It was a beautiful Saturday, the first day of my week long vacation. Ten days of no working bliss that was kicking off with a casual cowboy style wedding that evening. Excited to be off, getting work done around the house, it was noon when I discovered the terrible truth. My purse was gone.
Frantically searching the house as I still didn’t buy a wedding present, the purse was no where. It made no sense. I didn’t go anywhere the day before. Left work, picked up kid, stopped at car body repair shop, went home. WHERE WAS IT????
Breathing to calm the panic I assessed the situation. Monday was a holiday. I had food. I could give the prosecco in the fridge and a bottle of wine as a wedding present. Perhaps I did leave it at the auto body shop. I would be ok until Monday.
Monday came but the purse didn’t. Called the auto body shop – nope not there. Called work – nope not there. Panic returned and with my mood now dampened with fear (all our ID was in there, even our passports) I continued to tear about the house looking for the purse. My 4-year old made up a story that she was playing with it and threw it under the sofa. With big eyes she told me that’s what happened, hoping I’d feel better. It did make me smile because there’s no way my big purse would fit under the 2 inch crack between floor and sofa. God love her little lying heart for trying to make Momma feel better. And damn it if she isn’t a good little actor. The guilt was believable!
But alas, the case of the missing purse began.
Turns out the purse was at work the whole time, hiding behind my chair where people couldn’t see it, but I didn’t have it until I returned the following Monday, and the whole ordeal turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. Here’s why:
- It was a huge reality check into my over spending habit.
- I was forced to use only cash for 3 days since I was hesitant to cancel my bank card because the lost purse didn’t make sence.
- Spending only cash for 3 days meant I was very aware of what I needed to spend the money on and didn’t have the convenience of just getting what I wanted and dealing with the money I’d spent later.
- Cash money in your hands is so much more real that cards. That reality check was essential.
- I learned I could budget properly using only cash.
- Without my Visa, I couldn’t make up an excuse to use that instead.
- All this meant my vacation, a stay-cation, wasn’t the usual over spending/ deal with it later ordeal it usually is. Even stay-cations are that for me. I was cautious, aware of my money and still had fun with my daughter since we did things together that didn’t cost much or anything (beach days, hiking close, jumping on the trampoline.)
- I had money left over when my pay came. Not a lot but it was some and that never happens.
- I relearned how to do without until payday and it didn’t hurt.
It was a lesson in finances that made me happy for a change. Yes, it’s hard to live paycheck to paycheck and it’s not something I want to do for the rest of my life. But the case of the missing purse showed me I can focus on saving for what I want by using only cash and budgeting better. And it’s a lesson I’m taking to heart. I’ve started taking cash out weekly and cutting my spending off when it’s done. A couple of weeks I’ve gone over – back to school you know. But a couple I didn’t. That’s better than every day going over.
Bring on the financial freedom! Or at least a bank account that’s not always dry.