Need vs. Want...Will I ever learn the difference?
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  1. #1
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    Default Need vs. Want...Will I ever learn the difference?

    **********This thread is just my mindless ramblings about my financial situation and how I got here and how I plan to change. Feel free to comment or give suggestions. It is my attempt to keep me more accountable for my spending and a way to hopefully track some progress in the coming months.************

    First, let me start off by telling how I got here. I am a SAHM that homeschools my two children. My DH works full time as a captain on a fire dept and makes good money. In the past few years since I quit working as an RN I learned how to save money and even found it like a game. I would love to see how much I could save at the grocery store, etc. Financially we were doing very well. We had saved a good sum of money. Nothing extravagant, but still...if a crisis arose (like we needed the car repaired or something similar) we didn't have to worry about how we were going to pay for it. Then I got sick a few months back. (Female problems will kill you, I swear!) I was down and out for about 3 months. My DH was trying to pick up my slack and still working FT. When we needed something neither us felt like trying to find the best deal. We simply got it at the closest store. No budgeting. Just surviving.

    Fastforward to the present. Now that I am starting to get my groove back I decided to take a good look at our bank balances. We are at the lowest point we have been at in years. DH and I sat down last night and after arguing and assigning blame (quite loudly, I might add!) we decided it was both of our faults that we were in this situation. Both of us have a problem distinguishing the difference between a need versus a want. Take yesterday, for instance. My son is growing like a weed. It comes with being almost 11 years old. He needed some new shirts. Or did he? He has atleast 5 that still fit him well. Or is that enough? Did I feel the need to buy him some new ones because I saw that Target was having a sale on shirts? See how easily I am influenced?!?

    Today is a new day, a new beginning. My DH and I set a goal to add $5000 to our savings account. I'm not setting any time frame on this challenge. Who knows what bumps along the road the future holds? I do know that I am the type of person when she sets her mind to something it WILL happen. I'm stubborn and will not be defeated!

    So, for today, here is what I plan on doing to help my situation:

    * I have 2 checks to deposit in the bank totalling $391.13.
    * Child support should roll in (if it's not late as it has been the past few times). I will deposit that ($220). That's $611.13 hopefully going in the bank today. That's a good start.
    * I've already planned my menu through next Tuesday so I'm set there. Here's a mini challenge to myself. I don't want to go to the grocery store until atleast next Monday. That way I won't miss the loss leaders (if there are any decent ones) and I'll be forced to use what I already have!
    * I used up some random items in my freezer this morning for breakfast. I found 2 frozen pancakes and 1 frozen waffle just hanging around in there by themselves so I sliced up a banana with them and that was breakfast for the kids. DS also had a cup of yogurt because he is a bottomless pit.
    * Dinner is already started. I've got some frozen tomatoes that I grew this summer in the crockpot. Later in the day I'll add some veggies and a little meat for homemade vegetable soup. It makes a lot and I'll have that for lunches later in the week.
    * I've got a ton of scrubs in my car that I was going to take to Goodwill. I'm thinking I might try selling them on Craigslist first. It doesn't hurt to try!
    * I need to clean out my pocketbook and see how much cash I have on hand. I'll take the coins and add it to my change jar. I might take all of the coins to the bank with me and see how much I have. I'm thinking that might be how we pay for Christmas this year.

    That's enough for now. It's only 8:30 am and I'm this motivated. Or maybe it's just all the coffee I've had. Either way, it's a good start.

    Stephanie

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    I think you will learn the difference. The two of you are recognizing your weaknesses and working together to improve, by the sound of it. That's a very positive sign right there!

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    I understand seeing the sale and 'needing' something.

    I have gotten heaps better at resisting the 'oh, I need that because it's on sale'. If I honestly need it for stockpiling, I will get it... but, a 20 lb bag of dog food on sale for $2 won't do me any good... no dog

    We -do- need clothes, unless you live in a clothing optional community. Kids -do- grow every time you blink. Mine is 8, and she is near 5 feet tall. When I see jeans on sale, I buy the next size and the size above that... but it has to be a VERY good sale... (ie: the store is having a $5/bag sale). Does she need those jeans? Yes... and no. She will outgrow the ones she has on, but the world won't stop turning if I walked out of the store without the bigger ones today.

    Having a few extras in a bigger size can be a buffer in the event there is no money available when he needs it... but, older kids, especially boys, are harder to buy for. Some skip sizes entirely.

    A good zippered hoody can do magic over an out of season short sleeve shirt. He stays warm and you stretch out the wardrobe a little more.

    You seem to be heading on the right track.

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    I think you're on your way!
    Simply that you have recognized something you can improve upon and are willing to work on it together, as a team... Good job!
    It'll take some time, but you will get there.

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    It sounds to me like you know how to play the game and that both you and dh are on board and have a plan of action.

    You have everything you need to get back on track.

    Glad to see you are feeling better.

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    I'm impressed! You have been introspective and now you are determined and have a plan. Keep up the good work!
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    Sounds like you're on the road to success. I've read or am in the middle of reading "Frugal Living for Dummies" and Dave Ramsay's book "Total Money Makeover". Perhaps borrowing these from the library will inspire you more to save and give you more tips on how to save. ...FV is also a great place to be, don't forget!...lol

    Glad you're feeling better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltin' Mama View Post
    Sounds like you're on the road to success. I've read or am in the middle of reading "Frugal Living for Dummies" and Dave Ramsay's book "Total Money Makeover". Perhaps borrowing these from the library will inspire you more to save and give you more tips on how to save. ...FV is also a great place to be, don't forget!...lol

    Glad you're feeling better!
    I've read both of those in the past. It's not that I don't know what to do...I just didn't feel like doing it. I've been frugal for years. You never realize how much energy it takes to BE frugal until you can barely get out of bed because you are so weak and tired and in pain.

    Stephanie

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    Reccognizing the problem is the first big step. Now that you and dh have cleared the air and are working together on this it can only get better.
    You're in the right place for support and advice!

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    the fact that you even care to try and distiguish between the two is a major step in the right direction.....it sounds like you have a good game plan going, keep us updated on how you are doing!

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    I think the ability to distinguish between need and want is the basic building block of a frugal life. The fact that you recognize the issue says that you are on your way to success. The way we have done it is to not make impulsive buys. It is amazing what 24 hours of contemplation will do for you. We talk ourselves out of most purchases. I have a problem with not wanting to pass up a good deal even though we may not need the product. This is where the cooling off period comes in handy.

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    OK...update for today.
    * I did put the two checks in the bank. Child support comes NEXT week, duh...I'm so forgetful sometimes.
    * I spent NO MONEY today!
    *All meals were from what I had on hand and I also made sugar cookies for dessert/snacks.
    * I also printed out a form to track every single expense for the month. I'm a "list person" so this is perfect for me.
    *I received a check in the mail today for $15.87 from a telephone co-op I used to belong to. I plan to cash that and add it to my Christmas fund. I'll do that tomorrow when I take all of my change to the bank.
    *I've decided to cancel our plans to go see Madagascar 2 on Friday. The kids aren't going to be happy but maybe I can get something from the library. Any suggestions for a 10 yr old boy and 8 yr old girl?!?
    *I said I wouldn't go grocery shopping until next week BUT Harris Teeter is having triple coupons this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I set aside $15 to stock up on free or nearly free items.
    *I joined the grocery challenge and set my budget for $400 this month. This is completely doable.

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    Registered User LynnLC's Avatar
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    WTG! You're on the right track. I still struggle with understanding that Chanel, Gucci & Vuitton is not a need!

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    updates for myself:

    *spent absolutely no money on Monday OR Tuesday!
    *DID receive child support check on Tuesday and put it directly into the bank. Does that tell you anything about how I've regarded $ lately? I wasn't even sure when that check was supposed to roll in. All I know is it is consistently late by a few days every time.
    *put the $15 check I received on Monday in the bank instead of putting it towards Christmas fund
    *did collect $121 from change jar...added that to Christmas fund with other cash I had saved.
    *cleaned out DS's closet and dresser. Found tons on shirts I had forgotten he had. He didn't really "need" those new shirts I bought the other day. Lesson learned. I did, however, freecycle a whole trash bag full of clothes he had outgrown.
    *watched election results with family for "entertainment" (can I seriously call it that?!?) and a free, real life homeschool lesson
    *DH's birthday is today. Instead of buying some expensive gift that he really didn't need OR want I bought him a bag of pistachios at the grocery store the other day. He loves those things and I rarely buy them because they are kind of pricey. I found a good size bag at Aldi for less than $5. The kids decorated an empty jar and put the nuts in it. He was truly happy with that. Tonight we're cooking one of his favorite meals instead of going out to dinner. I'm also going to make a cake, from scratch mind you, instead of buying one.
    *this is a biggie for me...I wanted to put up a new flag outside and take down my Halloween one. I knew I had a Thanksgiving one but couldn't find it anywhere. Instead of going out and buying a new one, DH and I went through the whole house and garage and found one we had completely forgotten about. (Still don't know where the other one is!) I think that's progress.

    So far, so good.

    Stephanie

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    This week is over THANK GOODNESS!

    I'm finding it would be very easy to slip back into old spending habits. Sometimes I feel so uninspired to be frugal. I see all of my neighbors and friends going out to eat all the time or buying cute new clothes for their kids. I admit, I do get jealous. Here I am slaving away in the kitchen day after day and always trying to find the best bargain for something instead of paying full price. They go off acting as if they don't have a care in the world. Then, lo and behold, I see the town come by and shut off one of my neighbor's water because they hadn't paid their bill! They just spent alteast $200 on their Halloween costumes but didn't think it was a necessity to pay their water bill. I don't get it. The wife told me she had to borrow $ from her FIL to buy groceries for the week BUT I saw them go out to eat atleast 3 nights last week. WTH?!? That's where my jealousy flies out the window. I don't try to judge anyone's financial situation because I've been at the lowest of the lows before. But that just doesn't make any sense to me. I guess I rediscovered my motivation for being frugal.

    This week financially I've done pretty good. I've stayed out of the stores except for going grocery shopping yesterday. I decided to skip the triple coupons this go round. I was tired and didn't feel like driving 20 minutes in traffic only to pick up a few things. Lazy, I know. I went to the grocery store that was 2 minutes away instead. Holy cow, I walked around looking at the prices. Things are SO expensive. A 2 lb bag of baby carrots was $4.49! A small container of Nesquik was $4.69. Who in the world can afford those prices? I was very selective about what I bought.

    Also on a positive note, my DH got paid yesterday and made over $900 in overtime. Bless his heart, he is such a good man. He may be a royal pain the the butt sometimes but he works so hard to provide for our family.

    Stephanie

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