Budgeting Is a Lifestyle

I’ve been budgeting with my partner for just over a week now, and I can honestly say I’ve fully bought into the mindset of not spending any money unless you need to. Of course, we have allocated funds for entertainment and “blow” money each month, but it’s an absolute fraction of what we used to spend.

The thing that’s so fascinating to me is how easy it has been making the transition from not budgeting at all to being on a rather strict budget. I think the biggest factor in accepting this lifestyle change is working together with my partner. If it weren’t for her giving it a try as well, I think I would be far less inclined to change my ways. But since we can hold one another accountable, we’re more likely to stick with it and succeed.

Another thing that has goaded us into spending much less is looking back at our spending habits over the course of the last month. Seeing the ungodly high amounts of money we spent on alcohol and eating out was the perfect scare tactic into never doing that again.

So, we’ve started to see minor changes in the way we look at things. Heck, it’s made us want to keep our apartment more tidy and clean as well. I’ve begun organizing things in cardboard boxes (especially storage items). I never knew how useful cardboard boxes could be until now, and I find myself wanting to keep the boxes we end up with just in case I need them down the road.

Ultimately, budgeting is a way of life. It’s not a temporary thing that needs to happen for a few months until you’ve saved what you need. No, it’s something you commit to in order to live better down the road, save more, and treat yourself when you truly deserve it. If you’re out spending money all over the place, all the time, you’ll never really know what it means to treat yourself because 1) you’ll have less money later on to treat yourself with and 2) you’ll always be splurging, meaning you never really appreciate what spending a little extra looks like.

I’ve never been more sure of something in the way I live until now, and it’s great that we made the change now before looking to buy a house next year. We’ve already projected a budget plan over the next year that should help us immensely in closing on a great house for us before our wedding, and I can already get excited for a great honeymoon too!

Gifts for Minor Holidays

Mother’s Day got me to thinking about inexpensive little gifts you can get for your mother on that specific holiday and even the things you could pick up for your dad on Father’s Day, another holiday that comes not long after Mother’s Day. While these two holidays don’t necessarily mean you must get something for your parents, it’s one of those things that shows you were thinking about them and went out of your way to pick up a gift for them.

Sometimes it can be hard to hone in on a specific item that you think your mom or dad has been needing for awhile, something that’s very particular to their tastes and hobbies. These are the gifts that, in my opinion, are better off left to bigger holidays and birthdays.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, however, are two days where you can afford to pick up a more generic, unintentional gift just to show you care.

So, check out a few of our quick, easy ideas for these two holidays to let your parents know you’re thinking about them but didn’t break the bank for them (because that’s the last thing they want from their kids).

Candy.

If anything, a few candy boxes is a way to tell your parents that it’s alright to have a little extra sugar since they deserve a break from the everyday grind. The best part is that you can pick up their favorite candy boxes in just about any store that sells packaged goods. They’re cheap, easy to get, and you usually should have an idea what candies your parents would be fine with eating.

Sandals/hats.

I always find that these items go perfectly with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, simply because these two holidays pretty much kick off the great summer weather everyone has been waiting for. And even better, you can’t really screw up a pair of sandals or a ball cap so long as you’re in the general ballpark of your parents’ feet size and head size (but hats aren’t as much a problem with snapbacks being one size fits all).

Gift cards.

Last but not least, a gift card or two allows your parents to go out on a date together when they can afford the time. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money.

Just try to think of what a typical meal would cost for two at whatever restaurant you happened to get them a gift card for. So long as it mostly covers the bill, it’s a great way to tell your parents to get out of the house and spend an evening together.

Memorial Day

Early summer marks a time of the year when some important holidays fall on the calendar. While most of us may start to think of Memorial Day when I say this, I’m talking about two equivalent holidays that are some of the most celebrated throughout the summer only behind Memorial Day and the 4th of July: those days would be Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

As a kid, I never quite understood why moms and dads everywhere got their own specific holiday to have celebrated for them, yet there was nothing along the lines of son’s day or daughter’s day. Or just a children’s day in general. I always, always thought it was unfair that my parents had dedicated days for them on top of their birthdays.

That’s because I was naive and never really noticed how geared towards kids Halloween, Christma, and Easter are. I was a selfish little kid for thinking my parents didn’t deserve their own holiday.

As I grew older, I started realizing what the days meant for them, and for our family in general, it almost always meant spending the day doing whatever my mom or dad wanted and eating the food they loved most. Sometimes we’d buy them some little gifts, but for the most part it was more about being there for them and spending time with them (as that’s one of the best gifts a parent can think of from their children).

Now that I’m older and live alone in a different state from my parents, though, it won’t be as easy to make it home twice within a month’s span to celebrate both holidays with my parents. So things have become a little more challenging, especially when my partner’s parents live in the same city as us, so we’ll probably be spending time with them at their place.

Luckily, though, my parents don’t care too much about it and realize that we all have our limitations as adults now with separate lives. That’s why I’m planning on getting a few things for my mom and dad, wrapping it all up in a few cardboard boxes, and having them shipped to their home as gifts for their respective days. I don’t think there’s anything my parents would mind about some gifts in cardboard boxes, so I’m all about doing something as a gesture to show them I still care and I just can’t be there.

No matter what happens, though, I’ve learned to see the holidays for what they are. Parents put up with so much stuff throughout the year that they deserve to have at least a single day each year where everyone else tends to them. (And I say this in full confidence knowing I’ll enjoy the heck out of my Father’s Days in the future when I have kids.)