I love the 4th of July. I’m a big fan of fireworks, cooking out, and spending time with family. We’re committed to catching as many firework displays as we possibly can this year, and our community is definitely providing. Little man is finally old enough to enjoy the lights in the sky without being scared of the loud booms that come with them. The only member of the Claire household not enjoying the fireworks is Moose, and considering his penchant for eating non-edible items, that’s probably a good thing.
In the midst of all of this celebrating of our nation’s independence, I’m faced with a personal challenge. I’ve fallen off of the financial wagon. My budget didn’t really see the light of day in June, and as I was catching up and checking my spending totals for the month on Friday, I nearly had a heart attack. This is experience speaking here - even if you’re good at tracking your spending and following a budget, don’t think that it becomes second nature. You have to be mindful, or you’ll end up like me on Friday - embarrassed, frustrated, and surprised at my own spending decisions.
Here’s what happened - we have a lot of June birthdays in my family. We also enjoy the fairs, like to visit the zoo, and spend a lot of time outdoors. Crock pot meals don’t seem as appetizing in summer, so I’d often find myself wondering what we’d have for dinner at 5 PM. Those are just a few of the excuses I gave myself in order to spend way too freely last month. Thankfully, I didn’t pull out the credit cards, so while we didn’t make any progress towards our savings goals, we at least didn’t add to our debt. But when it comes to financial independence, progress is key. You always needs to be moving forward, making strides towards your personal financial goals, and paying yourself first. June? A big disappointment for me.
Of course, I’m in good company. Recent surveys have shown that most Americans don’t have enough saved for retirement, and as many in 1 of 3 have nothing saved. That’s a scary number! How many of us could come up with $500 to cover an emergency car repair or house bill? I’m proud to be an American, and I truly believe that we’re a very blessed country, financially and otherwise. But when it comes to financial independence, most of us still have a lot of work to do.
After tomorrow, my husband and I will be sitting down and determining if there are areas we can cut back and dedicate more to savings. Family trips to the zoo or to a fair probably won’t be on the chopping block, since investing in those memories is a huge priority for us. But I can tell you that the crock pot is going to stage a comeback in my house, though I’ll be scouring Pinterest for some warm weather meal ideas.
Happy Independence Day! I hope that you have a wonderful celebration. And on July 5th, once all of the fireworks have been lit and we return to work, remember that independence is something that we all are building towards every day. I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading.