I have been living too in the moment. It's just been about getting through the day, and the next, and so forth. This week, I'm focusing on long term planning. Or at least, the next few months.
Our big news: the girls and I will all be in a musical this summer! Riley's debut, and the first time the we've all been in the same musical. We're very excited.
In putting together the budget for the summer months, I've done what I can to minimize the costs, and now, summer doesn't entirely break the budget. Hooray!
I haven't been as vigilant about my long-term budget planning, either, so I wasn't sure how that was going to turn out. It does seem that I've been doing enough different thinking about money these past couple of years that even if I'm not spending 2-3 hours a week on budgeting, I'm re-conditioned so that I can handle the unexpected wrenches a little easier than in the past.
I'm less inclined to spend money now and figure it out later. I love, love, love seeing my credit card balance decrease. I use it when necessary, but I do everything I can to pay off more than what I put on the card from month to month. I love the months where nothing at all goes on the credit card!
That would be my main credit card. My second credit card hasn't had a new purchase on it in 2 years, and things are looking good (fingers and toes crossed) that it will be paid off in full by the end of 2012. (And then, of course, the world will end, but if there is a hell, then Chase and I will both be in it, and I won't owe them a dime!)
Let me go back a moment. What do I mean when I say I use my credit card when necessary? These are the necessary sacrifices for the kids, most of the time. The $90 (gasp!) yearbook for Sylvia, and all of her art supplies. The car maintenance.
While she really does need art supplies for school, I'm sure some would argue that a yearbook isn't necessary. There was simply no way I could deny her that. It may have been more than 20 years ago, but I still remember that excitement at the end of the school year of signing each other's yearbooks, getting that senior who barely knows you to add their autograph, taking up an entire page of your bestest friend's book. Yeah, that's a necessary joy of being in high school.
Now, I didn't have $90 to spare in my checking account, and this certainly didn't qualify as an "emergency" worthy of dipping into my savings. So I will add to what I'm paying this month on my credit card to make up the difference.
As BigLittleWolf and I discussed in the comments of a previous post, all parents make sacrifices for their kids, but I have learned to think about how today's sacrifice will affect each of us long-term, and minimize those impacts. Which doesn't mean that we aren't impacted...but at least I think about it now!