Shopping on a budget can be fun!

We recently went on a BIG shopping trip. It was one of those trips where you pile all the bags on your counter when you get home. A trip that could have been overwhelming. With a budget, we found that neither of us felt bad after a day of shopping. I was tired, but not feeling remorseful about the purchases.

Bryan used to have anxiety about spending any amount of money on clothes or shoes. He’d always cringe when the total came up or decide not to buy something. I was used to the back-to-school shopping totals and expect a day of shopping to add up. I didn’t have anxiety, but have always wished I had some quality shoes yet never wanted to spend the money on them. We’ve been living deliberately for a while now. Telling our money where to go instead of looking back and wondering where it all went.

Last month I had money for maternity clothes and couldn’t find anything. After trying very hard, I decided to buy a pair of shoes that I had wanted for over a year. When spending money randomly, I had never wanted to put up the money. I felt guilty even thinking about it. Since I had built it into the budget, I decided shoes was where I wanted to put my money. I think I love those shoes even more that I get to enjoy them completely guilt-free!

This month we had a lot of birthday and baby shower gifts along with clothes for Bryan and I. We set out for a day of shopping with our list and amounts on-hand. We walked away from a Target trip having spent a lot of money, but realized that only $36 was our “blow money” for household / random items. Normally, that kind of trip would have caused major anxiety for Bryan and he would have wanted to eliminate any more purchases. Instead, we ticked off the items on our list and set out for the mall to buy things for us. As the day went along, we tallied our purchases up in our head and always knew how much we each had left in our allotment. I couldn’t find the maternity clothes I was looking for so I used up the last of my clothing budget on the boy’s bathroom. {Hey unborn boy! I’m decorating your bathroom. It’ll be done when you get here.}

Like I said, it was an awesome feeling to go home that night and have accomplished so much. We bought all the gifts in one stop. We had already planned out the month for spending so we were able to be prepared for the birthdays and showers. {I’m usually the one who buys the gift last minute.} We splurged on ourselves and each got things that we had been wanting. And we came home with extra stuff that wasn’t planned but was included in the budget!

A week later, we have no remorse about our big day of spending. We laughed that our checking account saw more action in one day than it does in most months. But, it was money we had and we don’t miss it! Some months Bryan says he feels constrained by creating and tracking our budget. After our shopping experience, he decided that it’s well worth it! Because our spending habits don’t change much from month-to-month, he doesn’t have a lot of tracking to do but we like to see if we’re staying consistent with things like household items, eating out, and groceries. We haven’t gotten it perfect yet.  Every month we go over in one account and way under in another and never spend all the money we thought we would, so we’ve got some room to grow when it comes to creating a realistic budget. But, we both like the leg room that we have to do that and consider it a win if we don’t spend all the money. That extra money either goes into general savings or towards one of our major goals and that is definitely a good thing!

I may have to turn people down or not eat out as much as my lazy self would like, but in the end it’s much better to make your money work for you instead of working for more of it! I was amazed at how much money “disappeared” before we started tracking it. Even when we thought we were being more considerate of money, we still wasted a lot of it on things that we don’t even know. I’m fearful that most of that money was consumed by way of food and drink. We’ve learned that we can live whatever kind of life we want to live, we just need to plan for that way.

It’s a family philosophy to not get carried away or swept up in material things. This family grows on love and affection, not possessions. But, we both agree that spending money on possessions is much more enjoyable when you weigh the benefits of giving away your money versus the value of having the item. It’s less about blind purchases and much more about need and enjoyment. Following a budget can be fun! Our family will be sporting new Iowa State gear this fall to prove it! 🙂

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Shopping on a budget can be fun!

3 thoughts on “Shopping on a budget can be fun!

  1. This post is a good reminder to GET BACK ON BUDGET. Gah. Some weeks are better than others. *sigh* But you’re right, making your money work instead of working for it seems like the best plan.

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    1. You are totally right, Sarah. Some weeks (or days) are much better than others. The planning really helped us make it a successful shopping trip and it was needed since we were going out of town and making a day of it. We could have gotten really carried away and then been mad at ourselves after we totaled the money up. We have realized that what we want and need aren’t always the same things when we have to really think about it. I think that’s why most months we don’t use up all the money we thought we would. Keep up the good work! Every little bit counts so be proud of what you can do!

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