I constantly struggle between the extremes of accounting for every. single. peso I spend and saying "F*ck it. I can well-afford this and so I will buy it. Walang basagan ng trip!".
I notice though that the latter usually manifests itself when I've been on a penny pinching drive, maybe it's a reaction from all of the deprivation I've been imposing on myself? And so my constant challenge is to find a happy middle ground between these two extremes.
My usual source of frustration is our restaurant expenses, since I know that we could save so much more if we eat out less and follow a weekly menu. But eating out means that my hubby, who works at home, will get a respite from cabin fever and won't have to put together a meal after he's been working all day. So even if our monthly restaurant expenses sometimes give me palpitations, I recognize that it's a necessary expense to keep everyone happy.
I sometimes fantasize about staying at home and doing the whole super mommy / Martha Stewart bit, but I know that I will go nuts with all that domesticity and have you tasted my cooking? Good for you that you haven't:p
It's different when it comes to spending for myself since I have long settled into a routine when it comes to personal care products and clothes. I now know what to splurge or save on. Base makeup is always a splurge, while point makeup is tipid to the max. With clothes, I'm fine with spending a bit more on highstreet fashion like Zara and Mango since I usually just buy one or two during sale season, and then reuse them until they fall apart years later. Considering this, there's no need to stock up on the cheap and trendy stuff at Forever 21 or department stores. However, shoes are a different matter altogether and probably deserve a separate post of their own.
One habit that needs to be looked at more carefully though, is our predisposition to go on mini-breaks. Oh how we love our vacations! We usually have one every 3-4 months, which is not bad really, it's just that the penny pincher in me starts fretting about the money allotted to our mini-break which could have been funnelled towards our investments, therefore earning us income in the long run. But then the spendthrift bares her teeth and shouts: "Anuber! OA ka na!"
Yes, I have imaginary conversations in my head.
So far, I think the only way I can reconcile those yin and yang forces is to set a budget for our quarterly vacations, and then to stay within that budget. It's like having fixed limits but then being totally free within the confines of those limits. Does that make sense?
Anyway, as with everything else in life, this is still a work in progress and will probably be tweaked ad infinitum in the future.