Do you ever find yourself saying, "If wish I had _________." You can fill in the blank with whatever you want: a bigger house, a Coach purse, a YMCA membership, a cleaning lady, etc. I know I've said that statement many times.
Shortly after I had Little Man & became a SAHM (stay-at-home mom), I decided I really wanted a Y membership. Not only to get in shape (which is TERRIBLY needed), but also for social reasons. Most of my friends have Y memberships & it's almost expected that everyone should have a membership. We could meet up, work out, take a Zumba class together, then grab our kids from childcare & head home. Sounds like a great morning routine to me.
One tiny problem - we simply cannot afford it. It's $71/month for a Adult/Dependent (read: Mommy & Child) membership at my local Y. That doesn't seem like that much money to some people, but we just don't have that extra in our monthly budget. Sure, I could sign up & pay for it each month, then put one week's worth of groceries on the credit card in its place. But what happens when the credit card bill arrives? We still don't have the money to pay for it in full. I know this is what lots of people do, but we have made a conscious decision to stop living like that.
Is it fun? Honestly, no. I would love to hop in the car each morning & spend some "me" time at the Y. My rear end would thank me. However, what does feel good is not having the stress of added consumer debt and working to pay off the small amount we have. So, I'm exhibiting a bit of self-denial in order to live like you should by paying for things when you have the money for it. It's just not smart to pay for this month's expenses with next month's money (even though we've lived like that before). What happens if next month's money doesn't come through? You're in trouble.
My point is, let's stop "keeping up with the Joneses" and start living within your own means. As Dave Ramsey would say, "Act your wage." Be content with what you have. No, you may not have all your "wants", but you probably have all your "needs". And you still have SO MUCH MORE than so many others around the world. Of course, that's an entirely different blog post...
Please don't think I'm perfect and always content. I'll tell you right now that I'm not. I was at my Bunco group tonight and everyone was talking about the classes they had attended this week together at the Y. Oh how I longed to be a part of that conversation (mostly so my thighs don't jiggle so much). However, I am choosing to be content with what I have, while working to achieve our goals. But you can bet that as soon as our debts are paid and we have an expendable $71 each month, I'll be at the Y!