Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Did we spend a lot or save a lot? Maybe a little of both.

I'm sure the similie has been made before: Debt reduction is a lot like dieting. You know you need to cut calories to reach your desired goal and day after day, you kind of chip away at it. Then the weekend comes, and you gorge yourself and end up weighing more than you did before. That's sorta what happened this weekend. We took some money out of a MMA that was earning low interest and paid off our two small-balance credit cards. Now we only have the one big one between the two of us. Then I put $700 on the big one on payday and felt really good about it.

And then the weekend happened and we spent about $1200, and up the Amex balance goes again. Guilt. Frustration. And all that. But how do I reconcile this? Actually we had a really, really productive weekend, and spent that money on things that we really needed for the house. We bought desks for the office that we've just renovated, and we can't set up the room and move crap out of the other storage holding areas without them--we picked them up from the store, even, to save on shipping. We bought shelves (at an outlet store) that I've been wanting for two years, again picking them up to save on shipping. (I think they were at the outlet because they might be discontinued, hence the need for us to move quickly on them.) The tax was also lower because we bought them in a neighboring state. We bought $100 worth of plants and mulch that completely changes the way the front yard looks--big bang for the buck, which potentially increases the value of our home. And we also bought a tall ladder, so that we can start painting some of our home's interior ourselves and not have to pay someone else to do it (the ladder was $200, and we had gotten an estimate for $1100 for a pro to paint one big room!). Yes, we spent a lot but we feel really good to have met so many of our goals for attaining things that we needed as cheaply (without skimping on quality) as we could.

So I guess the plan is to go back to "dieting" for the next month or so, making improvements to the house that won't cost much but just require a lot of elbow grease. We got rid of two credit cards, now it's time to slay the big one.


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