Monday, July 20, 2009

Extravagant Tastes on a Shoestring Budget

It's no secret that being a single mom requires some creativity in the money department. While we are never super duper broke, we come very close some months. It's a balancing act that I haven't even come close to mastering. The summer is especially difficult, with day care and back- to-school expenses, and I'm about to lose my penny saving mind. Even though there's definitely some areas that I could cut back on, I won't. You know why? Because then I would feel poor and I think that's one of the worst feelings in the world.

Now let me point out that reality and I have never been friends (unless we're talking reality TV). I have things in my mind one way and I don't like to face how things really are. This is why I close my eyes when I step on the scale at the doctor's office (and tell the nurse that I don't want to know, just in case they decide to announce it) and sometimes, I just go to urgent care where I never have to step on a scale. So, this is why I choose to do my grocery shopping at Target (and not Aldi), and why I have cable and TiVO, and why we go out to eat as much as we can. We go most movies that we want (children's movies of course) AND buy popcorn. Because even though we don't have tons of money, I still don't want to feel poor. And even though my son knows money doesn't grow on trees, I don't ever want him to feel like he went without.

This is not to say that I don't make sacrifices. I don't do that much for myself, aside from the occasional girls night out and of course my annual girls trip. And I don't buy clothes or shoes very often (and if I do, you can bet they come from Target or Old Navy - oh and I don't like going through sales racks, because that also makes me feel poor). I've had two pedicures in the past eight years and no manicures. I sacrificed my monthly massages when I bought my house. I use coupons when I go grocery shopping and stock up when things are on sale. So don't judge me for having a few extravagances (that most people probably wouldn't even consider extravagances).
Now, just because these things make me feel poor, please don't take that as me judging those who do those things. More power to you; I admire you.
This is all about me.


centralillinoisian said...

I agree that some of the things that we have as single moms like cable/dish/tivo etc are extravagances. Lots of people consider them staples but they are luxeries. If having them makes you feel better and you can pay the bill each month, go for it. I myself do not have any of them. I don't even have a phone at home. These are luxuries that I give up to be able to do other things. I also agree about doing things with the kids so they don't grow up feeling poor. I may not have money to spend on myself, but my son will never feel deprived and poor.

Annie said...

You go girl and do what makes you feel good! And I think I would put the girls trip in as a mental health necessity as it is money well spent and its priceless! Miss you!

mooney said...

You are awesome. I am glad that you don't feel guilty about treating yourself or Will to something 'just because'. You have all the basics - you pay your bills, you clothe and feed your child. I think you're an awesome mom for making sure your son feels loved and cared for, as well as not feeling like he's going without. You're the better mom for that than the mom that gives into a child's every whim.

I like Annie's comment - don't ever take that girls trip out of your budget! You need that.