I’ve gotten sloppy.
I haven’t been very careful watching my pennies (or dollars). I’ve been buying things without coupons. I’ve been eating out way too much. I’ve been lazy about my finances.
I haven’t been doing many of the basic things that I talk about here at Northern Cheapskate. I believe the word “hypocrite” comes to mind.
I owe it to my family and I owe it to all of you to be a better steward our money.
I want to be the good example that you all expect me to be.
So I’m taking steps to get back on track. I’ve been consistently spending more money than we bring in for a few months and our disappearing savings shows it. But it ends now. Here are the steps (in no particular order) that I’m taking to get our finances headed in the right direction:
I’m tracking our expenses. It’s been awhile since I have really paid attention to where our money is going. So I’ve started using the Budget Free app on iPhone and iPad to track things. Previously I used paper and pencil, so using the technology is a little refreshing. I’ll share more about my experience with tracking our expenses in a future post.
I’ve set spending goals. If you want to call it a budget, you can. I think of it more as little challenges. Can I keep our meals out to under $150 this month? Can I keep my grocery bill under $200? I’m trying to see just how much of a cheapskate I can be.
I’m looking at ways to increase our income. My primary job is stay-at-home mom, so anything I take on has to be something I can tackle with the kids around. I’ve been taking more surveys and taking on some freelance writing projects. In addition, my husband has picked up a few freelance opportunities as well.
I’m planning an “eat from the pantry challenge.” It’s been more than a year since I’ve done an “eat from the pantry” challenge, so it’s time to get serious about menu planning using up what’s in the pantry and freezer. I’ll be sharing more the challenge in an upcoming post.
I’m getting my husband on board. I think part of the reason that I’ve failed so miserably when it comes to managing our finances is that I’ve been carrying the burden myself. It’s hard to be the keeper of the purse strings all the time… it’s exhausting. My husband and I have already had some great discussions about our finances (starting with our “just in case” file) that will continue.
I’m forgiving myself. I’m human. And I am not perfect (despite what I’d like you to believe!). I cannot undo the things I did, but I can make a plan to change my behavior. I can work on taking better care of myself and our money.
The road to financial recovery will not be an easy one, but I’m not one to shy away from a challenge. If you’re struggling with your finances, I hope that you’ll join me in making a plan to get back on track.