There is a pull I feel as I watch my budgeted money drain from my account.

It lives underneath the relief, underneath the feeling of security, and it festers down there. It’s a pull to spend money. The only thing I can equate it to is how someone must feel when they just gave away a whole bunch of chocolate but can’t stop thinking about buying some to eat. It’s a weak analogy, for sure, but I want to do something nice and fun.

The thing is, whenever I *do* get a surprise from a lovely human being (it’s happened twice this week and I’ve been so beyond blessed) both people said to do something nice for myself and both times I used it on the kids. But that itch is there.

At least I’m self aware enough to know that when I tell you what I’m going to spend $30 on and splurge you’re going to laugh. My friend started selling Jamberry nail wraps and I want to support her in her new direct sales venture. I know it has to be tough for her to put in all that time and it would break my heart if her launch party wasn’t successful. She’s an introvert so this has to be tough for her. So I am going to buy a couple of the wraps from her because I’ve known her forever and would support her no matter what she was selling. (You, too, can support her if you like Jamberry nail wraps at http://shinynails.jamberrynails.net/shop ) I assume you’re laughing because even when I give in to spending money it’s something that will help someone else. I feel dumb sometimes that I really don’t think I know anymore how to do something that is JUST for me. I want the best value. The biggest bang for my buck. So why not buy something that benefits me and someone else instead of just buying something that benefits only me?

It feels wasteful.

Oh, I have a question for you. I was thinking about using the term “blessed” two paragraphs above and was on the fence because I’m not a particularly religious person and I certainly don’t identify as so religious that I would wish someone to “have a blessed day” or to every say the phrase “too blessed to be stressed” but I think that the term blessed has seeped into regular english as the feeling of being grateful but in a very specific way. So I’m using it here to represent a feeling rather than trying to say that God called these people to help. I don’t know if God called them to help, they didn’t tell me.

Now we are down to about a hundred left in the checking but I’m not worried because I finally have an emergency fund! That $1000 is going to just sit over there in the savings account. The next How We Spent It will happen on the 18th when Mr. Brickie gets his next unemployment check.

Unless he gets the call to get back to work before then! That would be our preference, obviously, because work pays a hell of a lot more than unemployment. The project he is slated to go to when the weather clears is downtown so he will be able to continue taking the train to work which is great for commuting expenses and keeping our “commuter car” from getting driven into the ground.

I know we made good decisions and I’m sure the deep, mildly uncomfortable feeling I have that sounds an awful lot like a little voice in my head screaming, “GO BUY YOUR KIDS EVERYTHING!” will pass soon.

Making good financial decisions is a mental muscle that needs to be worked out, worked on, and built up. No matter how strong you are, however, sometimes our muscles quiver and feel like they’re going to give out. I use this blog to keep me accountable. There is no shame in the light. I don’t hide my nail wrap purchase because I’m not ashamed I’m “wasting” that money because the support I’m giving my friend is worth more than money. I don’t do splurges like that often.

Oh! I meant to tell you about the STEAK I had. Neighbor Daughter watched my kids for a few hours and we used a gift certificate we were given for our anniversary to go to a steakhouse and have an amazing dining experience. It was so nice to sit with my husband and just talk about everything and nothing and joke about our kids messaging us on Skype the whole time we were gone. We are really lucky that we had someone watch our children for us on New Year’s Eve (New Year’s Day is our anniversary, so we try to get out on NYE so we’re celebrating on our anniversary every year!) and then again we were able to go out last night. Usually we get out and have a sitter about twice a year, so twice in two months is amazing for us!

Every time we are finally alone it’s a wonderful reminder that we really are part of a team and we are stronger than we were last year (and the year before that, and the year before that) and we are done sinking together and now it’s time for us to start rising together.

There is no one I would rather do this with.

Through all of this mess of finances and bad decisions and weird luck and everything else I’ve never lost sight of having some very important things money cannot buy. Having those things, I think, allowed me to keep my composure and resist the urge to become bitter and blame someone else (or the government, or the man, or the economy) but it has also made me so much more humble and that has allowed me to see the choices of others in a very different light.

People do not make poor decisions because they do not care. I really think everyone truly does the best they can with the information they have.

So the final chunk of money from the tax return will be gone when the landlord picks up his check on Monday and I will be able to throw away that post-it note (remind me sometime to show you what my “budget wall” looks like) and move on from all the old house stuff and start moving forward with traction to the next portion of our financial lives.

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