Well, the good news is that we did pretty well with Feb under our “new normal” budgeting process.

I was very proud of us and DH in particular, because our instances of eating out (a particular weakness for him) went from “every day” to only three times, and one of those three times was our wedding anniversary. The other two times were a cafeteria meal for him when bringing his lunch didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. Some folks will recall that I hit the roof a few months back when I learned he was spending amazing amounts of money somewhere. It turned out that most of that was spending on food, so last month’s challenge was to eat from home, every single day. I think we did pretty well given it was our first month on that new plan. I’m also pleased that we hit most of the rest of our goals too – I nailed all my categories in terms of expected vs actual spending, so that feels pretty good. Even came in under by a smidgen in a few. Haven’t seen DH’s numbers yet but at least now we’re starting to share information back and forth. As recently as early August I wasn’t sure that was ever going to happen.
The bad news is that we have a major blowup brewing this very morning, and the ridiculous part is that it’s unnecessary. At least I think it is. The couple from whom we bought our combine, is liquidating their entire collection of farm equipment, along with a bunch of other shop tools, household furniture, gun collection, hardware supplies, etc. That auction is this coming Saturday. If money were no object, DH and I could easily each spend several thousand $$$$ during that auction and come home feeling like it was Christmas morning. Ahh, but we can’t and we won’t and we’re already trying to figure out if we can spend anything there at all. The disagreement right now is two-fold; 1) whether to go to the auction at all, and 2) if we go, how much are we going to spend? Given our fragile financial situation, I’ve been tending to think we shouldn’t go at all. The thought of buying some really useful pieces of equipment, at pennies on the dollar, is certainly appealing. Appealing enough that I went ahead and prepared a “spending plan” just to see what the opportunities were, and if the long-term savings would justify the unexpected short-term expense. I should clarify here that this money would come out of a general savings fund which was earmarked for other stuff. So if we spent money on this auction, it won’t be available for those other anticipated future needs. (note to self; should start some kind of “liquidation/auction/estate sale sinking fund” for this type of situation!). After working the numbers, I’m actually OK with simply not going. Keep us from temptation, and we can buy the equipment we need, when money isn’t so scarce. DH, on the other hand, is stuck in the very uncomfortable place of knowing we shouldn’t spend money, yet wanting to anyway. More specifically, I can tell after being married for 12 years, that his inner kid very much wants to go that morning, with no plan in hand, and just spend whatever he wants to spend. He also wants to be able to spend for me, sweetheart that he is, particularly since it’s two days before my birthday. But that’s exactly the type of spending which has gotten us both into trouble in the past.
As prep for our planned meeting on this topic this weekend, I had a list of the items I’d be bidding on if we went, along with the minimum/maximum market values, and how high my bid price would go before I’d stop. His “plan” was to not have a plan – to just go that morning and see what he felt like. When we talked about it yesterday, I presented my plan, and said clearly several times that if we fundamentally don’t want to spend the money, then let’s just not go. He said maybe three sentences during the whole meeting, and they were all asking me to clarify some part of my own spending plan. But he didn’t say a darn thing about what he wanted, what his priorities were, what his concerns were, none of it. He just got more and more mad, and we ended up not making a decision. So, that’s hanging over us for the week. We’ll talk about it in our weekly marriage counseling session this Wednesday. I guess he has more to work out on this topic than I do, so I’ll just be the watch-n-wait person on this one. I just hope he arrives at a decision he can live with. I guess next Monday we’ll have our answers.
I was frustrated with this situation last night after the meeting, and again this morning. But I think now these are “growing pains” as we move away from who we used to be, towards who we want to be. Yea, there’s going to be some squirm factor as we run up against situations where our old selves are so sorely tempted to just “give in” and spend whatever we want. Hopefully this will be a good exercise in choosing not to go that route again, and instead making well-considered decisions, then sticking with them. So, perhaps folks can send us warm fuzzies of “resist temptation!” all week this week. We may need them.

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