Now that we've had our celebratory burst of spending, it's time to get back to the budgeting business.
My husband's new job includes a not-too-shabby raise. While I'd never want to return to the salaries of our early days, living above our means then was not an issue.
We simply didn't have extra to spend! The added fat in the new paycheck requires a little more self control.
Here's my plan:
1. Automatically deposit in savings the "raise money" in each paycheck. Pretend it's not there.
2. Now that we are on a 12-month pay schedule, save the 3rd paycheck during those 2 extra months.
3. Put a one-year moratorium on all purchases over $300, unless they are emergency needs.
4. Accumulate change in the giant jar for a trip to the Smoky Mountains next spring. Don't consider vacation spending anything other than a luxury.
5. Delay one more year any subscription-based services, such as cable internet, tv, upgraded phone or memberships. If we can continue to live without these, the temptation to splurge now will pass.
6. Deposit all insurance checks into savings, rather than replenishing the checking account. Our insurance requires that we pay for prescriptions out of pocket, so banking those rebate checks is a painless way to save. Also, it reminds us of the true cost of health problems, strengthening our desire to eat well and exercise.
I hope these choices don't make our life seem too spartan. How else will we fight the tendency to elevate our lifestyle with each pay raise?