Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Living like a millionaire is easier if you hate to shop

I do not like to shop.

My mother, who also doesn't like to shop, and I are hilarious on the occasions when we do go shopping.  We walk in, arms folded, and scan the joint.  If it doesn't jump out and beg us to buy it, we leave empty-handed.  If it does jump out and beg us to buy it, it has to be on clearance or on sale to be granted the privilege of riding home in the car.

Some people enjoy the browsing.  Even if they have no intention of buying it, they will look at it.  They may very well look at everything.  I do not subscribe to this activity as being enjoyable.  If I have zero desire for it, I do not want to see it.

There are occasions when being a person who enjoys shopping would be great, like when I'm buying a gift for someone.  I am so darned practical it isn't funny.

A friend invited me to a Favorite Things party, in which you bring 3 of something you love to share with others.  I brought 3 bottles of hipster beer and 3 small hand sanitizers.  (I think there was something else, but I can't remember....maybe small packs of Kleenex?)

This is not to say that there aren't occasions when money seems to fly from my hands, but it is immediately followed by an austere saving period, when I don't want to buy anything.  It is like overloading on rich chocolate and then feeling sick and not wanting anything sweet to eat for a very long time.

After writing my last post about millionaire living, I was reminded how I have dropped the ball on a financial goal that D and I have had for a long time.  We've been in our house 15 years, and have refinanced our mortgage a couple times (to take advantage of when those interest rates were dropping like monsoon rain).  The last time we refinanced (at the end of 2011), we took a 15-year-mortgage and said our goal was to have our house paid off before N goes to college.

As the person in the house who handles the finances, I sorta got distracted by my desire to upgrade things in the house.  We got new flooring in the basement after Shanks shat all over the place, and my OCD could not handle the brown stains on the light beige berber carpet.  Then, due to cat urine smell in the furniture, I had the couch and chair reupholstered.  Then we bought coordinating end tables for the living room (which we had never purchased).  Then the bathroom remodel.  Lots of spending, spending.

We've always paid something on the principal of our mortgage, but I hadn't been hitting it as hard in the past two years or so.  It is hard, even for me, to save up a bunch and then drop it on the principal.  You know you are doing something smart with it, but you have nothing tangible to show for it.  It is a huge delayed gratification investment.  You think, "YES, I've shaved 1 month off my mortgage which I won't see until 2054."

So, I've got a new idea I'm going to try out to both pay on the principal and not feel like I'm taking huge chunks out of saving.  I've decided that every time I go to Kroger, I will take $20 out in cash.  Once I have $100 (at the end of every month), I will go put it on the principal.  In one year, I will have paid $1040 on the principal.

I'm hoping that this will work, and seeing the declining balance will induce me to maybe pull out $40 at a time, which won't feel as painful as taking $2080 out of an account and putting it on the principal balance.

Reality check:  On Saturday, I was running supply shopping and whatnot, and I listened to This American Life on Greek refugees.  It makes me feel ashamed to even be writing posts like this when I have so much and I dither over where to put our abundance.  I try to remind myself that this is my reality, even if, in comparison, it seems shallow.  

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