the barefoot budget

unconventional grit for a mindful life

New Job, New Stuff


 … I’ve been offered a BIG promotion.

My new title is the Trails and Open Space Facility Supervisor. Duties include managing over 2,000 acres of passive recreation/ natural resources as well as 30+ miles of trails. I am SO excited – I got into the parks and rec field to work in natural resource managment, and after putting in almost three years under athletics, I have finally made my way to where I want to be. Also, I get a 15% raise, so that’s pretty awesome. I’m already planning how I’m going to invest and save the extra cash… at least what’s left.

Honesty moment: I have gone a little wild with purchasing after recieving my promotion.This promotion kinda came out of nowehere. I was only in my previous position for nine months, and I had expected to be in that position for at least two years. I’m going to be bringing in significantly more money this year than I had originally bargained for. While I do plan to stash a good chunk of it, the cash blast out of nowhere has given me room to spend spend spend on things for ME. Here’s what I’ve bought:

  • First, I bought an online month-long yoga program from Yoga with Adriene called Reboot. I love going to public classes, but the truth is it’s just really hard to fit in my schedule right now. Adriene has posted tons of free videos on her youtube, and I have done just about all of them, many multiple times. She has become a mainstay in this house, even Andrew (who does not practice) knows her well. I adore her – her laidback style, her philosophy, and her flows. It seemed like after accessing all this content for free for almost a year, I should support her – so I bought one of her downloadable programs. I had a $10 off coupon, so my total spent: $37
  • Then, I announced our home was finally going all natural. I have posted before about how we make many of our own home items, from toothpaste to laundry detergent. I have been slowly waiting to run out of all the conventional products we use – hand soap, all purpose cleaner, dish soap, lotion – so that I could replace them with natural, homemade products. We are finally getting close to clearing all these chemicals out of our home, so I decided I better pony up and collect all my recipes and ingredients. I chose recipes that all use similar ingredients – mainly castile soap, essential oils, baking/ washing soda. I found the website Thrive Market which offers many of these ingredients at deeply discounted prices. It’s a membership website, and they were offereing a free one month trial, 25% off your first purchase, and free shipping. Alas, I decided I better stock up on items for the next couple years to save money. On this first purchase, so I bought A LOT – over $100 worth. I will be cancelling my free membership when it ends. Total spent: $75. For those of you interested, here are the recipes I will be using:
  • My back pain is getting out of control. I have issues even performing the simplest tasks, like bending over. My mother recommended I see a chiropractor. I found someone I really like – an advocate for meditation and yoga, as well as a balanced diet. She demonstrated how a lot of the pain starts with my feet, and recommended I purchase insoles. I picked up the fancy ones she told me about, at $45. I showed up to my next appointment, and she told me I need strong shoes to make the insoles effective. Problem is, I don’t really wear shoes – hello, The BAREFOOT Budget! I work in my Chaco’s, which obviously can’t accommodate insoles. Ugh. Looks like I’m going to have to buy some new shoes to go along with my new insoles.
  • I need to get out of the house more. I love the numerous homesteading projects we have going on at home – growing mushrooms, gardening, brewing beer, blending tea, baking, making our own home products, writing … but all these tie me down to the house, big time. So, I joined our employee bowling league! I love to bowl, and don’t do it nearly enough. Ten weeks for $100, and I don’t have to rent shoes because I have my own.
  • I saved the best for last. After months of frustration with our shitty Cuisinart  blender, last night things got real. I worked late, until 7, so I was starving when I got home. I planned to make my favorite salad, and attempted to make the dressing in our blender. It’s so shitty it took me over an hour. It shouldn’t take over 2 minutes. Honestly, I cried. This isn’t the only issue. I love green smoothies, but I am deterred from making them because it takes 45 minutes to an hour of insanely frustrating screwing around with the blender. The point of the blender is to make quick nutritious meals on the go. I make 2-3 smoothies a week, so if you think about that, an hour and a half to three hours a week is spent screwing around with the blender. Ridiculous. So, I made an executive decision. Time for a new blender, a real, serious business blender. I did a lot of research and ended up going with a reconditioned Vitamix. It’s high quality enough to meet my needs, but its not an over-the-top best blender money can buy. I talk about how important it is to weigh your purchases here. Ready for the total? $320. Sounds ridiculous, but considering the amount of time I will save not screwing around with a blender, using my new real hourly wage @ $17/ hour, the thing pays for itself 6 -14 weeks – by the end of the calendar year. I can get down with that.

There you have it. I’ve blown through $577 in the last two weeks on non-essential purchases. I don’t want to think about it, but there’s more coming down the pipeline. This weekend we are going on a four day vacation. Three days will be backpacking on an island, but one day will be celebrating in the great town of Savannah. I want to enjoy this time we have and not worry about how much money we are blowing. That doesn’t mean we won’t be conscientious, but I don’t want to cringe at the idea of eating a nice dinner at a restaurant (we have eaten out a total of twice together this year where we foot the bill). Other puchases in the “want” category include a nice utility knife for work/ play, a foam roller to help with my back pain, and a piece of art custom framed (Michael’s is running a rock bottom deal this week).

Ugh, listen to me! I feel like such a filthy consumer. One little cash surge and I start buying, buying, buying. Some of the purchases, like everything related to health/ fitness, are necessary. I decided the blender was well worth the amount if time it’s going to save me and its long term viability. Justifications still don’t help me feel better though. A lot of money is leaving the home this month, and that’s never something an aspiring homesteader wants to process. Especially since last month, I had to throw so much money at my car.

The reality is that even though I will personally enjoy these purchases, many for years to come, the act of buying makes me feel a little sick. Rather, spending so much money makes me feel so unlike myself. I feel uneasy and defeated, with no one but myself to blame.

I’m currently taking a class on leadership, and yesterday we discussed this article about how strong leaders have to learn to ignore certain things. Our instructor asked us to pick which bullet point we most identified with. Mine was: ignore guilt from isolated failure. Wow, do I ever beat myself up sometimes. I’m trying to reframe all my purchasing with this in mind. On the whole, we are focused on our frugal lifestyle. In the grand scheme, this isolated spending spree isn’t going to affect our goals for 2015 and the coming years. So why keep mulling over it, driving myself mad with anxiety? I need to ignore those uncomfortable gut reactions, and simply push forward, knowing that I am exactly where I need to be.

26 thoughts on “New Job, New Stuff

  1. congratulations on your promotion!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on your promotion! Awesome purchases, btw! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wohoo! Congrats on getting a nice promotion!

    When I first saw your post, and that pic of the Dr. Bronners, my first thought was, “I wonder if she knows it’s super concentrated?? That’s so much!” So, haha, you explained that one! One of those big bottles lasts us at least a year, and we use it for everything.

    If it makes you feel better, we splurged on a reconditioned Blendtec almost two years ago, for about the same amount of money as you spent on your Vitamix, and honestly, I’d spend it again. It’s a lot of money, but I use it every day, and it’s just such a better tool than a wimpy blender. Here’s hoping that it lasts a good long time!

    As for how you’re feeling about your spending, it’s not like you’re spending this money and then thinking, “Oh, this feels good!” So think of this as a good test. You had to spend some cash to know that you are an anti-consumer and anti-spender at heart, and you won’t take that for granted now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • P.S. I made that shampoo you linked to this weekend (coconut milk + Bronners) and it’s great, especially with the ACV rinse. Thanks for the inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the encouraging words. It’s been funny to watch my reactions to spending change over the years. When I was younger, I certainly got consumer highs. Slowly, I’ve become less and less comfortable buying “stuff.” When you actually watch your reactions to spending, it’s pretty interesting! For example, spending on experiences, especially recreation, still gives me that “high.” Like you said, great test for realizing your values.

      I waffled and read way too much compare and contrast between Blendtec’s and the Vitamix. I had Blendtec’s at my old job when I managaed a coffee house, and they sure are sweet. I love that you can set them and walk away. I went with a Vitamix because Andrew has tinnitus, so I wanted something quiet. I got my Vitamix tonight, and like you said, I can already tell it was worth every penny. There’s just something that feels good about owning a high quality machine!

      Dr. Bronner’s abound in this home, I can’t find anywhere to put it! Haha

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on the promotion!

    It doesn’t sound like you went crazy on your spending. Everything has a good reason, and would have been an eventual purchase down the road, so using the unexpected raise seems logical to me. It definitely shows that you are doing the right thing when you feel that way about spending money. Acknowledge the feeling for the good things it shows of the path you are taking, and then let the guilt go. No point hanging on to it. What’s done is done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think your purchases were quite sensible! I struggle with consumerism often…many of the things I enjoy require actively partaking in it. Video games, geeky collectibles. I need neither of these things. But, I do my best to support small indie businesses (I make sure to purchase from one at least once a month!) and enjoy my indulgences. 🙂

    Also, I am totally using some of those homemade recipes! I’ve made my own cleaners for years (ever since my daughter was born) but I really want to try the dish soap. And I would LOVE to try making my own body butter. I adore body butters, but purchasing them from indie sellers gets pricey, and storebought = chemicals generally, so this will be a fun thing to try! Plus, Christmas gifts to hand out. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny you mention geekiness and collectibles, because whenever I read your blog I LOVE seeing all those things! It reminds me that there are so many awesome people out there making, creating, sharing their indie treasures. I love Etsy and I think supporting small businesses, especially creative enterprises, is so important! Reading your blog always inspires me to peek at my favorite artists on Etsy 🙂

      Like you say, all those things cost money, but it feels so much better when that money is going to an artist and not some big corporation.

      One reason I ordered so much raw materials is because I was thinking … perfect for Christmas gifts! I’m stoked to get into making my own beauty/ body stuff. For years I’ve been so minimal, no make-up, no lotion, no nothing, because I hated the chemicals of store bought. I can’t WAIT to have indulgances like body butter again!


  6. Every purchase you made is better for your own health and well-being. Life still has to be enjoyed and we all deserve some pampering now and again. Your new job sounds amazing, way to go! It must be so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So very proud of you! And I think your purchases make perfect sense – you need and deserve q little pampering. It’s for your own health and well being. Love you, MOM

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved reading this post. I beat myself up a lot over purchasing things I don’t need. HOWEVER, I don’t think any purchase that makes you and your family healthier is bad! Even your vacation will help ground yourself, destress, and create life-long memories. Well worth the investment! At the end of the day, we vote on what’s important to us with the dollars we spend. All of your purchases say “My Family and I are what’s important.”


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Awww, thank you for the sweet words. I often do try to ask myself: is this purchase, decision, whatever, going to improve our life? Does it reflect our values? It’s hard work alwaus trying to make the right choices, haha!


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