I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hosted a small gathering for part of my extended family (12 people) while a larger part of the family went to my sister’s house in Houston. While I certainly would have loved to spend this day with everyone under the same roof, that just wasn’t feasible. By the end of the weekend though I will have seen everyone. Here’s an example of yet another area I have made changes to in my journey to being debt free. No, not avoiding my extended family (LOL!) but instead making adjustments to perspective. Here’s what I mean:
In years past there would have been zero hesitation on my part about loading up the car and taking a road trip to my sister’s for Thanksgiving. With so many of us in the family I would have ended up in a hotel for at least 2, probably 3 nights, and thought nothing of the financial impact. I wouldn’t have thought about the gasoline it would take to get there. I’d be sure to bring loads of food and wine to share with the group (even though my sis always had the menu covered). I would have spent money in the preparation to take the trip and then spent more money while out of town. I would have mindlessly paid over $100 to board the dogs and likely added grooming to their stay for another $100. I probably would have picked up little gifts for my nephews and sister “just because.” I would have spent money while on the road feeding us from bad fast food restaurants. I might have even bought new stuff to “entertain” the kids on the road. All in the name of time with family on this certain day of the year.
My how things have changed in the last 12 months. I knew I was not in a position to take on the expense of a “quick and cheap” trip to Houston. So, I declined the trip and instead will see much of the family at some point over the four day weekend. I used to get so wrapped up in being with them on the exact date of the holiday that I would not employ common sense! Now I see the true importance being that I visit with my family while also being fiscally responsible.
I spent $100 on Thanksgiving Day groceries and have enough leftovers to feed us for at least the next week. I asked people to bring items and found some free game and craft ideas for all of the kids who joined us. We played old-fashioned games both indoors and out and had a super great time!
I had a momentary flash to some of the nasty comments made by readers over the last week and my niece caught my smile as I did so. She only said “oh–you’re reflecting on something! I can tell!” I smiled because I know I HAVE made incredible progress in my thought patterns and spending practices. I smiled because I “get” what is important now and am making changes to live my life more in alignment with those important things. I smiled because even through a pretty shit*y near three months (and mostly shit*y 32 months before that), my focus on debt reduction remains. I smiled because somehow through all of this mess I have still been able to avoid adding new debt and have made more than the minimum payments on my debt. And I smiled because the gym was open today from 8 am – 2 pm and I was able to get a 30 minute workout in before having company over!!!
So here’s my thank you for today: Thank you to all of the jerks who were nasty and mean in their comments. You did give me good food for thought that I am and will continue to think about. But in this difficult season of my life, you made me realize that I”m pretty much a rock star in my world right now–a rock star with a cheap gym membership. I promise you motivated me as I figured out the stupid elliptical machine that almost owned clumsy me this morning and this is my big Texas size THANK YOU! I’m more motivated than ever to prove all of you wrong.