Our new coffee maker is saving me money
A couple of weeks before Christmas MD and I took advantage of a sale and bought ourselves our present early. We picked this one-cup coffee maker because, with the purchase of a special filter insert, you can use your own coffee instead of the insanely expensive pre-packaged cups. I also finally found some ceramic to-go cups that I really like. The stainless steel ones make the coffee taste funny to me. I’m now saving a ton of money without my daily starbucks stop, even though I downgraded to just coffee a long, long time ago. (their lattes? now taste like dishwater. ugh.)
(I originally wrote the title as “Our new coffee maker is saving US money” but it’s not because MD really really really likes those expensive pre-packaged cups. Even though we swore we wouldn’t use them when we bought the damn thing. I think we’re weaning him off them and thankfully he only drinks coffee when it’s cold out.)
This really isn’t that notable except that it’s represents a huge shift in our thinking about money. It’s take us a couple of years to move beyond what I think of as a binge/purge model of spending, and actual budgeting is what has gotten us here. When we went into credit counseling 2 years ago, we had to read through a lot of information about budgeting, saving, and spending. None of it was really new that information – don’t spend more than you make, dumbass! BUT. That refresher course combined with taking the leap and getting rid of 90% of our credit cards (all but 1 of the ones in my name, and that one is cancelled now too – MD has 2 store cards in his name) and moving to a cash-based spending plan somehow reset our attitudes towards money and while we still have our slip ups, we’re in a much healthier place.
Let me illustrate:
- MD and/or I realize OMG WE HAVE NO MONEY PANIC PANIC PANIC and freeze all spending
- Eventually we need food/clothing or OMG shiny that cool thing that we totally deserve b/c we’ve been “so good.”
- But money? Do we have any money? We have no idea so hey, use the CREDIT CARD. Just on this one thing…
- Ahhhh…spendy coma…
- …the bills arrive…
- OMG WE HAVE NO MONEY PANIC PANIC PANIC
THE NEW MODEL (most of the time)
- Money comes in
- We put money in savings
- We pay bills
- We grocery shop
- We assess what we have left over
- We assess what our needs are
- We spend/save the rest accordingly
Earth-shattering, right? Our needs can range from shoes for Jamie or clothes for any of us or even something fun like, say, a relatively inexpensive dinner out for the family or a trip to the movies. Or perhaps this is the month to stock up at the warehouse store or TJs or T@rget. Of course the one wrinkle is we’re still fragile financially so there’s a risk in actually spending this money but it’s a balancing act.
Actually, thinking about this, working on our mortgage workout (over and over again) last year is what made it “ok” for us to spend money on luxuries. They have categories for those types of things on the budget form – down to alcohol, cigarettes (MD STILL smokes), hobbies, etc. I’ll never forget seeing cigarettes on the form and it finally hitting me – budgets are based on reality, warts and all.
Anyway, back to the coffee maker. We saw that the machine we wanted was on sale where one of MD’s store cards is. His card had a small balance on it. We went to the store, paid off the balance, bought the machine, went home and immediately scheduled a payment for a chunk of what we had just spent. Voila – responsible spending!
Depending on what happens in the next month or so, we may be putting this method to use to improve our current living space or to make a new one work for us…stay tuned.