Sunday, March 21, 2010

checkbook hemmorhage*

Every time I balance my checkbook -- which is a very frequent occurrence -- I get shaky. I hate to see how much we spend and on what we've chosen to spend our money. The balancing part is good for me because it does something to help me curb our spending. And, really, we've gotten incredibly better about our spending in our years together. We eat out less (this has been true of the last six or so years, but when we first got together, we ate out a lot). We cook more from scratch (this comes about because of my ever-growing interest in making food and growing my abilities in the kitchen). However, most of our unnecessary spending is from eating out. Not at sit-down restaurants, but just stopping by HoB or My Favorite Muffin at least once a week. Ugh. Okay, not "ugh" regarding either of those places, just "ugh" that we do that. And, I wouldn't feel so badly about that, were it not for the other food spending we did in the last week.

Cardo and I went on a date on Friday! I love to have some time for just the two of us to spend together (even though Pic is present in our conversations), but we're not good at the whole dating on the cheap thing. We always end up going out to eat and I'm never really satisfied by what we choose. I leave feeling that we've spent too much and that I've eaten too unhealthily. So, I proposed that for our next date (I can dream, right?), we cook dinner at home and then go to a local place for an open mic night. No, we won't be performing anything, but we can hang out and be entertained for the price of a cup of coffee or hot chocolate (or iced tea as the weather warms). Actually, we are just so wonderfully boring that once last year, during a date, Cardo asked me what I wanted to do and I told him that I wanted to walk in the park (just like we do multiple times a week). So, we did. So, we could make dinner at home and then go hang out outside, down by the river or at one of the parks. We are pretty laid-back.

Okay, the money from last Friday as been spent. I hope we've learned our lesson. (Actually, I don't know if Cardo even minds the money we spent in the way that I do. He tends to not worry about *anything* the way I do. And, we did go to the movies, which ended up being something we both liked. We bought our tickets from Costco, saving ourselves some money there and I waited to hit up the grocery store after the movie for my dessert because there's no way I'm paying cinema prices for their popcorn, candies or drinks.)

Any other date night suggestions for us?

As for the money thing? The getting shaky upon balancing the checkbook thing? I hope this goes away. I've been an adult for enough years now that I feel silly feeling this way, yet here it is. I often figuratively step back and think, "Life is definitely not long enough to worry about this ALL THE TIME." And I take a breath. Then, though, I think, "Yeah, that's true, but bills must be paid. Debt must be repaid." It's not the bills or the debt that I mind. I might be weird, but I really don't mind paying what I owe. I just would like to have a bit left over when those bills and that debt are paid. I'd like to have a savings account. (Ah, Savings, how I dream of you.) I'm still hoping this year ends better for us, financially, than it has started. Included in this hope is that we will be even more responsible with our money at the end of the year than we are now. It's been a shamefully long time since I've even undertaken actually balancing our checkbook (because, hello, I can check the balance every second of every day as long as I've interweb access), but I find the practice helpful.

I'd love to hear how others of you successfully budget. Please.


* Yes, that's spelled correctly. I looked it up to make sure. It just looks so, so incredibly strange.