Posted by Sheryl on April 25, 2012
This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
I admit it, sometimes I will tell a lie, or maybe just omit saying something so another truth is assumed. If my motive is for the greater good or to save hurting someones feelings, is that so bad?
April has been a skinny spending month for me after my horrible March, and I splurged on Saturday: $5 for a big slice of pizza and a drink while at work at my second job. I had not spent any money for coffees or food not prepared at home all month, so I felt that a small splurge was doable. That was the best pizza I’d tasted in a long time, it came from a small independent pizzeria. I saved half (it was a huge slice) to share with my boyfriend when I got home so we could both benefit from the splurge. I have no regrets about any of that.
It’s easy to talk about slashing expenses and saying no to going out or buying things, until you have to do it for real.
On Sunday came the hurt of my goals and financial situation. My sister traveled from out of town (90 minutes away) to visit my parents, and for her husband to help me do some work in their yard. Mid-day came, and everyone (except me) decided to go out for lunch. I would have liked to go with them, but I just don’t feel like I can instantly find $20 to go out for lunch (my sister would have tried to arrange with me to split my parents bill). I had to decline the invitation to join them. When pressed for a reason, I didn’t feel I could say “I don’t have the money to do that”, so I had to reply with “It’s my only day off and I have things I have to do”. I’m certain that if I’d said it was an money issue, someone would have offered to buy it for me, but I just couldn’t do that. I know my sister doesn’t have a big surplus of cash in her budget, and my parents bought lunch for me two weeks ago.
It would be different if it were a birthday or some other celebration, I would have found the funds, but to go for lunch, just because? Yes, I’m hurt because I chose not to join them, but I think I would have hurt more spending the money I couldn’t feel justified in spending. I’ve done so well controlling expenses this month, I want to keep that momentum going.
I can’t help but feel that I got into the situation I’m in (having debt) because I usually just went along with what everyone else was doing, and do feel I’m now on the right track to become FI. I know it’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things either, but right now, $20 is a lot to me. I know one day, the bar of what is a lot to me will be raised, and dropping $20 won’t be as big a deal, but I won’t get there if I raise that bar now.
I’m not dwelling on this, and I accept this is part of the path I’ve chosen. I wanted to write about it so perhaps some readers that have been in similar situations will know they are not alone.