On lapsed frugality

A few months ago, I happened upon this Dave Ramsey post:

Meh, didn’t register much at first. But the thought kept popping back in my head. Ordering on Amazon? There it was. Adding convenience foods to my grocery cart? Back again.

I haven’t (yet) written about our goals for early retirement (aka the FIRE movement), but my husband and I have been slowly, steadily working that direction for about eight years now. We’re not all that frugal, really, but we do have some basic tenets we’ve tried to follow:

  • Keep eating out to a minimum
  • Less frequent but intentional vacations, mostly local
  • Auto-deduct savings before the money hits our checking account

That said, if I’m being honest (and there are no readers here, so why not!), I fell off the frugal spending wagon some time ago. It was easy to turn a blind eye while we were a double-income family, but I quit my misery-inducing job back in December and our bank account numbers are a little more pronounced now. Still privileged, solid, satisfying numbers, but slightly diminished nonetheless.

Back to Dave Ramsey: Once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it. Once I realized that we had drifted, one purchase at a time, from our family’s core mission of freedom via financial independence, I felt … liberated. I see it, again. I see the immediate purpose, again. And I’m not sad about it.

So, how’re we going to get back on track over here? The end of that story remains to be seen, but for now, here’s what I’m doing:

  • Reviewing my zero sum budget spreadsheet.
  • Acknowledging that we’re spending a whole lot of money on individual subscriptions. I don’t yet know which of those, if any, will go. But I’ll be watching.
  • Seeing that our Amazon purchases are, truly, over the top. There are several purchases I’ve made within the past two months that I am already to put out for Goodwill. FOR REALS. Embarrassing.

Note that those are all observational goals. I’m growing here, people; I’ve turned 40 and realized that you gotta watch before you can plan to do. Let’s see how this goes.

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