With the downturn in the economy it seems like it’s cool now to save money and budget. Or at least to talk about it. For months I’ve been noticing articles in fashion magazines about how bad rich women feel about going out and spending extravagant amounts on frivolous things. Things like, “I just feel bad spending $15,000 on a dress when my husband’s trust fund could get slashed by, like, 50% making us only millionaires instead of billionaires.” I seriously read something like that in Harper’s Bazaar a couple months ago and wanted to comment on it, but life got in the way. Something those ladies rarely ever have to worry about.
But anyway. We have made budgeting a part of our marriage from the beginning. We’re both savers at heart, but I do tend to have a little spend-love in me, and if the mood hits I could blow, say $60 in Ulta on makeup for one night at a ball. Yep. Totally not like the normal me. I’m so cheap that my watch battery went dead in Missouri, that’s 15 months ago, and I just haven’t replaced it yet because I haven’t found a good time where I want to pay $7 for a new battery. Wait. That’s not cheap, that’s just illogical. Whatever.
The fact is we’re budgeters and we stick to our budget. We’re so anal we’ve broken down our budget into great detail and we itemize everything at the end of the month and know exactly what we spent in each category. This is why I began hyperventilating yesterday when I was doing the bills for July and accounting for what was spent in June.
We’ve only been in DC since the 16th of June and have already spent several hundred dollars eating out. I almost puked up all of that food, delicious as it was…the first time around. Granted it’s a little harder to cook in the hotel room, and if we’re out anytime around dinner we usually just grab something, because to drive back to the hotel room and then wait for me to make something would be torturous. Also, there are hundreds if not thousands of restaurants around here just waiting to be eaten at, and even the June issue of Washingtonian was all about 100 cheap restaurants that are still good. I just looked and we haven’t eaten at one of them yet.
I do see a light at the end of the tunnel though and we may reach the end of that tunnel on 01 August. My husband’s job gives him a housing allowance based on the cost of living of this area. We are free to find any house we want to live in, but if the rent/mortgage is above that allowance then we have to pay “out of pocket” for the balance of said rent/mortgage. It’s always been our goal to be at or under that allowance. And thank You, God (seriously) the house that we will be renting falls well below that allowance.
This was one of our goals when looking for a house because we knew the cost of living in DC would be astronomical (compared to say, Alabama or Missouri). We also knew that we would want to eat out and do a lot of the cool things around here. There are a lot of free things in the area, but we haven’t found a free restaurant yet, and kids’ activities (gymnastics, dance, etc) are only going to be more expensive here. Not to mention parking meters and the metro both cost and it ads up week by week. Our plan was to rent a house under the allowance so we would have more money in our budget to go towards outings and other things.
The hotel we’re at is right at the housing allowance so all of the extras we’ve been doing and eating are having to come out of pocket. This hurts when it’s above what we’ve budgeted for. I’m thankful that come August 1st we’ll be paying our rent and getting a little bit extra for all of the extra things we want to do.