Today I logged onto my bank account in the country that we used to live in and the balance was positive! OMG it is positive! I saw a little plus next to the balance and the little plus next to the savings account and I wanted to scream with joy! This is monumental for me because we moved 2 years ago this week (hello moving anniversary) and it’s the first time our bank account has been in the positive in said country in those two years. We even have 3 months of my spouse’s student loan payments to spare, sitting there, collecting dust. Even though I could easily allocate this amount to other debt and therefore, reduce our interest rate costs, the mere fact that I don’t have to come up with an additional XXX amount every month for the next 3 months is stress-relieving. I’m willing to pay a small amount of interest for that stress reduction.
This doesn’t mean that we are out of debt (no we are definitely not out of debt), but it does mean that we have stopped paying interest on this account. While the interest wasn’t a lot, I am still glad that for that account, it is over.
We’ve also purchased a bunch of things that I wanted to write down here because I think I’ve been really struggling with the what’s really a good thing to spend on. So I decided to create a stop-light spending schema for myself. Of course, I picked the stoplights from East Berlin! Green means good spend and Red means not so happy thoughts.
- A new bed. We spent a lot on a new bed, about 2* our monthly rent. But, I have stopped getting massages and my partner’s back pain has gone after replacing our very old bed (>13 years old) with a natural latex mattress. Even though this is pricey, I think its a really good spend. This gets the little green man.
- A trip to see my parents in North America. We spent a lot flying to and traveling in North America to see my folks. I see them once a year (or I try). My spouse hadn’t been to see them with me for 3 years before this trip. We spent about 2.5 * our monthly rent on traveling and visiting my family. The problem with living far away is that you feel inclined to go for a long time and I don’t really feel like I had vacation. I have mixed feelings about this spend. How much do you spend traveling to see your family in a year? While this wasn’t the best of feelings all the time, I think this is a good spend. This also gets the little green man.
- A pressure canner (used)! I found a pressure canner when I was home that can be used to make anything, including our own canned tomatoes, tuna, canned fruit and veg, etc. This spend relates to my Brexit emergency food plan. It was a really good deal, with the major cost being shipping it back to the U.K.. This also gets the little green man.
- A bunch of for the home-shit. I bought two new vitra stools for beside the new bed for books and a sheepskin after looking online for weeks trying to find something that I liked and would fit the space. I found nothing. I may return the sheepskin. The sheepskin seems ridiculous but also likely to last a long time and is not “trendy”. Similarly, I don’t feel badly about the stools and I also care that they are vitra. Our house is mostly furnished with second hand things and my spouse’s parents’ old furniture. These in addition to the bed and our treadmill is the only furniture we have purchased new since we married 4 years ago. All our other furniture we had before. This also gets the little green man, with the exception of the sheepskin that I am on the fence about.
- A bunch of clothes. This is where I feel like I failed. I bought a new little black dress (LBD)- a wrap dress, which is perfect for everything and can be dressed up and dressed down. I will keep this. I returned another dress that I didn’t like, also from the same store. I also bought boots, undergarment for the dress, and another dress in case one of the other two didn’t work. I will return all of these other things, I think, except the undergarment. This is definitely a not so good feeling, with the exception of the black wrap dress. Too much money on clothes. I also read this post by Tread Lightly, Retire Early. Clothes shopping seems definitely a no good, Red man spend, most of the time.
Other than this, there was not a lot of discretionary spending but some for sure. I tried to think of a method to my madness and I came up with the following rules. It almost reads like a computer function:
Do I love it?
Will I use it/wear it often?
Will it last for a long time (think 10 years) and be appropriate then?
If yes -> green light,
If no -> red light
Memories, I think, last for a long time and so our trip will be covered under this. The boots and sheepskin, maybe the latter but not the former, so they go back. The LBD, the bed, and the stools – yes, definitely.
How do you decide what you like (and don’t like) in your spending? Would a Green/Red traffic-light system work for you?