I've been busy lately – really busy. My husband is gone, I'm working a little over half-time, and one of my daughters has injured herself, requiring a crazy number of doctor's appointments. One of the glaring results of all this business is that I'm not watching my money as carefully as I should, and I'm not planning ahead to save money when I can. It's so frustrating
- Not planning my spending before it happens.
- Not reading sales ads to search for the best price.
- Not cutting coupons and taking advantage of stock-up sales.
- Not choosing budget-friendly meals.
- Not being prepared for things that happen, then spending more at the last minute because I'm not prepared.
I've been trying not to let this bother me, but it has been anyway.
Fortunately, I read this post at Leaving Excess: Is There A Secret to Consistantly Making Dinner at Home? Obviously, it was the title that originally pulled me in, but the meat of the response is truly great: We all have 24 hours in a day. Yes, you will need to make the most of those 24 hours in order to live a frugal life, but you can't do it all. When you add to your plate, something are going to have to go. Maybe it is OK to give up a little bit of sleep, or a little bit of quiet time, but basically any wholesale change in one direction is going to require a similarly sized change on the other end.
In my own case, doing the single-parent thing, working, and spending an inordinate amount of time in doctor's offices means that I'm not going to make it to CVS some weeks, and sometimes coupons aren't going to get used when I buy groceries. And that is OK!
More importantly, you can extend this to other areas of your life as well. Does it matter that your house isn't super clean? Not really. Maybe you didn't get the trash out last Tuesday? The trash will come again. Sometimes we just need to cut ourselves a little slack and realize that there's only so much one person can do.
An important factor in that is making sure that what you are doing is in line with your priorities. It is more important to me that my kids eat healthy meals than that I save money. It is also not worth it to me to spend our limited family time schlepping around to various grocery stores chasing deals. In that regard, I guess I'm doing well. And making sure that my actions are in line with my values is way more important than the bottom line.