Creative Budgeting and the Flamenca

I am a recovering shopaholic. There was a period in my life when I shopped consistently, or perhaps constantly. I used to be very well dressed. The ladies at Nordstrom knew me by name. And, oh, the shoes. What cute shoes I had! But I wasn’t just shopping, I was spending — on treats, trips, concerts and little things I loved or that brought me momentary happiness. Of course, I paid (and am still paying) the price for all of this. But this was a different time in my life. This was my life before flamenco.

I’ve been dancing for three years now and in that time I’ve become quite the little budget bee. Sure, I could chalk it up to the maturity that comes with age and an economy that has us all worried about keeping our jobs. But realistically, it was all about the dance. Because if I was still blowing all my cash on dresses and shoes, how could I possibly afford lessons and all the other incidentals that come along with this hobby?

I could spend $40-$50 dollars this week on going out for lunch, or I could bring my lunch and put that money toward two hours of studio time, which is far more nourishing. I could certainly use some new work dresses, but I’d rather put that money toward a new dance outfit that I’ll inevitably need/want at some point. I sit behind a desk all day — who cares if I have the same five work dresses on rotation? I could jet off to Vegas and blow several hundred for a fun weekend getaway, OR I could bank that money for the ultimate trip to Spain that I hope to take in a few years.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not deprived of anything. I have everything. I enjoy my time with family and close friends. I buy the things I need and I mini-splurge on the experiences and items that bring me joy. I do sacrifice things for flamenco — but never the other way around.

Apparently, falling in love — with the dance or whatever your passion may be — changes the way you think. It happened to me. The things that used to bring me fleeting fulfillment don’t matter anymore, not much anyway. The dance makes me happy. It makes me healthy. I want to give it my all, and I want to do it forever.

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