I like New Year’s resolutions.
I’ve made them for a very long time. Probably since high school, if not before.
You may have picked up on this over the years, but I’m a planner. Since life isn’t allowing me to plan all that much any more, resolutions give my little planner sensibility some joy.
I have several for this year.
A couple of days ago I wrote about our Christmas card prayers resolution. That one is at the top of my list. I also mentioned I’d like to memorize Hebrews 11 to grow my faith regardless of what comes in 2019. And we’re going to start allowances for the kids. I’d love your thoughts on how you do it. My friend shared a great idea about making the allowance what they earn for working hard at school (behaving, trying, not just making As which is harder for some than others). We’d like to roll that out this month. Of course, I’m going to try to eat healthy and work out but I’m not really amping that up until February (this month is a Disney trip AND a trial – I can be realistic).
So what’s the big resolution for 2019?
Or rather, less spending.
You see, I like to spend. My husband likes to save. It reminds me of that nursery rhyme: Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, and so between the both of them they licked the platter clean.
My best friend called before Christmas to discuss her own spending concerns. She and I can be emotional spenders. Good things, bad things, unexpected things, and off we go. In her case, she’s just an extraordinarily generous person too. SO not only is she buying things for herself, she’s buying for others.
In my case, it’s an assortment. One, I buy everything for our family. Clothes, shoes, sports gear and registrations, etc. It all goes on my credit card. And I just haven’t thought to plan spending out with my husband. Yes, that’s terrible. Especially since we’ve been married over 12 years.
In addition, I’ve mentioned we didn’t have much growing up. We went from having a little to having less than a little after my parents divorced. There were some affluent folks in my high school and I was getting hand-me-downs from my mom’s friends (which I’m utterly grateful for, but you understand).
There’s still a piece of me that cares. A piece that wants my kids to have what I didn’t have. It’s what I’ve battled for decades now. I get better but then slip again.
My friend is the same way. A combination of emotional spending, “we can afford it,” and “we want better for our kids,” has resulted in unwise spending habits that ramped up this fall for us both.
A while back, she and I went on a spending freeze for Lent. But we agreed we needed to go longer this time. To truly form better spending habits. It takes a while to retrain your brain. Plus, we need to stop and think about everything we buy before just clicking “buy” on-line (how much HARDER has on-line shopping made it for all of us who tend to spend emotionally???).
So from January 1st to March 31st, we have implemented a “discretionary” spending freeze. Gas, groceries, shoes when the kids grow out of them, or birthday party presents are all acceptable. If we’re unclear about whether it falls in “discretionary,” we’re talking to each other and our spouses. Both of our hubbies have been consulted and I’m sure are more grateful than anything.
There’s a lot of grace we have with each other. I already talked with her about our Disney trip and how we always let the kids select one memento of their trip. That’s in the “safe to buy” and “thought and budgeted in advance” category.
As she and I talked, one thing she highlighted was how the biggest benefit is that this promise is making her stop and think first. We are thinking through each thing we purchase and vetting it through the “discretionary” lens. This mindfulness, if executed well over three months, will hopefully continue for years to come.
Of course we’ll enjoy discretionary things again. But sometimes, the best way to keep something from getting to be a bigger problem is just to stop it cold in its tracks. So that’s what we’re doing.
And if last year is any indication, I do quite well when I have an accountability buddy. I was working out this morning with my accountability buddy from last January’s work out resolution. You need someone in it with you.
Of course now, I’ve got this whole public accountability thing going to. So there’s that!
How about you? Resolutions? If yes, what are they? I’d love to hear!