Personal Finance

March 2016 Recap

What a crazy month! Can we say complete failure? In the beginning of the month, I set a few goals. Here’s how I did:

  1. Have a budget meeting with the hubby. Fail! I tried somewhat but it just didn’t happen with the kids on spring break and his parents visiting. 
  2. Increase contributions to his 401k by at least 1%. Fail! That was supposed to be an outcome of the budget meeting that didn’t occur. 
  3. Declutter my daughter’s bedroom closet. 25% success! I did move some boxes around and donate a few items. But the majority of it is still there.
  4. Stay on budget! Fail! Fail! Fail!

Midway through the month, I decided to add some more goals which I named the “Stop Buying Stuff” Challenge. I declared that I wouldn’t buy anything I already had in my house  or didn’t need such as clothes, hair products, makeup or books. Well, here’s a list of all the things I brought that I definitely didn’t need:

  1. Earrings for my daughter
  2. Outfit for my daughter’s American Girl Doll – how cute and expensive is this?!
  3. New hair dryer – (our old one started having issues, but it is still usable)
  4. Hair accessories for my daughter
  5. Scarf holder

So, what did we learn? To be honest, half the time I forgot about my challenge and goals. Only when I was purchasing the scarf holder did I turn to my daughter and say, “Should I buy this? Or just get rid of some of my scarves?” Her answer was of course, buy the holder and buy more scarves! Have a created a shopaholic mini-me? (Side note: Its interesting that more than half of the purchases were for my daughter.) I think I need clearer goals going into April! Tomorrow I plan to post some new goals for the month of April. Stay tuned!

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13 thoughts on “March 2016 Recap

  1. Sorry to hear that you feel your month was a “complete failure!” Not sure how old your kiddos are but maybe try including them, in some fashion, in your budget meeting as well. Even if it was for just a brief minute, hit the highlights, and finish up with your hubby later in the evening to expand on the subject? Lastly, just to change your perspective so you don’t totally beat yourself up, what were some successes you experienced? No matter how small. Looking forward to hearing about your April goals and how you plan to kick their asses! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s actually not a bad idea to include my 9 year old. She’s becoming more aware of money and it might help her become more financially savvy in the future. She’s actually good about not asking for much; I personally really enjoy shopping for her. But no more come April!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you haven’t read it already, an excellent book that I picked up when I first got into this whole PF thing was the one that Dave Ramsey wrote with his daughter called Smart Money, Smart Kids. I haven’t read it in about a year but, if I remember correctly, it is sort of broken into chapters by age range and the types of lessons that children may be ready to hear about.

        I really hope that including your daughter works out well. As she begins understanding more and more, it will (theoretically since I have an 18 month and presumably NO idea what I’m talking about :-D) give you something to relate back to when you are explaining to her why you can’t/shouldn’t/??? buy something that she may be asking for. Plus, like you said, the earlier you start teaching her, the better she will theoretically be in the long haul. I’m hoping for the same thing with our kiddo…even if he doesn’t want/decide to retire early after reaching FIRE, having the freedom that financial independence provides would open up trillions of possibilities in his life.

        Good luck! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll have to see if I can get that book! Thanks for the recommendation. A while back, she found a statement for college fund and was intrigued because it had her name on it. She asked quite a few good questions and is now constantly asking how much we have saved for her college tuition.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re very welcome; I hope you find it beneficial. That’s really awesome that she has shown some interest already…capitalize on that! We started an ESA for our son and it will be awesome to watch with him over the years as it compounds and (hopefully :-S) increases in value to the point that it is extremely beneficial when he gets to the point of college.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I agree with Nurse on Fire – include the kids! We have 4 kids – 12 to 7 yrs old. About once or twice a year we pull out paper play money and papers with the budget categories on them. Then the kids go at it. We have them set up the budget. We let them know the fixed expenses but they figure out where the money goes for everything else. The first time we did this, our oldest was about 10, our youngest 5. The results were awesome all around. The kids learned a lot and actually made some improvements in our budget I hadn’t thought of. It opened the door to good discussions on what we really wanted our money to do and how we could make that happen. They picked the sacrifices they were willing to make – packing lunches from home and agreeing to pay the difference if they forgot and charged a lunch at school. Honestly, I was shocked at what they accomplished and the things they saw as important. They were insistent that we have a date night fund. They were insistent that we attack our debts with gusto. Letting the kids in on the money decisions has changed the way all of us look at money and has made saying no easier for me and for them.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Wow! That does sound fun and great for the kids. I’m going to try to see if I can get the hubby and I on the same page and do a fun exercise like this! I’m curious to see what they would be willing to give up.

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  2. I would say that since you are reflecting on your journey and preparing for the next part of it, you totally succeeded. Changing a habit (addiction, spending etc) takes practice and patience. I tell my weight loss clients this every time they think they failed because they had a bad week of eating. You have some pretty awesome goals, and thank you for taking us on your journey. 🙂 I think you will rock APRILs goals

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Awareness is half the battle! Maybe instead of setting action-oriented goals, set dollar amount goals? So rather than “I won’t buy X” it becomes “I only have Y to spend on X this month”? I find the clarity around exactly what the numbers are helps to guide me, better than the “rules” I was creating for myself that would inevitably fall by the wayside.

    Now I need to do that with calories & exercise … :/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I set reminders in my phone to remind me not to spend money. It’s so bad. I ever went as far as putting a post it on my debit card that reads “do you really need this?” It’s a bit awkward to have to remove it in a store so it’s stopped me from buying a few things at Walmart or the grocery store that I didn’t need, but wanted.

    Liked by 2 people

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