- The new sink: I was upset that my faucet was not running properly. I didn't want to replace the faucet and then have to replace the sink later. I also didn't want to call the plumber if it was something I could fix myself. I did some web searching and found this article, which suggested that the aerator might be clogged on the faucet and explained how to clean it. Sink is fixed! Someday when I feel wealthy, maybe I'll replace the sink, but for now I'm happy that it works.
- Repairs to the shower: I am going to call the plumber to set up an appointment for this. We have a hot water leak and I know that fixing this will save us money in the long run since we won't be wasting hot water and the natural gas to heat it just so it can dribble down teh drain.
- A new car stereo: Totally not necessary. The number of times I drive longer than half an hour is so small that I can get by with NPR and the radio. I also have a CD player that sort of works. I had one of those FM transmitters for my iPod but it broke and left a part inside my cigarette lighter, so I don't think I want to get another one.
- A small digital camera: We have a digital camera. I just wanted one all to myself that was tiny. Not an essential expense. I am going to make an effort to take some pictures for my blog with the camera we have, especially when I am doing a recipe post.
- A spring running jacket that is lightweight and breathable: I'm going to shop around for this because it's something I will get a lot of use out of.
- Some cute spring tops: If I see something that I really love, I am open to the option of putting it on my credit card. But I'm not going out of my way to look for this anytime soon.
- Some new workout clothes: I'm going to look at Target and Kohl's, since I have seen some people wearing cute things, asked them where they got them, and they said they were from discount stores. I really don't need to spend big bucks on the gorgeous stuff in the Title 9 catalog just to sweat on it. Someday, when I have my credit cards paid off completely, I'm going to save some money for a little Title 9 spree.
- New bras: I am going to take a day and make a pilgrimage to Nordstrom's. I hear that's the place to go.
- Some kind of miraculous firming moisturizer that will help stave off the dreaded family curse -- the Turkey Neck, which seems to be starting already: Since I know this is probably a lost cause, I got a product at the drugstore that looked promising and didn't have a bunch of toxic ingredients in it.
- Black loafers or some other kind of casual, comfortable black dress shoes: Summer is coming up and realistically, I'm going to want to wear sandals most of the time anyway. I'll save my money for a pedicure.
- One item I forgot that I really, really want is a new bike that fits me better. Obviously that is not happening this year. I'm going to take my bike in for a tune-up and see if they can help me adjust it to be more comfortable.
What I'm having to accept is that I can't simultaneously pay off my credit cards and have everything I want. I'm trying to be more realistic, both about the things that I really want and need and the pace at which I can pay off my cards while making so much less money. Doc Mannette's comment reminds me that I could have all the stuff I wanted and still be unhappy if my life situation was different. I have enough material stuff to feel safe and secure and also have great friends and a wonderful husband. That is definitely something to be grateful for.
This summer, things are going to be tight unless I can find a new income stream or two. On the plus side, working out outdoors with equipment I already own is totally, 100% free. In the summer, we'll also have access to farmer's markets and possibly a CSA. So healthy veggies will be cheap and plentiful, which will help me cut my grocery budget. Both the workouts and the dietary changes just might help me finally get rid of those last 20 pounds.
Let's just call it "The Broke Diet." If it works, maybe I'll market it and make a million bucks.