Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mission Accomplished!!!

Well it's over! And, I did it! I guess I really was able to accomplish my goal, but I definitely had a few weak moments towards the end. At around Day 23 I almost threw in the towel. My rational was that I had already gone long enough, and I had already proved to myself that I could go three weeks without spending money, what was one more week? Luckily, I was able to talk myself out of it, thank goodness. I had come too far to stop, and give up on my goal.

I may not be fully reformed, but I did learn a lot about my spending habits. During my 30 day experiment, I still managed to spend over $500.00 on gas and groceries combined! So, going forward I am going to try to stick to the following budget...

Monthly Budget

Gas - $100.00
Groceries - $400.00
Toiletries & Cleaning Supplies - $100.00

As we already know, things add up rather quickly, so going forward, I will use these numbers as a guide. Since I usually get gas, and groceries about once a week, I will divide each amount by four. For example this week I plan on using my $100.00 grocery budget, half at the grocery store and half at Target. Because I haven't been to Target in quite a while, I figure I can get some of my snack and toiletry items there, along with a couple of kitchen gadgets I am dying to buy (i.e. donut pan and small cutting board). Instead of going wild, and going on a shopping spree in addition to what I have set aside for my grocery budget, I figure I will make smaller, more cost effective meals this week, and use some money in my grocery budget to buy the extra things I want at Target. Plus, I now have the $25.00 toiletry and cleaning supply budget that I can use towards my purchases, should I go over.

I think overall, the most important thing I learned this past month is to be more conscience and aware of what and why I am spending. Do I love it, do I need it, can it wait? These are the questions I will ask myself before I make future purchases.

Thank you to all of my friends and family who have supported me throughout the past 30 days. Thank you for understanding and not pressuring me to spend any money during my spend freeze. Now, it's time for a hard earned celebratory dinner, and afterward, Target anyone :)


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Week 2 Recap...

I apologize to all my loyal followers, ha, ha, (Thank you Sarah & Drew!) for not posting over the last ten days! I started to feel like my updates were being forced, and after all, this is suppose to be fun. So, I took a little break, and decided that instead of forcing myself to post everyday, I would wait until I actually felt like I had something to say. That being said, I really have missed posting, and I don't think I will wait quite as long before my next post again. I did try to post a couple of times throughout the week, but, well, it didn't happen.  So, here goes! 

My last post was from Day 8 of my money saving challenge. Day 9, I went to a country music concert.  It was my first one, and because I have vowed to myself to try new things recently, I decided to go, after all the tickets were free! Well, I didn't find any money lying around on the floor like I had hoped but, I truly did have a great time. I would even, dare I say, go again?! Yes, I would!

Other than that, things around here were pretty quiet this past week. I had a lovely weekend, as usual. The weather was good, a little cool and damp, but it is to be expected this time of year. We also did some visiting with the family. I cooked a lot. Since groceries are the only thing I can buy, I have been making a lot of new recipes, and since the weather has been a bit cooler, it is a great time to use the oven. I have already broke out the crock pot too! Chicken noodle soup, Shepard's pie and pumpkin mac & cheese just to name a few. My next blog may be about food. I really enjoy cooking, and baking. This challenge has allowed me to spend more time at home, which has definitely turned in to me cooking a lot more.

And now, another glorious weekend has arrived. I hope the weather will be great, and we can spend some time outdoors in this fabulous, fall setting. I just started the crock pot again this morning with a whole roasting chicken, carrots, potatoes, and seasoned it with rosemary, thyme, and sage. Yum, dinner at six :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 8...

It's official! I have made it past the first week. Let's recap. I started with $21.00 in my wallet on Day 1. I had a yard sale on Day 4. I made $22.00 at the yard sale, and spent $10.00 of it. I currently have $33.00 in my wallet. Not bad for week 1. Week 2's adventure will be listing household items on eBay. So far I have not spent any money on gas, and I have not gone to the grocery store for groceries (just the corner store with my yard sale profit). Day 1 someone bought me lunch, and Day 8 I got free concert tickets! I have clean closets, and I have caught up on DVD's I borrowed, and bought, but never had time to watch. I am going to set a goal for myself to raise $100.00 by the end of this challenge. I am almost a third of the way there, and I still have 23 days left. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky, and find some money lying around at the concert :)

Day 7...

Not spending any money can be rather boring, so i have plenty of time to visit mint.com to create a budget, and track my spending habits. Plus it's free, and that's in my budget! Hopefully tomorrow's post will be a little more exciting :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Days 5 and 6...

I took some time to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend. I had brunch outdoors, and spent the afternoon at a BBQ. I purchased some orange juice, the Sunday paper, and a baguette to make bruchetta. I still have $1.00 left to spend! Today my inner chef came out, and I made a recipe for pumpkin macaroni and cheese to accompany my bruchetta for meatless Monday. Not being allowed to spend money has given me more time to cook, clean out closets, and enjoy the outdoors. It has been a great first week, and a little more challenging than I expected. I guess it's time for me to list a few things on eBay to see if I can earn some more money to save and spend :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 4...

I guess I would consider the yard sale a success. It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day despite the looming fact of Hurricane Earl. We couldn't have asked for a better day. The turn out was ok too. We didn't have an ideal location, but the weather was on our side. Maybe Labor Day weekend is too late in the season for a yard sale?

I started the morning with $21.00 and some loose change, maybe two or three dollars worth and by one o'clock I had $44.95. So, according to my calculations and rounding to whole numbers, 45 minus 23 is 22, which means I have $11.00 to spend. I will save the other $11.00 plus the $21.00 that was in my wallet to begin with. At the end of Day 4, my savings is $32.00 and I have $11.00 to spend. Not too bad for only four days into my adventure. I think I will buy Sunday morning luxuries like the Sunday paper, and some orange juice.

Other benefits to the yard sale are clean closets and charitable donations. We ended up going to both The Salvation Army, and Goodwill. The Salvation Army would not take toys or stuffed animals but Goodwill takes just about anything. Oh yeah, this was a multi-family yard sale, so the net profit for everyone involved was over $100.00. Just thought I would add that in because $22.00 is not a great total for five hours of work.

Next step eBay auctions...free listings until September 7th!  It must be an omen :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 3...

Happy Friday!!! A long weekend is ahead of us, and the sky's the limit. There are a ton of preparations that go into a yard sale. The ad is in the paper, check. We got a permit, check. The signs are made, check. I got change from the bank, check. (Oh yeah, I forgot that I had $21.00 in my wallet when I started this challenge, so I decided to use that for change for the yard sale. That, and all the quarters I could find.)

Now we just need it not to rain, and to have a great turn out. I have already decided that anything that doesn't sell is going straight to The Salvation Army. All that is left to do is hang the signs, put out the goods, and sell, sell, sell :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 2...

The second day proved to be a little more difficult. I found myself once again stuck in old habits, perusing eBay mid-afternoon and checking out my watch list. Two items I bid on before I started my spend fast had ended, and luckily for me I didn't win either of them. I need to add some excitement to this challenge, so I can stick to it. Sort of like a diet, I need motivation and rewards. I have always been a sucker for instant gratification, hence the shopping habit, although I do take pride in finding ridiculously cheap bargains.

Rule #3

I may participate in yard sales, consignment sales, and eBay sales. If I sell any items, I can spend half of the profit (wisely of course) and I must save the other half.

I like this rule. I figure it is a win/win situation. It will help me start a small savings, which is one of the benefits I hoped to gain from this challenge.  And it will also allow me to buy gas and groceries from profit, hopefully resulting in a net gain at the end of 30 days. I will go through my stuff and get rid of the things that need to be getting rid of.

So...Yard Sale, 9/4, 8-1, Rain or Shine :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 1...

Sweet Success! Day one has come and gone with much success. It was easy enough to make it through the first day, and ironically enough someone even bought me lunch!

Rule #2

I can accept breakfast, lunch, or dinner when offered.

This doesn't mean that I always have to accept when offered, but it will allow me to on occasion without feeling guilty. I have read before that you should never refuse money, and for the purpose of this experiment food = money.

One thing I did today to help limit temptation was to unsubscribe from all the e-mails I receive soliciting daily sales and bargains. No more Rue La La or Gilt for this reformed shopper.

I love September and this was a great way to start the month. I was able to come home, make dinner, watch a movie that I have been meaning to watch for the past three weeks and blog about my new found passion for saving instead of spending :)