So here’s my take on it. People get pretty hyped up about sustainability in businesses and especially agriculture, but I’m not sure people apply these opinions to their personal financial lives. In my mind, sustainable means living now in a way that will make living later possible. At the very least, people should figure out how to live on what they have and not on what they don’t have. People need to be content. It took me longer than it should have to get my own crap together. So I’m not saying it’s easy and I’m not trying to make people feel bad. And obviously it's hard to be content. There's always something out there you want to have that you don't have.
Not going to lie…I had to make some changes in my spending in the last few years to make life sustainable. I had a chunk of credit card debt that needed to be paid off. To make it happen as fast as possible, I had to become so much more aware of how much I was spending on all the little day to day stuff. The biggest thing was making a reasonable budget and sticking to it. We’re not talking a general “oh it would be nice if my money flow looked something like this” kind of budget. We’re talking “I can spend $10 on coffee and soda this month and that’s it. Not a penny more!” kind of budget. Granted, that budget had some fun stuff worked in. Like I said, it was reasonable and I had to stick to it. In making that budget, I had to keep my priorities in mind. Those priorities were:
1. No more credit card debt
2. Emergency fund
It’s been a whole 2 months with zero credit card debt, and it feels so good! It feels so good and the budget discipline is so ingrained that I have ended up with extra money the last 2 months. That extra money has turned into a curve-ball fund. Unlike an emergency fund, the curve-ball fund is just for when life throws a curve-ball. For example, last month I was at a conference and I was texting like crazy. I texted $30 worth beyond my limit. Oops! This hasn’t ever happened, so it’s not worth it to me to spend an extra $10 per month to get unlimited texting. The other day, I really had the urge to hit up TJ Maxx. I didn’t need anything, but I ended up with some sweet sunglasses and a padded iPad sleeve. Boom. $30 impulse spending. Neither is a big deal though since I have a curve-ball account. Even on my measly salary I’m happy to say I’ve gotten to a place where I can cover surprises and I can splurge without freaking out. See? That is what I call sustainability!