Friday, January 16, 2015

Frugality Sucks and Its Really Hard to Keep To The Plan

As I've posted in recent weeks, I've been trying to find ways to lower expenses and save money in a financial situation where I am not making as much as I have been in the past few years. A couple of nights ago, the weight of my goal hit me squarely in the face when I found myself re-routed due to train construction. 

Fast track was happening on the 6-train and the re-routing would have consisted on taking an express bus from 125th Street to Hunts Point Avenue, just to get off the bus to take the train to my stop to HOPEFULLY catch my bus before it stops running for the night. Yes, it is just as convoluted as it sounds. And time consuming to boot especially since I was working an opening shift the next morning after a closing shift. The other option is to take the express bus that leaves me four blocks from my house. Now here is where I realize what I am trying to accomplish with my frugality and how my life has truly changed since my bar days.

In years past I wouldn't have even given a second thought of catching a cab home from 125th Street, or dropping the $6 bucks for the express bus. Hell, I would have sat at the Live Bait Bar on 23rd Street and had a couple of cocktails while waiting for the scheduled bus to arrive. Instead I stood at the bus stop 20 minutes dreading having to spend 2+ rides worth of Metrocard rides on one ride. That's to the degree that I am trying to maintain a budget. Unfortunately, the unlimited ride Metrocards don't work on the express buses. Now, luckily I got home no later that I would have if the train and bus were working normally. But I guess after a busy shift at work, walking to the express bus from Union Square and walking the four blocks home from the stop on Bruckner Boulevard, I was much more tired than I thought. To the degree that I woke up the next morning feeling like a truck hit me and I felt as if I was hungover at work without having done any drinking. So what keeps me from coming off the rails and spending money in ways I shouldn't? Routine.

I stick to the plan by maintaining a strict routine. I don't carry any of my credit cards to avoid the temptation of sitting in a bar (I'll go into this in a later post), spending money while waiting for the bus or using them to shell out for a cab ride. I don't carry any cash so that I don't spend any money frivolous manner. What I do maintain as a part of the routine is a journal. I have one journal that keeps track of earnings and spending. I have a second one called Building the Best You: A Two-Year Discovery Journal by Caroline Harper. Here is how the journal is described:
How can you become the person you’ve always dreamt of being? Personal transformation begins when you take stock of where you are and what you’re doing right now…and work to change it. And with this two-year self-discovery journal, based on the tenets of Positive Psychology, you’ll not only see results from year-to-year or even month-to-month; an amazing difference is visible day-to-day. All you have to do is answer some basic questions and take five minutes of “focus time” daily to get there. Best of all, charting your entries is an affirmative experience, because you’re responding to queries like “What am I grateful for today?”, “What challenged me?”, and “How can I overcome that challenge?” It highlights the courage, joy, hope, forgiveness, and love that live inside you.
The unique and attractive design places year one and year two questions in two side-by-side columns, so you can easily compare answers, notice patterns, and celebrate how far you’ve come in only 12 months.   
The questions are very repetitive but the idea for me is to create my routine by maintaining my journal and putting what I feel to paper to avoid taking it with me to bed and carrying it over into the next day. My maintaining of a routine journal certainly helps with the budget aspect since I keep both journals together and if I update one, the other one reminds me to update the other. It also helps me realize that this journey isn't easy and many a sacrifice has to be made to reach the level where I want to be both financially and spiritually.

So I take the good days with the bad and keep rolling with the punches. It sucks but so can life sometimes. No? Ok, enough of the complaining. LOL. I go back to my efforts to save money in my next post in the form of using store circulars to save money on items that we need on a daily basis and to try and stock the pantry for a later date.

Until next time,

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