Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Chair That Almost Blew Our Budget For The Month

A couple of weeks ago, my mom told me about this super cute chair that she found in Kirkland's. She knew I would love it and texted me immediately with a couple of photos. The price was $149, and it did match my couch perfectly with its colorful fabric in a mustard yellow tone. She called the store in San Marcos, which was the closest one to me, and they confirmed they had two in stock. I did think is was incredibly cute and I really wanted it. The problem was that I really didn't need it. I told mom, "That's not really in our budget for the month!"

I spent all weekend thinking about that chair. I had baked over 150 cookies and brownies for an Austin Bakes for West fundraiser that Friday night, and didn't have time to go to the Kirkland's in San Marcos. I kept busy all day Saturday working on The Little Red Journal site, and I worked some more the next morning. I  really didn't want to crack, because this is kind of my weakness. Before we had a budget, I would buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. This isn't that easy anymore. We're paying $1,000 a month on my husband's student loans, and a $150 purchase can definitely toss a tight budget off kilter. 

After meeting up with some friends for lunch, I was headed to the bookstore to pick up a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad for a friend who's interested in eating more vegan meals. Before I arrived at the bookstore, I made a last-minute decision and turned into the parking lot for HomeGoods. I sighed heavily, and grabbed my purse to head in to the store. I knew I shouldn't be there. I hate to compare this to a serious addiction like drugs or alcohol, but I definitely felt jittery walking in there. I knew this wouldn't fit in to the budget and I had worked so hard to get rid of so many things lately while embracing minimalism. 

I took a look around, checked out the furniture, but didn't see anything that I loved as much as I did that chair mom had told me about. I shrugged my shoulders and hauled ass out of the there. If I hadn't left immediately, I would have found some small thing to look at and convince myself that I needed it. Once I had my first "real job" about five years ago, this would be a frequent event for me. Even growing up, I still remember piling into the car with my mom and grandma and heading for the mall. We didn't really need anything, but it was something that I learned to do to pass the time. (Bored? Go shopping!) So even though I didn't purchase anything that day, it is still very much something that I battle with. 

For now, our budget was safe. I'm sharing this with all of you because even though it is easy for me to donate, it's tough for me to stop spending. Don't get me wrong -- I haven't purchased anything like that in a long, long time, but I almost cracked and did. Walking out of that store felt amazing and I headed to the bookstore next. After picking up the book, I headed to my friend's house and noticed she was cleaning out her garage. I left her house and realized that I also should be cleaning out a few more things from our apartment. 

I've been so happy letting things go, and need to remind myself why I'm doing this. It's not a contest to see how little I can live with, but a true restructuring of our finances to work towards the goals we have in mind. That's why I found myself searching for "minimalist parenting" blogs when I arrived back at our apartment, even though we don't have a kid yet. I'm doing this now so that we can become parents sooner rather than later. And it's all a part of our bigger plan to pay off the debt and start living the life we really want. Don't use the "I deserve it," phrase, because what I deserve more than a chair is some peace of mind in our finances and think about growing our family.

The Infamous Chair

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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