Being in debt has led the hubby and me to make some financial sacrifices since we started to pay off debt seriously around 20 months ago.
In fact, we were already making quite a few financial sacrifices before then as our debts became too much to cope with and we had no choice but to severely tighten our belts.
We’ve been fairly extreme in cutting costs. We buy food in bulk, cook most of it and freeze it to last us. We plan our meals and end up eating pretty much the same things week in week out.
We don’t have Sky TV, we don’t buy new clothes or new things for our home. If we need something, our first port of call is to look on Freecycle and then eBay. Our possessions around us are looking more than a little worn nowadays.
We don’t very often go out for lunch or dinner or have coffee out. We have a small socialising budget of £40 per month, mainly so that we can take our daughter swimming and go to the odd soft play centre or plan a trip out for her.
In addition we try to make extra money where we can. This has led to us paying 60% of our debts off in the last 20 months! So we think this way of living has definitely been worth it!
Cutting back and saving every penny has been bearable for the most part and something that we’ve gotten used to. At first, cutting back and saving as much as possible was something we considered would be a temporary measure and boy oh boy, we were so going to make up for it once the debts were gone.
Then as our debt began to reduce, we started to think more about the future and realised that if we are to really improve things for ourselves financially, we need to be living the frugal lifestyle for a long time.
So why the spending splurge then?
It was my birthday last week. I’m now 34 years old. (Yes, that’s even further clarification as to why we need to get our financial house in order!)
My hubby decided to book us a nice meal with friends at a really nice restaurant not too far from where we live. He booked mid-week because it was cheaper and took advantage of the summer early dining set menu at £15 per person for two courses, which was a choice of three dishes for starter and main. He made sure that this place had a kid’s menu for our little girl (G) because he knew I wanted to spend my birthday with her too (and actually bringing her with us was cheaper than getting a babysitter).
I’m pleased to say that we stuck to the summer dining deal which is just as well because we ended up spending a whopping £90 ($149) that evening! We had our two courses and then I gave in and ordered a pudding plus some ice cream for G.
The hubby didn’t have a pudding but we all had a couple of drinks and because 66.6% of the drinks were alcoholic (ahem!), we ended up getting a taxi back with a view to picking up the car the next morning.
For once I didn’t pay much attention to what we were spending (must have been the wine). When we got home and the hubby added everything up, I’m not going to lie; I did feel a huge pang of guilt… and a definite pang of fright. The hubby didn’t feel guilty at all because it was his intention for us to have a good time – his view is that we need to enjoy ourselves once in a while.
The money for this meal didn’t come out of our budget either; it was from one of our savings accounts earmarked for special occasions – our birthday and gift fund. We didn’t get into debt for it or let it affect our everyday budget, so why did I – and do I still – feel guilty? I can only put it down the months of rigorous training I’ve undergone on how to carefully manage our money.
Were we right to splurge for a special occasion? What would you have done?
*Image courtesy of Flickr