Today was a success! My brain feels a bit let mushy. The dishes have all been washed and NO SPEND number 4 for the year is done.
Last nite I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio during my drive home from work. A lady with a household income of over $450,000 a year called in to ask about a good way to pay off her mortgage faster. At one point she tried to justify not having much money left over at the end of the month once all the "necessities" had been taken care of. Dave basically laughed at her and then told her she was spoiled rotten. He said something along the lines of, I don't care what your expenses are you should have A LOT left over on that kind of income. Dave is VERY wealthy so he was not making fun of her for being rich but he was slightly disgusted that she was trying to prioritize obvious wasteful spending over paying off her house... that was her goal after all.
It got me to thinking about frugality. This year I've really been enjoying "trying" to spend as little as possible. During 2010 when I first did my "not buying stuff" exercise I really enjoyed (after the first few months) not acquiring things. Now that I've finally accepted that we really do need an emergency fund, yes it only took three years to come to terms with this, I'm excited about having real money in the bank to pay for visits from Murphy. At this point in the journey I like to think that after the debts are gone, after the house is paid for, after we're living in entirely different circumstances I'll still be smart with money, frugal even.
Our income for 2012 will most likely be under $50,000. It's tax time so the actual numbers for 2012 will be in anytime. But if we didn't have any debt, or a car payment, or the equity line, I'll just consider that a mortgage is normal so I won't rule that out, Oh my goodness we'd be rich. Seriously we'd have more money each month than we'd know what to do with. The thing is that no matter what your circumstances are you get used to a standard of living. That lady on the radio is used to a $450,000 standard of living (probably they spend more than that each year). We're pretty acclimated to about $37,000 a year to live off of (once the debt payments have gone out each month). An extra $13,000 a year to spend however we'd like would be absurd, but that's what we're actually making. That's what we're actually paying to creditors.
More and more I'm falling in love with the idea of frugal living, responsible thought out spending, and making your money matter. The pennies add up. The $2, $5, $13 here and there can take a person from a $37,000 lifestyle to $50,000 in a heart beat. You have to think about where those pennies are going. I'm not poor but I do want to be responsible with my pennies.