have your own personal accounts or only joint checking and joint savings?

  4. I think you made a wise decision….I totally agree you need to take good care of yourself first and foremost!!

    Tanya’s last blog post..A Few Freebies….

  5. I totally agree! When you’ve worked so hard to train your brain to be frugal, it can be a challenge to allow yourself to splurge on yourself. But it is a healthy thing to do… and all that hard work is what makes that splurge possible.

    Thanks for a great post.

  6. I understand all to well about loosening the purse strings. Its very hard to go from one mind set to the other. And I hate to spend money that I have in our “funds.” Even if the car needs repairs and I take money out of the car fund, it still bothers me. But I understand the whole frumpy mom thing. I was just thinking that I need new wedding/funeral clothes. Are there a lot of good sales out there? I usually hit the clearance racks but I noticed if I buy really high quality pant suits, they look better and last longer. So I was thinking about hitting a high end store and maybe getting a simple black pant suit that I could keep for a while. Any thoughts?

    SonyaAnn’s last blog post..Baby Gift

  7. Good for you! Sometimes it’s better to spend a little bit more and get things that fit well and will last. I think when I get further along in pregnancy (and if I still have my job) I’ll spend a little extra on some nice clothes that are comfortable and make me feel good. :) I’ll have to start budgeting once I find out about the job situation.

    megscole64’s last blog post..New Designs During Trying Times

  8. It’s all joint. We have our own debit cards that are linked to different checking accounts, but they’re all linked together so we can transfer money from one to the other instantly.

    My personal accounts from before we were married are closed, and his personal account is now our joint one.

  9. I have seen lots of sales in a variety of stores. And % off coupons in newspapers and online, etc.

    Get something that’s within your budget, and make sure it’s the highest-quality, best-fitting thing you can find. That’s way better than a poorly made garment that won’t make it through the season, in my opinion.

  10. I’m actually in the same boat right now! My office is really casual so most days I just wear jeans to work. It’s great for my clothing budget, but it doesn’t force me to buy nice things every now and then.

    I have a business trip coming up in a couple weeks, and I just realized I have no nice business casual clothes to wear to the conference. As much as I hate spending money on clothing, it looks like I’ll have to make some adjustments to the budget to get some new clothes.

    My plan is to get nice professional stuff that’s also comfortable and casual enough to wear to work on regular days. I hate spending the money, but I have to remind myself that it’s been almost a year since I bought new clothes. Hopefully it won’t be too expensive!

    Karen’s last blog post..Giving time instead of money

  11. Kacie, you are so strong-willed. Clothes are my weakness. I think I am an emotional shopper. (Some people are emotional eaters, heck I’m probably one of those too, but this is more on-topic…)

    I don’t know how I could go so long without buying new things, but I do think I’ve found a way to curb my habit while still getting my shopping fix. Instead of going out on big shopping binges, I usually buy myself about one new item a month. I try to schedule the shopping trip after a really tough week so it feels like a little reward, and I try to buy something I’ll get plenty of use out of or that needs replaced in my wardrobe.

    Of course, every now and then an occasion comes up that requires me to bend the rules (about 3 weeks ago I had to buy a business suit for an interview, and that went well over my monthly-fun-clothes-shopping-allotment), but for the most part, this works and keeps me from blowing huge sums every time I hit the mall, while still allowing me the pleasure of browsing the stores.

    You’re an inspiration, Kacie. Also, Johnny is 100% adorable. Also, I may have some frugal wedding-planning questions for you in the future, our budget is getting tighter and tighter every time I look at it.



  12. UGH, I hate clothes shopping! Want to come and go with me? :)

    Mrs. Money’s last blog post..‘Fess up Friday

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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