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.
My hours have been cut back a bit at the second job, and the demands of my time by my parent(s) have lessened quite a bit as well, so I have been trying to make my home environment more reflective of the life I want. I desire simple, functional, and inspiring surroundings that will allow me to focus on living, rather than maintaining stuff. I’m finding it is double edged sword though.
Simple and functional are not always inspiring. A few planks of wood supported by concrete blocks are fine to use as a bookshelf in a basement or rec room, but in my living and bed rooms, I’d like something a little prettier please. I’ve been to some contents sales, yard sales, thrift stores and scratch and dent section of new stores looking for some of the few things I
need want for my home, but every time I see something I like, I ask myself “Do I want to go into debt for this?” Yes, I have debt, and as I see it, while I have debt, even when I pay cash for something , buying the item is still incurring debt, as that money could have gone to reduce my debt instead.
I’ve made a compromise though, some things I will wait until I am out of debt (except the mortgage, maybe) and others, I will buy now. I think the biggest impact I can make right now is closet organizers. I know they are more expensive than put-it-together-yourself shelving , but I’m also thinking that because they would become a fixture in my home, they would increase it’s resale appeal, and they serve the purpose that I need, a place to put off season clothes, extra linens, stores of food that were a bargain, and a few other things I’m not planning on getting rid of.
I’ve also started asking myself that question when other money spending opportunities come up. Do I want to go into debt because I don’t feel like cooking? Do I want to go into debt just because I feel like going for a drive (with no particular destination in mind)? How about for that shirt? or those shoes?
Sometimes the answer is yes, if my shoes have worn out, or I have a gift card for a restaurant that would make my out of pocket very low.
If I really need inspiration to say no, I’ll log into my banking website and pay on my debt what ever I felt like spending on an non-essential, and it feels good to see the outstanding balance go down, even just a little. Usually I pay all my bills at the end of the month, so having a mid-month boost can help morale.
Do you play any tricks or games with yourself to keep you on track? What works, and what doesn’t?