I am in the middle of a couple of weeks of "out of the ordinary" with a few trips and a few visitors in town. I've been stressing over how much additional money these special events are going to cost. For the past 2 months I've been saving a special fund plus allocating money gained from eBay sales and I've been fretting it won't be enough. In the last week of August, I had a hard time falling asleep at night because my mind wouldn't stop calculating the money I had vs. the money I was going to need and trying to figure out how to cut costs without cutting enjoyment. Budgeting is certainly not fun if you allow it to drive you crazy.
Here I am in the midst of it though, and it's amazing how quickly it is becoming second nature for me to use cash and use it wisely. I haven't scrimped on anything or denied myself anything I would have had under the old American Excess routine. What I have done is made better choices. I haven't felt the need to impress with a $400 dinner when a tasty $30 grill at home was fantastic. I haven't felt we needed a $175 spa day to enjoy time together, when a $35 pedicure was the perfect way to relax and have fun with friends.
Most importantly I'm not stressing about a potentially more expensive few weeks and I'm amazed to find everything is much more enjoyable when I'm not over-spending. I have only the lingering pleasure of the activity and none of the unavoidable guilt of another few hundred charged to a card.
Just 2 months into my new financial world order, I'm proving (for myself at least) life is better when it's paid for.