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Monthly Archives: February 2013

February is off to a shaky start so far. It hasn’t been awful – and most importantly, I haven’t given up – but it’s been rough.

On the very first day of February, I spent an unexpected day at the ER with one of my nieces. (After a lot of stress, several doctor appointments, a lot of very nice medical professionals and one very rude one, I can say she’ll be just fine.) Somehow I made it out of the door early that morning with crayons and coloring books to keep the munchkin (and myself) entertained, but I didn’t pack a lunch. I even remembered my phone charger, which never happens, but no snacks. Between being released from the ER and a medical appointment, we went out to eat … and I let my brother-in-law pay. I feel a little guilty about that. (Thanks, Travis!)

This whole mooching thing isn’t really what I wanted to learn from my Spending Freeze and actually really bothers me, but I’ll deal with that in a later post.

After lunch we still had a little time to spare, so we went to the mall. Listen, it was conveniently located and the temperature outside was 19ºF. I figured I could window shop and keep my bank account unadulterated. As soon as we walked in, my niece steered our course to the counter at the Great American Cookie Company, and then looked up at me with her big blue eyes.

I sternly explained my Spending Freeze and told her no.

YUM.

YUM.

So I lied. Did I mention she spent the morning in the ER and has gigantic blue eyes? Or that she’s seven and thinks money grows on trees? I let her pick one out, and she chose the largest one she could see.

$3.82

I don’t feel bad about it. Maybe a little, but only because I feel like I should feel bad. Not because I do.

The very next day at job #2, I was offered three extra hours. I took it to make up for the whole cookie buying situation, but I was worried about lunch – I hadn’t brought anything to eat and now wouldn’t be going home till well past normal feeding time. Logan happened to also be working that day and generously bought me something to eat. (He bought a can of soup and spent a dollar and some change – he would’ve happily splurged on something else, but again, I hate mooching, so that’s what I picked.)

And yes, I could have theoretically bought it myself and counted it as “groceries” I guess, but I would have chosen to go hungry just to stick to my plan. I’m stubborn like that. Blame my father. No really, it’s his fault I do this. Hopefully though, I’ve learned my lesson… and will just start carrying extra food with me everywhere. Which I really ought to do anyway for emergency situations like when my lunch is gross.

So if you see a girl with a stockpile of soup and crackers and peanut butter in her trunk, it’s probably me.

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For 31 days (and some change now, since I’m late writing this), I’ve been trying to SAVE SAVE SAVE, and I’m proud to announce that I only broke the Spending Freeze for $2.18! Congratulations to me, right? RIGHT?! Part of me is kind of disappointed that I even did that, but honestly I have done very well at making a drastic change in my habits. Plus, the ice cream was delicious.

I avoided all the clearance at Target even though I’m there every week (thank you, second job). One day this literally meant hanging up clothes in the women’s section without looking at the price tags or even paying attention to what I’m touching. Seriously, I tried to stare at the wall/people around me. Not creepy at all.

It’s also meant volunteering to work in absolutely any other section, although I am tempted by almost all of them. One day I saw a set of three blank notebooks on clearance for $3.48, and I managed, painful though it was, to walk away. VICTORY!

I also managed to pack a lunch every. single. day. Even though I haven’t bought groceries in two weeks and the cabinets are seriously bare, and one day my lunch was leftover corn, some cheese, and two rolls. That was Thursday, and as soon as I finished eating I was starving. And the little bit of liquid in the corn got all over the cheese somehow. It was gross. But I ate it anyway. Because I’m saving money. And it’s my own fault for not planning that out better and waking up late and having to rush to get to work on time and packing whatever I could find.

Also one day for lunch I ate a jar of peaches that expired in 2010. They still tasted fine to me, but since I’ve only lived in this apartment since 2011, I really don’t know where they came from. Yum?

And on the days I work both jobs – really long days where I’m on the clock from 8am to 10 or 10:30pm, it’s meant packing lunch and dinner. I don’t know why that is so much harder, but it is. If you pack a lunch and end up dissatisfied, it’s ok because you’ll be home in a few hours. Packing both stresses me out. What if I’m hungrier? What if I change my mind and don’t want this? Plus on those days I walk out of the house looking like I’m taking a mini vacation. Change of clothes including shoes, extra jacket for work #2 because it’s cold there, giant lunchbox, purse, work cell and personal cell. And of course I usually forget something and have to come back. Maybe one of my goals for February should be to actually pack all this up the night before…

ANYWAY, back to how I did on the Spending Freeze in my first month!
For the 31 days of January, I succeeded in saving a (drum roll, please) total of:

$208.66!

Not bad, right? For my first month?

Next month’s goals:

  • cut grocery spending – I’ll be trying out the idea of buying groceries for the whole month, which requires a level of planning I’m not sure I have in me and baffles me when it comes to produce
  • cut gas spending – by being more logical about combining errands, carpooling when possible, etc.
  • actually claim everything I deserve to be paid for at job #1 – I’m reimbursed for mileage but terrible at recording it, etc.

One month down, eleven more to go!
Advice welcome, especially on the grocery spending. Or anything, really.