In our household, the tasks of balancing the checkbook and paying bills fall to me. Just worked out that way, which is a nicer way to say that my husband never balanced a checkbook in his life.
Managing our money feels like a game of Red Light, Green Light. When I watch it, our money stays put. Our spending is reasonable and I am comfortable with our savings. When I look away, the money runs like mad out the door.
A few months ago, partly because I was busy and partly because paperwork is soooo tedious, I stopped paying attention to our money. And boy, does it show.
We’ve paid our bills (I have not been completely negligent), but when we planned our summer vacation, instead of looking to see what we could afford, we just sort of went for it. Ditto with a few home improvement projects.
As the months passed, and our spending increased, avoiding our financial picture became something I did out of fear. I didn’t want to know how much we had spent, so I didn’t look. And I didn’t look. And oh, look over there at that thing we want to buy!
Yesterday, I looked. What I saw depressed me. We can still pay our mortgage (and for that I have thanked my lucky stars daily for the past three years), but our savings have dwindled. If you knew how much money we spent in restaurants this summer, you’d think we don’t have a kitchen.
Anyway, it’s good that my eyes are open again, even if I don’t like what I see. And if you happen to see me walking toward a restaurant, please tell me to go home and make a sandwich.