The Hurt and The Lies

This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.

I admit it, sometimes I will tell a lie, or maybe just omit saying something so another truth is assumed. If my motive is for the greater good or to save hurting someones feelings, is that so bad?

April has been a skinny spending month for me after my horrible March, and I splurged on Saturday: $5 for a big slice of pizza and a drink while at work at my second job. I had not spent any money for coffees or food not prepared at home all month, so I felt that a small splurge was doable. That was the best pizza I’d tasted in a long time, it came from a small independent pizzeria. I saved half (it was a huge slice) to share with my boyfriend when I got home so we could both benefit from the splurge. I have no regrets about any of that.

It’s easy to talk about slashing expenses and saying no to going out or buying things,  until you have to do it for real.

On Sunday came the hurt of my goals and financial situation. My sister traveled from out of town (90 minutes away) to visit my parents, and for her husband to help me do some work in their yard. Mid-day came, and everyone (except me) decided to go out for lunch. I would have liked to go with them, but I just don’t feel like I can instantly find $20 to go out for lunch (my sister would have tried to arrange with me to split my parents bill). I had to decline the invitation to join them. When pressed for a reason, I didn’t feel I could say “I don’t have the money to do that”, so I had to reply with “It’s my only day off and I have things I have to do”. I’m certain that if I’d said it was an money issue, someone would have offered to buy it for me, but I just couldn’t do that.  I know my sister doesn’t have a big surplus of cash in her budget, and my parents bought lunch for me two weeks ago.

It would be different if it were a birthday or some other celebration, I would have found the funds, but to go for lunch, just because? Yes, I’m hurt because I chose not to join them, but I think I would have hurt more spending the money I couldn’t feel justified in spending.  I’ve done so well controlling expenses this month, I want to keep that momentum going.

I can’t help but feel that I got into the situation I’m in (having debt) because I usually just went along with what everyone else was doing, and do feel I’m now on the right track to become FI.  I know it’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things either, but right now, $20 is a lot to me.  I know one day, the bar of what is a lot to me will be raised, and dropping $20 won’t be as big a deal, but I won’t get there if I raise that bar now.

I’m not dwelling on this, and I accept this is part of the path I’ve chosen.  I wanted to write about it so perhaps some readers that have been in similar situations will know they are not alone.

9 thoughts on “The Hurt and The Lies”

  1. This post makes me sad. I can’t imagine having to choose $20 over spending time with family. Pretty brave putting this out on a blog Sheryl. I was particularly dreading going to work today… But reading your post immediately put things back into perspective for me. I live very frugally as well… But it is by choice (so I can retire at 42) not necessity, thankfully.

  2. Thanks Jon

    I should add that I do see most of my family at least every other month, and we are having a big family gathering in May to celebrate my parents 60th wedding anniversary, knowing this is coming up played a part in my decision. If I knew it would be another 2 months before I saw them again I would have gone with them.

  3. I’m actually really proud for you. You’re gaining control over your financial life and accepting limits. And it’s brave and humbling to post this.

  4. I find that it’s really helpful to have a bit of pocket money budgeted precisely for this reason. You never know what might come up.

    At the same time, I’ve definitely declined to do things on the basis of not having enough money allocated for it. Sometimes it’s because I’ve run out of spending money but other times it’s because I’d rather put that money towards other things. It’s always hard to say no to people, especially family.

    I missed out on visiting my grandparents this past summer in Toronto because I had no holidays and was on a thin student budget at the time. So I began to set aside money to visit them this summer. Sadly, before I could visit, my grandfather passed away. You can only make the best decision possible with the information you have at the time.

  5. I am in full on SAVE mode and I am forever saying No, we don’t have it in the budget right now. Drives my husband crazy–it does embarass him and he often feels we should just bow to the pressure….but I am one determined lady. The oddest thing came to our “rescue” so to speak. I have developed a terrible gluten allergy (not celiac) and break out in hives and rashes at the thought of anything with gluten. That basically leaves out anything that anyone else makes…and it is my ace in the hole. I refuse to eat any food that is not prepared by me, period.

    Now, the funny part of all this–and honestly I would rather be able to eat the darn wheat..
    my husband is away teaching right now in a village quite away from things. He had to take a room in a rather unpleasant place for quite a bit of money..and on top of it if he wanted food lunch would be $15 and supper $ choice, just whatever they decide to feed you. That’s a lot of money…so the little devil told the people (who were quite expecting him to buy this service) that he had a wheat allergy….and he went to the closest town and stocked up at the grocery store…don’t really know what he is eating but he has saved us a rather large chunk of change.

    Hugs to you–it will be all worth it in the end

  6. I think it’s admirable that you are sticking to your plan – yes, it’s easy to say it’s only $20, but a few of those add up to $100 and before long you have leaks everywhere in your budget. It’s easier to hold the line and not spend until you reach your goal, then you can loosen up a bit.

  7. Thanks to all for your support.

    I’m looking forward to the day when an unexpected $20 or even $100 will be easy to find room for, but until then I have to keep my eye on the ball while trying to maintain some kind of life balance.

  8. Good for you Sheryl. Shows good sense and strong will. If more people had that kind of strength, there would be fewer money problems for many. I know a couple who spend freely and take nice vacations but even though they are in their early 60’s and have a 25 year 150,000 mortgage they just signed up for and retired on NOT big pensions, they do have their 6 credit cards close to the max and a lot on their line of credit so I am just wondering when their dream world will go up like a puff of smoke. They already sold their previous house for a loss but downsized enough to be able to put some cash on their sizable debts. So stick to your guns.

  9. I support and respect the decision you made. You have a plan and a goal that you are working towards, if you allow yourself a bit of wiggle room what stops you the next time?
    You see that in the future you will have the ability, if you want, to fulfill these expenditures, in the meantime it does not get you where you want to be. I am in the same boat, and I have a goal and intentions of reaching the goal. It is hard to say “I don’t have the money, only because of the judgement that is associated with it.
    Keep true to yourself

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