Recently, my wife and I have decided to aggressively pay down our debt. In order to do so, we have taken out everything from our budget except for the necessities. This means that we are allowing ourselves no extra money for special outings or for clothes (although we occasionally dip into the food budget for a little fun, and then live on crumbs late in the month). Lately though, both my wife and I have begun to make some additional income outside of our regular incomes, and this money is not within our budget. Since it is still a fairly small amount, we have decided that whoever makes it gets to decide how to spend it. It can all go straight to our debts, it could be spent on dinner and a movie, it can be used to further invest in our side-businesses, it can be used to do anything we please.
My wife decided to do some babysitting recently and accumulated a total of $100. Since she hasn’t been shopping for at least the last 30 days (probably more), I figured we were about to tear up the town with a shopping spree!! Now, before I get myself into trouble with my lovely wife (she really is amazing, don’t get me wrong…I’m just slightly sarcastic most of the time), I’d better take a few steps back into her history.
Like most women, my wife loves fashion! Since I’ve met her, I now know about Michael Kors, Dior, Chanel, Coach, among many others. I even know about some of the history behind these designers! Well, with a love of fashion comes a love for purchasing fashion, and this often comes at a high price. Further feeding this love, my wife worked at a retail store that was jam packed with high end women’s fashion. She would often have the opportunity to purchase these designer clothes at a discounted price, so she was very used to an ever-growing wardrobe. Since we’ve gotten married, she’s had to give up that job, along with most of her spending, so when she gets the opportunity to buy some clothes, we are at the store before you can say, “I’ve got money!”.
So off we went to the stores. First of all, I was very impressed with the stores she selected. Places like, Burlington Coat Factory and Marshalls. Then, once we were there, she decided that nothing caught her eye, and we left empty handed! Twice! I think my eyes were dangling from the sockets with shock.
Our final stop was at Target. This is where she found the jackpot. 4 pairs of shoes, a pair of slippers, and some comfortable jammies (pants and shirt): $42. Nearly everything she purchased was at least 75% off! I was proud of her for that, but I was also proud of her next decision. She saved some of her money so that she would be able to buy an external flash for her photography business.
I am very proud of my wife. Once she decided that we would aggressively pay down our debts (yes, it was her decision, not mine!), she has really stuck to the budget and encouraged me to do that same. We track our expenses on Mint.com so that we can get a budget update no matter where we are, and we are nearly free!
Are you a spender at heart? Did you recently make a decision to pay off debt or save up for the future? How are you doing?
AUTHOR Derek Sall
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.