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Monthly Archives: March 2013

I find myself talking about my Spending Freeze a lot. I don’t mean to be THAT girl, but if you ask me what’s going on, I end up rambling about it because that’s where my brain and energy and everything is. I’m working, saving money, and fundraising. And it almost never fails that people respond by telling me, “I could never do that” or “I do not have that self-control”.

For all of those people, I am here today to make you feel better.

I give you a list of things I CANNOT do:

  • hang up my clothes/put them in the hamper immediately
  • stick to an exercise routine… or exercise period
  • cook meals that don’t come in a box or frozen
  • send food back in a restaurant when it’s obviously undercooked or not my order
  • be on time
  • remember to wear deodorant (but don’t worry, I carry a travel size stick of it in my purse)

I am stubborn, but I do not have amazing self-control or discipline. I make deals with myself all the time to try to improve. Last spring, when new sundresses hit the stores, I made a “hang-up-your-clothes-for-30-days-in-a-row-and-you-can-buy-a-new-dress” deal. I managed to do it (and still love that dress), but clothes started piling up again on day 31. I’ve made similar bargains with myself about exercise with less success. Much less.

I’m slowly, s l o w l y, trying to learn to cook. (The one meal I can claim with success in in the slow cooker right now! And if you tell me throwing things in a slow cooker doesn’t really count as cooking, I’ll punch you in the face. Give me my little victory!) In February, I chopped my first onion. Seriously, first time ever. I don’t own a cutting board. Or a good knife. And, while we’re on the subject, thank you to the person that sits around and writes articles like “How to Dice an Onion”. I love whoever you are.

The not-sending-my-food-back is part of a larger I don’t like to inconvenience people thing that makes me the best group project partner and very worst delegator. I’ll never be on time to anything ever. And I don’t know why it’s so hard to remember deodorant. It just is. I think because I’m still an awkward pre-teen at heart.

So I am not amazing or have special powers or crazy self-control. (Send me those little Reese’s Cup eggs that are only out at Easter or a case of Dr.Pepper, and I’ll prove it.) I’m able to do this Spending Freeze because I really, really want it.

I’m saving up for KENYA, and I want to go so bad that it’s completely worth not eating out or buying a new shirt even if it is on sale and super cute. I am fundraising for my time there, but I don’t want to use the money from my friends and family for things other than getting to Kenya and being there for three months. So that means that while I’m gone, I need to be able to pay my bills for those three months myself. That’s not cheap. And since I’m probably going to have to quit my job to go, I need a little cushion for when I get back too.

So far I have my $1000 emergency fund and most of one month’s bills! I’m getting there, slowly. Some days it’s no fun, but for the most part… it’s totally worth it.

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Two months down! I am officially 1/6 of the way through this Spending Freeze. For some reason putting it in a fraction makes it seem like I’ve gone further and am closer to the end. I’ll take whatever helps me power through.

My only unauthorized spending for the month was the $3.82 I spent on my niece’s gigantic cookie, making the year’s “Broke the Freeze” total — that’s how it’s labeled in my budget software (yeah, I have budget tools now, like a grown-up) — $6.00. I feel really good about that.

I managed to buy groceries at the beginning of the month, for the whole month! No really, that’s a big deal for me. Have I told you grocery shopping stresses me out? So much planning, thought, price-checking. For a while I’d been debating driving to the Kingsport’s (next city over’s) Target – since they actually sells groceries – to see if my employee discount would help overall. It was a good experiment, but not something I’ll do monthly because… my overall grocery expenses for February were a little over $1 less than January. (Dolla dolla bill y’all.) And I spent that driving there. Lesson learned.

However, I will say one thing for monthly grocery shopping — it feels great once it’s over. If you’re like me and hate walking around the grocery store (It’s cold, ok? I hate being cold.), once a month shopping is awesome. As much as I dreaded it, when I realized the second week in February that I didn’t have to spend part of my Saturday at the store… aaahhhhmazing. I’m looking into couponing a little — but as someone who cashiers, couponers are really, really annoying. No offense, folks, I’m sure you’re all lovely and charming to your cashiers, but most couponers lack your exceptional manners. I totally get that those other coupon loving people came to me JUST because they had this awesome coupon to get diapers/formula/soap/detergent/razors for super cheap, but maybe could you teach them to NOT yell at me when the computer doesn’t accept one or two of the fifty coupons?

Back to topic: I did not spend less on groceries, but I will stick to monthly shopping. Another goal for Feb. was to cut my gas spending, but thanks to work that did NOT happen. However, I did manage to claim all those miles so I’ll be/have been reimbursed!

For the 28 days of February, I managed to save a total of….  $345!

To be honest, I am amazed at that. I can rationalize how it’s because February is a short month but I still had the same monthly income… but I don’t care. I’m really proud of that number.

Speaking of being proud, for the sake of honestly, you should know that I log into my bank account/check my fancy budget software these days just to see how much I have in savings. Even though I know. And then I calculate how much I could put into savings at the end of the month if I don’t spend any more money. It’s so weird. I’m pretty desperate for a new pair of black dress flats for work, but when I start to browse, I remember how much I could put into savings if I don’t buy them. (Who am I?!)

March goals:

  • find two ways to make a little extra money
  • celebrate the boyfriend’s birthday cheaply
  • resist getting a haircut because I won’t need one yet – it’s a WANT, even if the $8 Jenny Lea Academy cut I got last month was pretty terrible and I fixed my bangs myself when I got home…

Thanks for the encouragement, friends! You have no idea how much it helps. :)