I’d made a plan and I was going to stick to it.

I got my paycheck, paid my bills (a month in advance because I’m so responsible), took care of other demands, put some away in savings and had what I needed for my trip to Florida at the beginning of last week. It was a three-day trip, just down and back. That wasn’t going to put me out of pocket too far. Plus I’d planned ahead and knew where every dollar was going.

And then I got home. Turns out I’m not as responsible as I thought I was. I’d dipped into my savings by a few hundred dollars.

Ouch.

See, what happened was I “needed” to go out to lunch after church on Sundays (It’s a tradition so I have to go!), and I “needed” to buy that bench on sale for $30 (It was on sale, I’d never get a deal like that again!). Oh, and I “needed” a new dress for a co-worker’s wedding — but  I’ll re-wear it for an event in September and for my high school reunion in October so that justifies it right? Plus I didn’t buy the cream stilettos that matched it perfectly so that makes me a frugal spender, doesn’t it?

The result was my desperation, looking through my clothes and items for things I could sell on Craigslist or on the Facebook page, “Girl 2 Girl Clothing/Accessories Hopkinsville/Christian County” or even the newspaper. I was being reactive, responding to a change in my financial situation, when really I should have been proactive. Or for me, more proactive.

If I stop and think, I know a lot of my money goes toward necessities — rent, utilities, gas, food. But if I’m honest with myself, I know that I really don’t need to eat out four times a week (my wallet and my waistline don’t appreciate it). I also don’t really need to shop  — mixing and matching a few accessories I already had would have made an old dress new, and that bench I got … OK, that was a real steal. I’m happy I got it. But aside from that, I was spending without thinking through the consequences.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should do. Other times it’s easy to know what you should do — it’s just hard to actually do it. But there are others of us who know what to do but don’t know how to do it.

Lucky for me the Christian County Extension Office is having a seminar Saturday called “Money $en$e for Women at their office. Sessions include “4+3+4=48: Mix and Match Your Wardrobe,” “Decorating on a Dime,” and “Skip the Bling; Save the Bucks.” The seminar is free and includes lunch (so I save money and I get a free meal!).

We can all use a little more help in the financial department of our lives. I plan on taking hold of knowing where my nickels and dimes are going and making some changes so I keep more of them. Who knows, maybe I’ll save enough to go back and buys those stiletto heels I wanted to badly. If I save enough, I’ll deserve it.

MONICA K. SMITH writes an occasional column with an online blog where she discusses some serious and some not-so-serious business. You can follow her online at www.Facebook.com/KentuckyNewEra and reach her at 270-887-3243

or msmith@kentuckynewera.com.

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