One of the most important steps on the journey to becoming more mindful of your money is learning to fail. It is hard. And painful. And frustrating. There will be times that you will want to quit, and just go back to living blissfully beyond your means. It’s important to understand that this is a normal step in the process. Any time you work to change your life, there will be pain to accompany the growth you are working so hard to achieve.
This happened to me last night. My family had decided to meet my sister at Chick-fil-a for dinner because they were doing a special Frozen night with Elsa and Anna. When we arrived we had to park three parking lots away and walked in to the restaurant to find it covered in a sea of wall to wall people. Being that I am quite claustrophobic, it was quickly decided that we would need to be leaving and eating somewhere else. So the $20 Chick-fil-a dinner we had planned on became a $55 dinner at a steakhouse. I was almost sick when the bill came, and not because the food was terrible. $55 is a lot of money. And for something that we put in our bodies that will quickly come out?? I was depressed for a while after leaving dinner.
It is so frustrating when I try so hard to live a frugal life and something unexpected comes up and derails all my efforts. This feeling has also hit me when I am couponing and something doesn’t work out quite right. When I first started using coupons I tried to go all out, working out huge scenarios to buy tons of products only to find the deal not working out at the store. When something is out of stock or not the sale price advertised on my deal website, it blows everything out of whack when trying to do a huge deal. At that point I am standing at the cash register with sweaty palms and a pounding heart on the verge of crying because all my hard work is crumbling before me. Here’s what I have learned from these experiences (and oddly enough this ties in my failed dinner plans last night)
LET IT GO! LET IT GO!
There are going to be times when this lifestyle and the planning and figuring I’ve put in is just simply not going to work. And I have to be okay with that. Because when I am able to step back (after enjoying my well deserved pity party) I realize that all my efforts work together to bring about a change together, and no one thing is going to make or break my frugal lifestyle. Instead of focusing on what I have messed up or what has not gone according to plan, I have to make sure that I focus just as much on what I am doing right. Saving on groceries? Check! Eating out less? Check! Last night I had a talk with myself and realized that I had cooked at home 5 out of the last 6 nights, which made the extra $35 expense at dinner seem not so huge in proportion. And with couponing, looking at the my receipt and seeing what I did save on brings about huge satisfaction. Another things I have learned is that it is okay to return the items you messed up on! Don’t feel like you are stuck with overpriced things because your deal didn’t add up. Save your receipt and take it back. And next week start small, focusing only on one or two deals at a time. That will clear your mind and make it easier to balance things out if it doesn’t add up in your favor.
Learning to save money has a huge learning curve just like anything else. It may or may not come easily to you, and either way it is going to be alright. Start small, focus on the good, and cut yourself some slack are the keys to living a happy, balanced frugal lifestyle.
Also, in full disclosure, I did purchase $10 in lottery tickets last night since the jackpot was up to $900 million. That is also one way to even out your frugal lifestyle, but since I didn’t win I will just keep on keeping on with my tried and true money saving methods 🙂