Living On A Prayer and Why I’m Ok With That

So, today I made a decision that is going to cost me money.

I decided to move to a new place, a bigger one, with higher ceilings, a living room, and an actual eat-in kitchen.

I’M AN ADULT!

It’s going to mean I have to budget a little more carefully, but you know what? I’m totally fine with that. In fact, part of me likes it. You know why? It’s a challenge.

I’ve been living off a budget my entire life. When I was a kid, my folks made a point to teach me that the things you want cost money and that money is sometimes a finite resource. It wasn’t just my parents teaching me this, either. It was a family affair. Both sets of grandparents taught me the value of being frugal through their example and even the fun of it. I remember¬†going to garage sales and auctions with my Nana when I was little or with my Mum and do you know what I learned as a kid? I learned that $20 may get me a new VHS, but that at a garage sale, $20 would get me multiple VHS.

For those of you who don’t know what VHS is: Google it and then slap yourself, just once, for me.

Living on a budget is kind of great for a couple of reasons: it forces you to be creative and it’s a measurable achievement.

I love both of those things.

There’s something immensely satisfying about setting out to do a thing and then doing it and budgeting is one of those things that has a really easy to measure outcome. Namely, your bank account balance. If it’s going up, you’re probably winning. If it’s going down, maybe it’s time to stop drinking out of that diamond studded chalice and reconsider your life choices.

I know I sound a bit like a super enthusiastic accountant or something, but I can’t help it. My parents have instilled in me a love of achieving things and a need for goals. It’s disgusting, I’m like an after-school special sometimes.

Story of my life.

One of my favourite ways to have fun within a budget is to bargain hunt. I’m…well, kind of ruthless when it comes to bargain hunting. Again, can’t help it, it runs in the blood.

One of my favourite things to do is to see how much I can do with a limited amount of money. When I recovered a chair for the first time (which I will be discussing soon in it’s own post) I had a lot of fun doing it. Not only did I enjoy learning something new, there was a bizarre sense of pride at the end of it. Not only did I make an old chair new again, I did it for a fraction of what a new chair would have cost me. Doing things like that give me a thrill like no other. Who needs heroin when I have DIY-ing?!

Pinterest is my drug of choice

I think part of the reason I kind of enjoy budgeting is that, it’s one of those things you have to have perspective on. I treat it like a game, so of course it’s fun. I was taught to treat it like a game from the get-go. In the words of Mary Poppins “You find the fun annnnnnnnnnd SNAP! The job’s a game!”.

You can do some pretty amazing things if you make doing things under a certain budget a game.

My Dad once bought a tractor at auction that some people laughed at. It had had an engine fire and was a hot burnt mess (until it cooled off and was a cooled off burnt mess). Dad rebuilt that engine from scratch. Sure it was hard work, but he enjoyed it more than he would have enjoyed sitting in front of the TV ( I know, he’s weird like that. He’s basically Ron Swanson but without the mustache because he can’t grow facial hair for reasons that probably have nothing to do with his misspent youth. I can’t remember, honestly). When all was said and done, he had a brand new tractor with no payments on it. I drove that thing through a lot of high school and it’s still working on the farm now.

My Mum learned how to recover a chair specifically so she could save her mother’s favourite chair from the cottage. To have it re-done by a professional would have been too expensive. By doing it herself, Mum not only ensured that she got to keep a piece of family history, she learned a new skill, learned a bit about how chairs were made way back when, and forged a deeper connection with a piece that already had a lot of meaning.

I love fried rice but can never justify spending the money to get Chinese take-out to get it (it would be less money if I picked up from nearby, but then I’d have to wear PANTS and go OUTSIDE and if I’m ordering out that’s a good sign it’s screw-those-things-o’clock). So I learned how to make fried rice, which it turns out, is insanely easy and quick and inexpensive.

Basically, what I’m saying is this: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching my parents, it’s that budgeting is about knowing the value not only of money, but about knowing the value of your time. Sometimes, doing something yourself isn’t just the cheaper way to do things, it’s the more valuable way. You learn things. Sometimes you learn about yourself, other times you learn a new skill.

As much as the extra money would have been nice, I’m ok with being forced to get a little more creative. Especially now that I’m going to have enough space to have a house party. FINALLY!

I think it’s going to have a theme, too. Something totally ridiculous. I’m not sure what, yet.

I guess I’ll have to get CREATIVE.

See? See what I did there? How I wrapped it all together with a single concept? Course you do. You’re smart. Wonderful, you are.

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Posted on March 27, 2015, in Random Life Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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