We Are Just Patriotic

I thought I knew what our financial situation was. I mean, I am the accounting department, you’d think I would have a firm grasp of this stuff. Yeah, well, more like my hand was in the general vicinity and maybe touching this concept.

We recently had a slight reduction to the incoming cash flow and it required that I take a closer look at our budget. And much to my dismay I discovered that if we stay right on track with my current bill paying strategy we will pay off our debt… ummm… never. To add insult to injury, any vacations or surprise home maintenance bills will just increase the debt that we are not paying off. And savings? Well, that is just a silly pipe dream. Behold, my friends, delusional accounting. Awesome!

So the belt tightening begins today. Marshalls and I have broken up; Banana Republic, I don’t know you anymore and Ann Taylor, lose my credit card number. That part is relatively easy. Our gym membership is going to be suspended; much more of a sacrifice for Bob since I haven’t even seen the parking lot of that place for a year. And we have reduced our dog walker to two visits a week.

Now to the real sacrifice: Starbucks. I bring my lunch to work and have justified my cappucino habit with the huge savings that not purchasing lunch implied. But now, even my dear Starbucks is on the block. Today I attempted to bring a thermos of coffee to work (still a Starbuck’s product -VIA) but apparently this thermos was last used to transport liquid rubber. Nothing like giving up sweet nectar to be  mocked by a foul tasting coffee colored liquid in its stead.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that I have it way better than most. I am not in danger of losing my home and both Bob and I are gainfully employed. I am not really even complaining. I am mostly just mad at myself for not having really looked at the “money in” and “money out” columns more closely before. I knew that I was doing a lot of juggling, but I didn’t realize that it was because of a lack of actual money. In my mind it was because the furnace broke or because we went on an impulsive shopping jag at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

There is some relief in knowing the real deal, financially speaking. Our revised budget will take a little getting used to and maybe a new thermos. It doesn’t come as a huge surprise, however, that we were living above our means. That is the American way after all and we are nothing if not patriotic.