An anniversary, two birthdays, a reworked knee (and physical therapy’d) knee or a culinary tour of New York could all find ways to wreak havoc on a budget. Combine them all together, and, well, the past two months have not been pretty when it’s come time for me to sit down and balance the Modern Family budget. Let’s just say, balance has yet to be restored.
As the daughter of a woman who is very good at short-term budgeting and bill paying and a man who is very good at investing and long-term financial planning, I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to money. When the word “marriage” first entered conversations between the Modern Love Machine and me, I immediately put him on a budget. We’ve been on a combined budget ever since we moved in together, keeping track of every last receipt and squirreling away cash for future plans and expenses.
But even I like to take a little bit of a vacation from my money-themed OCD tendencies from time to time, and this year that mood struck at just the wrong time. I almost had a panic attack just thinking about totaling up all of our aforementioned expenses, even though it did not turn out to be quite as bad as I expected.
Still, to stop the bleeding of savings, I’ve declared this month to be Austerity August. It comes with its own Twitter hashtag (ahem, #AusterityAugust) and logo (see image above, courtesy of Edward Ruscha and MoMA). There will be no impulsive clothes shopping, no Orla Kiely iPad case, no afternoon fountain Diet Cokes from the cafe at work, fewer beers, no home decor, no fancy camera gadgets, etc. These are all things I have desperately wanted to buy in the past week, but have managed to talk myself out of.
It almost feels like going on a diet. I’ve got to cut the calories out of my spending, so I’m restricting myself a bit and pledging to be smarter about my decisions. Coincidentally (or not), I have been a little lax with my eating habits in the past two months too, so #AusterityAugust is coinciding with a ramped-up workout schedule and the return of Weight Watchers points tracking. The Salty Pimp ice cream cone and Red Rooster fried chicken were not so kind to my waistline.
There’s probably some sort of aphorism or platitude in how diet and spending correlate. A penny saved is a fudge sundae earned? A fool and his money are soon obese and diabetic? Man does not live by credit card alone? I’ll get back to you on this.