Even with going out a little more, I haven't strayed from my regular bread-baking habits.
I'm aware that the budget I put myself on starting in February was very small, but needed to be at that time. But now I'm wondering if I need to just make peace with the fact that I have a hard time abiding by a strict budget for long periods of time, and maybe I need to regularly revisit my spending every couple of months and modify it to whatever my current situation is, and operate on that basis rather than some preset level of spending. Sometimes it works really well for me to live off of the bare minimum, but sometimes it makes me feel a little crazy. Lately, with a little extra income, I've been able to treat myself to a couple more expensive things that I've been waiting on for awhile, like a new camera! Until now I've been using the one Matt's dad loaned to me three years ago, and I need to give it back. I am not concerned that I have been spending irresponsibly; I am hyper-aware of my finances in general, have been making payments on my student loans even though I don't have to yet, have been making contributions to my IRA whenever possible, and keeping my utility costs very low. My student loans are the only debt I have--my credit card gets paid off every month.
Maybe part of it is that my life is in, or is approaching, a state of transition, where I'll be making the move into an actual career and ideally a full-time job with a solid income which will make things considerably easier, and I'm a little impatient to get there. This last year has been one of a part-time income, moving and moving expenses, financial aid disbursements every three months, and thus a lack of regularity to both income and spending. I'm just in a weird place where I feel a little guilty about spending extra and going out more, but am also feeling gratified by the results of that spending and I'm not totally sure how to reconcile those things.
I'm not sure there's a moral to this post. I just wonder if this is something that all people trying to live frugally struggle with, or if this just has something to do with my general tendency to get stir-crazy and need to change things up (this would explain why I've moved so many different times and had so many different jobs). Anyone have any insights?