“Broke” is a matter of perspective
There’s a difference between being broke…and struggling.
My responsibilities to my family come first, before anything else. Before I became married, and a mom? Totally different. I could be ‘selfish’ and spoil myself. My bills were small, and it was no big deal to drop hundreds of dollars on shopping sprees, hair and nail appointments, and drinks at the club.
“Want to go to a concert?” You bet your butt I do.
“$150 for a pair of ripped up jeans?” Shut up and take my money.
But your priorities change when you start a family. And while spending money (and time) on yourself isn’t a bad thing to do, I tend to think about the “what if’s” of the future, and I don’t do it that much. Spoil my husband and child, yes…but you won’t find me at the nail salon that often anymore.
Finances take a new priority
My husband is a stickler for finances (well, it is one of his majors). He has goals and plans to set our family on a good path. And I completely agree with those goals. And even if it might annoy me on nights when I don’t necessarily feel like cooking – I love how he’s able to point out things like, “We have that at home. We don’t need to go out.” Because after the meal, (it’s always after, when I’m not hungry) I always kick myself for eating out when I realize I could have saved $20, $30, $50 dollars by just staying at home and not being lazy. But he’s right – as he puts it, “Just because I have money to spend, doesn’t mean we need to spend it on everything.”
That’s what annoys me when people assume that I’m flat dead broke if I don’t accept offers to do certain things. Be it trips to the spa, or group movie nights, if I don’t see a necessity to spend money, I don’t anymore.
Your idea of “expendable income” changes
This month we have a lot planned. Pre-scheduled outings to theme parks with family, birthday parties to attend, birthday parties to plan, family to visit out of state…these things are more important than something silly, like spending it on something temporary for myself only.
Don’t say, “Oh, you don’t have $10 to get in?” if I decline an offer to join you somewhere without the kids. That doesn’t mean I don’t have money…that means I’m declining your offer to spend that money on myself.
And when I say, “I’m kinda broke right now,” that doesn’t mean I’m hurting for necessities. That means my refrigerator is full of food, my bills are paid, and what I have in the bank, I’m saving for an emergency-not an excuse to blow what’s left in my account on just whatever comes along.
Maybe I’m getting old, and thinking too much, but if anything does arise, I’m always the one kicking myself for even spending that small ten bucks on something stupid when I could have saved it.
It’s important, especially once you’re a mom and you never treat yourself, to actually do that once in a while. But if I decline an invitation to do so, please don’t think my struggle is that real…I’m just keeping my priorities in check.