Saturday, August 1, 2015

Counting My Pennies

A combination of excessive spending, month-end recaps and accounting have me counting up all of my pennies this morning. And oh, what a lot of pennies there were to account for.

I have devoted my holiday to our home and invested my money in things that don't really show to the naked eye (or those who don't know what the "before" picture look like). But they matter.

A small bit of yard maintenance added to a bathroom touch up has equalled less than the money I spent on my more frivolous vacations this year.

Two days in Las Vegas + a five day trip to go East = seven days of frivolous spending.

I have had seven days of spending throughout this vacation at home. I have spent money each and every day. It felt like I spent a small fortune on my home maintenance and repair project, but as it turns out I have still spent less than the money spent on my gad-about trips.

I have no regrets. I did what felt right at the time. I followed some whims. I followed my heart. But this past week? My heart was happy and content right here at home.

Mom always said she had a very hard time coming to terms with spending money on a vacation. A trip comes and goes and you have nothing to show for it (I don't think pictures and memories matter that much to Mom when it comes to extravagant spending). She always said she could spend that same amount of money on their home and she could enjoy the benefit of that spending for years.

After my one week stay/work at home vacation, I am grasping what Mom has always felt and believed.

It has been thoroughly satisfying to putter away, aid and abet those I hired to do the hard work and see a small transformation in just a few areas within our house and yard.

The guy I hired to do my painting and other miscellaneous tasks was a salesman. He was telling me that what I was spending my money on was not increasing the value of our home. I couldn't seem to make him understand that I really couldn't care less about increasing the equity I have in our home.

For one thing, I don't have the kind of money it takes to do a full kitchen &/or bathroom reno. Nor do I have the time.

My goal was to increase the value of our home to me. The person who cleans, maintains and is responsible for it. I want to feel good about where we live. I simply want to live in a home where it looks like somebody cares.

I had one short week to do what I could, to inspire and motivate me to clean, repair and keep doing small things as I go along, instead of focusing on the overwhelming feeling of falling so far behind on everything house related.

I believe I have two good days of work I can do ahead of me. I don't need someone to hold my hand and carry me through. The heavy work is done. At least for the moment.

I really needed to be reminded of the fact that I can do hard things. I can putter away and make a small difference over a longer time period.

Yes, I still feel overwhelmed when I look at the "next" room. That hasn't changed substantially.

What has changed is the way I feel inside. Slow and steady gets you somewhere. Anywhere. Sometimes anywhere but where you are at is exactly where you need to be. Physically and mentally.

Using my body and mind has been invigorating. I haven't ran any marathons here. I have been working at a regulated pace. I seem to be spending an extraordinary amount of time making returns and repurchasing what I think we need.

My credit card will need a vacation after this holiday. Not from misuse. I haven't made any extravagant purchases, But the frequency of usage due to my slow and steady spending is wearing the numbers off my tired old card.

I stopped and tallied up my spending this morning. It felt like I was going to be in way over my head. But I'm not. I'm holding steady my break even point.

I haven't worried about the money as I go along. I seem to have a mental scale that keeps me from going overboard. When it starts tipping to far one way, I seem to reign myself in.

I have found myself putting that-which-is-not-necessary back on the shelf. Even after holding it and carrying it around for a while. Something sane and rational is happening within my subconscious mind. I seem to have this internal balance thing in check.

There have been times when I have spent money to fill a void. That isn't happening here. I am spending what is necessary. I have splurged by replacing that-which-was-still-serviceable with new and matching and a little bit pretty. At least to me.

It's been a great vacation. I still have three days ahead of me. I am almost at the point where my spending is done. Except I have one more return to make. And oh, if I just bought a can of paint so I could do some touch ups when time and energy allowed, maybe, just maybe, I could try and find a way to keep this ambition alive.

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