Jan 11 2010

You’ve lost that (thrifty) feelin’…

Sing it with me: You’ve lost that (thrifty) feelin’, oh-oh-oh that (thrifty) feelin’.

It seems as if my husband is starting to be more of a cheapsake than me. Two things are happening: He’s kicking it up a notch, and I’m becoming more lax in my thrifty ways. I agree with him.

Some examples:

This weekend, our car battery died. We were at home. We have jumper cables, but couldn’t track down a neighbor who could give us a jump. I called Ford roadside assistance, because we have coverage under the car’s warranty. I wanted someone to come out and give us a jump, and if that didn’t work, to tow the car to a repair shop. I expected it to be free under the warranty, but I was willing to pay whatever it cost. That’s what emergency funds are for, right?

Shane, on the other hand, wanted to be absolutely certain that it wouldn’t cost us a cent for the jump.

Fortunately, the jump was free, and it worked.

Today, I went grocery shopping. It was after Aldi had closed, so I went to a regular grocery. I didn’t have a single coupon in hand. I don’t get the Sunday paper anymore, so it’s rare for me to have coupons these days.

After that, I went to Walgreens to get some vitamins because I knew they were having a BOGO sale on certain brands. I didn’t do any of the drugstore deals like I had in the past. However, I did get 500 vitamins for $11. The brand I got was on clearance and BOGO. They won’t expire until 2012, so I do think I got a pretty good deal.

My shopping habits have changed a bit — I’m not bargain hunting like crazy anymore, and I’m not in a panic if I buy something that isn’t on sale.

I’m not buying a ton of things and I don’t think my overall spending has gone up by much.

So what’s the problem?

Ever since we got out of debt last year, my views toward our finances have become increasingly lax. I’ve blogged about it some, but since it’s something I just can’t shake, I thought I’d mention it again.

It was easy to find motivation to get out of debt. There was an actual, almost tangible amount of money we had to pay back. Getting out of debt would mean we’d save money in the long-term. It would mean more of our income would be available to do things we wanted it to do.

Since our next financial goals aren’t any set amount of money, and they don’t have an urgent deadline, it’s hard for me to summon that gazelle intensity once again.

For me, I think it was more exciting seeing our debt decline than it is to see our savings account grow. What’s up with that?

It’s hard for me to find the energy to match coupons with sales, even though so many blogs take the guesswork out of it.

It’s hard for me to be motivated to find new ways to cut our budget.

It’s hard for me to set our thermostat way down in the name of a lower energy bill. It’s been a particularly harsh winter so far, and I’m cold!

But I think my biggest problem is the one I outlined in an earlier blog post — the next goals are so big and daunting that they’re going to take awhile to achieve. It’s the feeling you get when you’re standing at the base of a mountain and the summit is hidden in the clouds.

Saving to pay cash for a car and saving to have enough money to responsibly buy a house are worthwhile goals, I think you’ll agree. But dang — it’s going to take us awhile!

And in my defense, I am diligently setting aside money each month toward these things. I’m breaking these goals into achievable chunks to make it mentally easier. It’s a reasonable amount, though it could certainly be more if we were to get frugal-hyper about it.

That’s just not where I am right now.



15 Responses to “You’ve lost that (thrifty) feelin’…”

  1. Kacie, We paid cash for a car. I confess that letting that money sit there for two years while we drove around a hunk of junk was awful. But I put it in a separate account I didn’t access otherwise. That helped. Being able to just go in, pay cash, and not have a payment was totally worth it, though!!

    I confess I struggle as well with saving. Especially since we have very little to save right now.
    .-= Vanderbilt Wife´s last blog ..International Delurking Week =-.

  2. I can relate. Our debt is paid off, the emergency fund is at a comfortable level, and it’s hard to get motivated to work toward the insurmountable goal of paying off the mortgage.

    I found I got more motivated and aware of my spending habits when I declared the “No Spend Month” last August. The short-term goal of “really thrifty living” was doable, and, at the end of the month, I was able to look in Mint and see, wow, I only spent 2/3 of what I normally do this month. I could seriously cut back on some budget categories, and it wouldn’t hurt that much.

    We’re doing a toned-down no-spend month this month, too. I see it as a “cleanse” or a “reset button” to use when I start to drift away from “Frugal”
    .-= joanna´s last blog ..A Blissful, Simple Life =-.

  3. What if you take a certain amount and put it in a program like excel or something and pretend it’s debt, then you can watch it “decline” while you’re really saving it and put the money into a seperate savings account at the end? I hope that makes sense. Or, because I’m totally an unselfish person who would love to help you, I could tell you you owe me $10,000 and you could just give it to me!!! Hehehe. I hope you find your mojo soon!

  4. Our car battery died over the weekend too! My husband had to take it back where we bought it to be charged, and luckily it was free. He almost missed being ordained as an elder at church because of it, though.
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..December: the pictures I meant to share, but didn’t =-.

  5. I totally feel ya! We just paid off the last of our debt last month, and are now saving for a new car and down payment. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and not stress about making payments, because whether you save $100 or $1000, your still saving and inching closer to your goal.

    Try setting smaller goals, like having XX amount in the car account by June. Choose a number that pushes you to stretch a little.

    Good luck!!!
    .-= Simplelivin’´s last blog ..Goals for Twenty – Ten =-.

  6. Right there with you. We paid cash for a used minivan 12 mnths ago. Have 3 mnths emergency fund and 1/2 of our next used car. I want furniture, I want to walk into a grocery store and buy what I want for food. I’m burnt out. This month I’m recommitting myself to our grocery budget after a 1 month hiatus. I can’t go over – if we’ve used it we’ve used it. Removes all the guilt from scaling back on couponing and bargain hunting (I didn’t like how much time shopping was taking away from my kids). I still do the low hanging fruit but the lower return high effort stuff I’m not working on. We’re saving a little less because I put my kid in preschool but what I think I’ve found is the right standard of living or balance for our family.

  7. I think it’s easy to tell what happened. His name is Johnny! It makes total sense that you’d be less motivated to bargain hunt now. You’re busy taking care of baby! I can’t imagine how exhausting that is.

    Thrift is easy, but it can be time consuming. I think now that you’ve built your emergency fund and you’re debt-free, it’s okay to be a little more lax. I know you want to save for a house, but if you’re not feeling urgent about it, then that’s your way of telling yourself that it’s not really a priority yet.

    I think once you’re absolutely ready to buy that house, you’ll get more motivated about saving for it. If it’s not a priority right now, though, why not relax a little and enjoy being a mom?
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Yes, I’d like some cheese with my whine. Preferably gouda. =-.

  8. I know what you mean about the goals being daunting. That’s why I’m not paying extra on my mortgage. Keep your chin up; I think you are doing great!

  9. I TOTALLY relate to this post! I think frugality is something that ebbs and flows in my life. It seems like there are periods when I’m very good about watching our pennies and then there are other times, when I’m more relaxed about it.

    If find that doing a little frugal reading (either books or online) helps get me back in the mindset.

    I’ve also taken to challenging myself. For example, this month, my challenge is to try to eat out of our pantry and not eat out as much. We’re on day 11 and we haven’t eaten out once!

    I think it’s healthy to stray a little bit from the frugal world… after all… if there were no short periods of relaxation, frugality would not be fun anymore!
    .-= Christina @ Northern Cheapskate´s last blog ..Coupons 101: An Introduction to Couponing =-.

  10. This is exactly where I am too. I go through “savings seasons” as I call them where I just don’t feel like stockpiling and couponing and saving every spare penny. And honestly that’s okay. We have no debt other than our mortgage. I have enough stuff stockpiled to let up for a while and be okay. And that’s sort of why I stockpiled in the first place. We’ve also lowered a few monthly bills thanks to moving so I think I feel like we can spare a few.

    I’m hoping this season will pass, but I feel like it would only add stress to try and get all the deals I can at this point. We have just moved to a different state and we’re trying to settle in.

    I think you have done a great job and still have your goals in sight. Keep up the good work!

  11. I really enjoyed this post. I think a lot of us can relate to what you are saying. It does get tedious always being budget conscious, and I think our inner teenagers want to rebel from time to time. It sounds like you are still doing a great job!
    .-= Regina´s last blog ..December ’09 =-.

  12. I really need to get back on the frugal wagon for a couple months before our baby girl is born. I quit clipping coupons and playing the drugstore games when I had morning sickness. I even paid a couple late fees when I gave up opening the mail – yikes! Christmas is over, the stockpiles are gone, and it’s time to curl up with my computer, coupons, cocoa, and get back to work. We have the same “problem” you do since we paid off all our debt in 2007. We’ve paid for all our cars with cash, but I’m afraid we won’t be able to do the same thing again if we don’t set some solid goals and rein in some of those little luxuries.

  13. I know how that feeling is. I was frugal when I graduated and started my job, but now that I have some money saved up, the Law of Diminishing Returns is kicking in. Money doesn’t feel like it is that important now until I feel like saving up for something big. It just feels like there is no consequence to spending money if you have over a certain amount.
    .-= Shawn´s last blog ..Helping your workers manage themselves =-.

  14. I totally understand the whole lax thing. We had a little bit extra money come in recently, when my husband worked extra over the holidays. There was a sale on at my favourite clothes shop so I went and spent some of it there. My original intention was to put it all into the homeloan, but the lure of 50% off on clothes was too strong.

    At least I did ok on the clothing front, I got 11 items for $180. But back to our goals now…I still feel guilty when I look at my great buys, even though I didn’t pay full price, and I did need clothes. But still there must be a happy medium. I just have to reach it. I either go gung-ho into saving, or maybe a little to free with my spending.

    I am back on the saving wagon again and looking forward to getting this homeloan out of the way.
    .-= MoneyMagnetMummy´s last blog ..Imaginative Ways to Save Money =-.

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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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