Adrian and I decided recently that we have to follow our budget more carefully. We also decided that while it sounds good to pledge to cut out every fun, impulsive purchase from our lives, in reality, it'll probably make us feel like a couple of penny-pinching Scrooges.
So we came up with a compromise. All "real" money goes towards responsible, grown-up things: mortgage, food, utilities, etc.. All "fun" money goes towards fun things. "Fun" money is defined as coming from somewhere other than our steady, grown-up jobs: birthdays, Christmas, extra work, etc.. Until recently, our "fun" money has been sparse and unpredictable, appearing mostly on holidays. Then, last week, while moving some furniture, we decided to sell something on Craigslist and made an amazing discovery.
There is a lot of fun money out there.
Since then, we have sold 4 items: furniture and some childhood paraphernalia. Our garage is cleaner, and the "fun" money jar keeps filling up. We told Adrian's parents about our unexpected success, and they saw it as a chance to clean out their basement. They gave us more items to sell, glad to get rid of some clutter and let someone else do the work of taking pictures, listing items, responding to potential buyers, and making the final transaction. Now, word has gotten out to Adrian's grandmother, who apparently has a whole basement full of furniture, etc. that might be worth a look.
Now, we know we're not going to get rich off of Craigslist, and, really, that's not the point. The point is to feel like we don't have to nickel-and-dime every single DVD or cup of coffee. The point is to be able to do something for ourselves, for someone else, or just for the fun of it every now and then without worrying about where the money is coming from.
Although, the saver in me sees student loan payments every time that money changes hands. I'm just sayin'. :-)