As I mentioned before, when I was in high school, my dad had some kind of job change. To this day, I don’t know the details which is typical of my family. “Don’t tell the kids” even though the kids are adults now. *side eye* Anyway, all I know is Dad retired from USAF & then there was this drastic drop in income. He didn’t have a steady income for a while & things were financially difficult. I told you how I noticed this with my relationship with food.
Okay, so now that you’ve had that refresher, lemme tell you what I’ve learned in the past 20 years, more so in the past 12 or so years. I’ve watched my parents maintain their champagne taste but on a beer budget & not in a good way. I watched them struggle with bills but have the latest gadgets. Sadly, I followed their footsteps. I was living beyond my means for a few years. And like my folks, I was trying to keep up with the Joneses. Today’s post isn’t to get into those details. Maybe I will some other day. But today, I want to share what I’ve learned since I broke that pattern.
The TL;DR is that I learned to enjoy life without feeling deprived. I learned to spend money on what was important to me, especially my health. I prioritized my life, adopted minimalism, & learned what true contentment really means. Don’t get me wrong – I still have champagne taste. If you show me 5 items, I will pick out the one I like best which is somehow always the most expensive. 😉
But I’ve learned what I need to “splurge” on, what areas I need to be frugal, & what I need to toss because it’s not worth it. And I don’t just mean financially. There are some friends who I need to spend more time with because of how our personalities are. I will happily go “over budget” for them. I’m working on self-control to dismiss smaller mental issues so they don’t turn into huge monsters. Most areas of my life, I proudly admit I’m a cheap-ass. 🙂 If I can save time, money, or energy, I will.
There are those who I’ve reached out towards & they pushed my hand away. There are situations that always cause my anxiety level to rise or for depression to hit. There are times when you can’t ignore the formal dinner function & you have to spend a pretty penny. Just like a recovering addict, these are not helping me to be my very best & so I avoid those toxic issues by all means. I’ve learned I’m too important to waste my resources on those people, items, or situations who don’t appreciate me in return.
Sometimes I can’t fully avoid them. So what do I do? I maintain my beer budget. For example, let’s say I’m invited to a party. I don’t know the host very well & those I do know may be sparse in their attendance. To me, my options are clear. 1 – RSVP no & stay home. 2 – Go with a set amount of time I’ll stay before I bounce like Jim Halpert. 🙂
Before I would’ve bought an expensive gift, maybe a new outfit, spent time preparing & stressing over the event, & been uncomfortable the whole time. I would’ve gone home & gone over every detail to see where & when I screwed up. That is over my budget. I can still go to the party but maybe I’ll pick up a $8 bottle of wine instead. I can wear what I have in my closet & make small talk (God, I loathe small talk) before I leave. I go home & I don’t hate myself.
And that is how I maintain my champagne taste without blowing my mental, financial, or social beer budget. 🙂