1. I had a similar month! With the mini-retirement budget at an end and Chris starting his new job, I started spending… a lot. I went to Target and just threw stuff in my cart I thought would make life better without looking at the price tag. This included a toy: magnetic tiles. They are awesome and the girls play with them daily and I totally recommend it. But it wasn’t until I entered the receipt in our spending log that I saw that I paid $100 for those tiles! yikes (but totally worth it). I also splurged one day on the HGTV People’s magazine issue at Walgreens. I never buy magazines. Once again I didn’t even look at the price. Later I realized I paid $14 for that – NOT WORTH IT!

    When September 1st came around, I told Chris that I’m back to being frugal and disciplined on my spending. I saw a huge weight lifted from his face, haha. He had been supportive and kind in my spending without making be feel super guilty (what a nice guy). I even went shopping for a cute top to wear on a date out with friends this upcoming weekend. I bought a top at Anthropologie and was excited to show Chris. I told him he would be proud of me. I showed him the price tag ($98) and he almost cried – I was covering the marked down price, haha. Then I showed him I only paid $28! Best prank ever! I even grabbed some cute dish towels and decided to forgo buying them at checkout! He was very proud!

  2. The 3-paycheck month also triggered my spending muscles, especially because I’m working on the minimum spending requirement of a new credit card. I started out the month with good intentions for that extra paycheck, putting an extra $1500+ towards my mortgage (goodbye 3rd paycheck right there), but couldn’t stop swiping, for wants AND needs! I needed an oil change (hello new daily 70+ mile commute), and I needed 4 new tires (same new commute). I wanted a new golf bag, on sale, using Ebates and Honey. I bought some Lowe’s gift cards at 10% off for future home improvement work that is becoming desperately needed (I like buying the gift cards so I can slowly save up for a project like remodeling/repairing my master bathroom). I went golfing 5 times, and I ordered 108(!) refurbished golf balls on Overstock. In my zest for deals, I triggered a hoarder tendency that I didn’t know I had. And with FinCon on the horizon (ONLY 3 WEEKS!!!!!), September isn’t looking much cheaper, even if I don’t have some of those big one-off expenses like a set of tires or 4-figures towards the mortgage. It’s such a privilege to be able to make some sub-optimal spending choices and still be okay financially!

  3. I love this recalibration idea Penny. So necessary! I think my wife and I are in need of this with our budget too. Some things we have planned that just don’t get checked up on or have any follow through.

    Happy to hear your pay is back to 100%! That is always a good thing.

  4. My “allowance” budget got blown last month pretty big. Mostly Fincon airfare went on it, but with the room, food and drinks going on there later this month, it’s already way overspent again.

    Also, with me getting an unexpected 3 months of paychecks via the remote work gig, we were a little more free in our spending for the new place. Especially when we thought our house was sold, prior to the buyers financing falling through and it’s still for sale. Eesh… And we’re replacing our AC/Furnace tomorrow, so that’s another $8k we weren’t planning. That’s a little different but it’s still money out of our pockets we weren’t budgeting for.

    I find when I make overspending mistakes, I just recalibrate like you said and reign it in the next month or two until I get back to the norm. It just takes diligence and awareness and not being so flippant with my spending.

  5. “I firmly believe that purposeful spending is a muscle.”

    That is such a great quote. I’ve never thought of it like that but could not agree more. My purposeful spending muscle needs to do some weight training after a summer of spending a little too freely (so do my real muscles if we’re being honest.) I always find I’m hitting the reset button in September. We tend to go out more in summer which results in spending more money. Winter is for hibernating and saving. It’s a pattern I’ve learned to recognize over the years so now I actually set aside some ‘summer savings’ throughout the winter so I can allow myself the extra spending.

    PS. HP deserves all the blueberries 😉

  6. Hey Penny, this is a really great post! It initially gave me mixed feelings, but I’ve realised that what you said makes a lot of sense.

    My initial thought after reading your post for the first time, was this – Penny, aren’t you being too hard on yourself? You had a three-month paycheck, after all. You deserve to celebrate!

    But I spent some time thinking about what you said. That your life didn’t become drastically better. That you didn’t enjoy the past month any more than the previous months. And it became clear – your spending wasn’t purposeful, and therefore, recalibration was most certainly needed. “Little indulgence on top of little indulgence” is a scary thing. Spending creates a feedback loop that leads to more spending in the future. To spend is easy, but to be purposeful with every dollar is a challenging task. This is a great reminder to spend only when an equal amount of fulfilment is provided. Love this!

    And congratulations on having your pay reinstated in full 🙂

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