I think my credit cards are smoking right now. There has been a lot of spending over the past week. Planned spending, but still. Those credit card rewards are going to look awesome this month!
Seriously though, I did some re-thinking about my spending. And maybe I chose the “fun” route over the practical route. But I think it’s worth it.
So what did I buy? Well, when I bought my house, I set aside some money to have a new fence put in around the backyard. I have a fence now, but it’s pretty old (or at least old looking) and a number of the boards have cracked and warped. The gates don’t close securely, and they absolutely wouldn’t keep a dog secured. This isn’t an issue now, as I don’t have a dog. But the thinking was now that I have a house, I can get a new fence and then get a dog.
Then reality set in. Yes, dogs are expensive, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue is time. With work alone, I leave the house before 7 am and am home sometime between 5:30 and 6. That’s a long day for a dog to be alone. Sure, many people have dogs and they do just fine with a schedule like this. But I don’t know that I want to introduce a dog to that situation. Plus I’m enjoying being able to just head out on the weekends and do whatever I want. The cats? Sure, they like it when I’m around, but even when I am home during the day, they’re just off sleeping somewhere or watching the birds and the squirrels. They are less concerned about my schedule (plus they would hate me if I got a dog).
So I decided to wait on the fence. Even without a dog, it’s something that will need to be done, but it’s suddenly less urgent.
What did I buy instead? A treadmill. And a bike.
Both are things that I have wanted for some time. I run a lot, and I know that people say “Oh, that treadmill will become a coatrack in no time.” But given that I have trained for spring half-marathons the past two years at the gym and run ten mile training runs on the treadmill both years, I think that the treadmill is probably an excellent purchase. The bike is something new, but it’s an activity that I’ve wanted to take up for a while. I love being outside and I love being active, and I wanted some sort of cross-training to compliment my running (and I kind of want to do a triathlon, but that’s another story). So the bike makes sense. It’s going to take some work to get into biking shape, but I’m looking forward to it. And like the treadmill, I can use it inside – I just have to buy a trainer and get it set up for the winter. With these two purchases, I have already canceled my gym membership, which isn’t a huge amount of savings, comparatively speaking, but it’s something.
So I’m excited. I’ve already used the treadmill a few times thanks to the record heat (9 miles this past weekend) and I’m going on a long bike ride tonight with a friend. Should be fun.
But those poor credit cards. (And don’t worry – they’ll get paid in full like always.)
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.