As I’ve ranted, raved, whimpered, stomped, slammed cupboards doors and otherwise behaved childishly about, 2007 was not the best year around here financially. We’ve ended the year on a down note, with depleted savings and new debts.
Therefore, without further ado (or whining, or ranting), may I introduce my Living Below Your Means (LBYM) 2008 Challenge. From January 14 through October 31, I’m going to focus on the ‘frugal’ side of LBYM. The goal is to pay off one of the nastier loans, and hopefully to then move on to bulking up our emergency fund, which is at a completely unacceptably low level right now.
I’m starting on Monday because I have Holiday Crazy ongoing through this weekend and I don’t want to add anything ‘extra’ to my plate until the last present has been delivered and the last guest has left. And I’m only running it through the end of October because it allows me to relax when the next Holiday Crazy descends on us. I don’t want to be trying to come up with “cute and creative” presents out of dumpster-diving scores, thanks all the same.
But it does need to be said right up front: This does not mean that all bets are off and on November 1 I’m going to be hitting the mall running with my Amex held out before me buying up everything that falls into my cart. It only means that I’m not going to be workin’ the frugal quite so hard during the festive season; if I spend every dime I have in my budget, that’s fine for those two months.
Spending dimes I do not have, however, is right out.
Now I know that some of you are out there saying, “Hey, I’ve got debts! And I don’t have enough savings, either! How can I play along?”
I’ll start posting my own weekly and monthly goals next week. Play along, if you like! Or just ignore it if you don’t! I’ll also be putting up frugal tips as they occur to me – long time LBYMers will just have to bear with us, because a lot of this has been said over, and over, and over, and over, AND OVER again. But! Seems there’s always someone who never heard it before, so it always bears repeating.
For the next few days, think about what you might want to accomplish by tightening up and redirecting your spending. Sure, most of us have debts, debts, debts we want to deal with – but maybe you don’t. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to Venice, or you’d like to buy a house, or retire at 55. Maybe you’re just sick of living paycheck to paycheck and would like a nice emergency fund to cushion you when you hit those rough patches. Maybe you’d like to stop “having” to shop at WalMart, turn your consumer dollars into something that supports local art and labor.
Just mull it over. What things are there out there that you’d like to have, do or be that are out of your reach because there’s never enough money for them? Doodle it out, maybe. Just write down a bunch of stuff. It doesn’t have to be Big Important Stuff. It can be frivolous. This isn’t a test. Nobody is grading this. No right, no wrong. It’s about you and what makes you go, “Oooh! Yeah! That would be awesome!!”
Get jazzed about it.
And then next week…let’s see what we can do about making it happen.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
13 hours ago