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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Eight months down, four to go! I GOT THIS.

(Just in case you’re new, the whole idea here is that I’m spending the year only purchasing essentials: groceries, rent, gas, etc. I have now done this for eight months and sometimes think I deserve a medal for being so awesome. Other times I think maybe I shouldn’t consider my one Dr.Pepper can a day habit to be “essential”…)

August was a really interesting month. I did a few odd jobs to make a little extra cash. I did a little pet sitting and one afternoon of babysitting. It added to my schedule and required a higher level of organization than I am used to, but I enjoyed all of it. Hanging out with adorable cats and funny dogs and well-behaved children (not necessarily at the same time) while getting paid? Yes, please! Easy on me, fun, and great for my bank account. Those are the best kind of jobs. And, as it turns out, it was very much needed this month.

Why did I need extra monies?

Logan’s truck, which for reasons unknown he loves like most people love their first-born, was breaking in half. Literally. I do not mean literally in the new grammatically incorrect sense that somehow actually means figuratively, a habit I find repulsive even though I have been guilty. I mean literally. The frame was rusting in two. The bed was starting to rest against the cab, and it was in danger of falling off. Nobody really wanted to fix it either. They weren’t even sure it was possible, and if it was possible they said the rust will return and kill his truck eventually. Here’s photo evidence so you can see the impending death of this hunk of metal:

This would be the frame nicely cracking in half.

truck crack

Is it better on the other side of the frame? Why, no! It’s almost entirely rust.

truck 1

We finally found a gentleman who would fix it. He was a saint. I would have asked for his picture if that wouldn’t have seemed creepy. He cut us a deal and gave the truck a little longer life while we save up to replace her. Fun fact: I learned during this process that Logan’s truck is a girl even though her name is Oliver. Who knew?

That repair cost all the extra money I made this month plus a little dip into savings. It was a good lesson for me in having a healthy emergency fund, and I’m thankful we were able to fix this with cash on short notice. No credit cards for us! But it means my savings for August was $0. Disappointing, but I’m grateful too. It would have been so much worse if we would have had to charge the fix or not been able to pay for it at all!

In other August news, I am realizing how lucky I am to live in a place where there’s something interesting and FREE to do every single weekend. At least, that’s how it’s worked out so far! I never feel stuck in my house. There is always something going on (farmer’s market, random little festivals, free music, etc.) or some new place to explore. This little beauty was taken at a local wildlife refuge that we wandered around one afternoon!

sunflowers

We’ve somehow occupied every free day up to this point, and we haven’t even made it to the mountains yet. With fall coming, it’s moving higher and higher on our to-do list. Anybody know any great places to go?

For the sake of honesty, Logan bought me food at a real live restaurant this month. Twice. I will have to admit, we were like relapsing addicts and may have done it again once in September. Falling off the wagon is so easy! I don’t think he regrets it, though. I can’t say I blame him considering he pretty much cooks all of our (edible) meals. I am the one that actually goes to the store, though. Since neither of us like that chore, I consider us to be even.

Eight months into this little Spending Freeze, and I have started to feel a little stuck. I am still saving, but not as much as I was before thanks to taking a pay cut to move. I have cut out everything I know to cut. I don’t buy new clothes. I don’t eat out (unless someone else buys). I pack my lunch and snacks for work every single day. I have learned to avoid shopping malls and the fun sections of Target. I don’t buy gifts. I run errands logically to save on gas. I’m learning to buy groceries based on sales and promotions. What else can I do?

A friend sent me a link to a website called Mr.MoneyMustache. He is my financial guru hero. Seriously, that little gray underline on his name is a link and you should click it. I put it there because I love you and think you should read everything he has to say. If you are interested in all things frugal and like someone with a little more zest and fewer kitchy catch-phrases than Dave Ramsey, you should seriously spend some time checking him out. I have been reading through all his blog posts for the past month or so, thinking about my financial goals, and realizing that this Spending Freeze has turned into a lifestyle for me as opposed to a year long experiment. (Did I just admit that this project has changed how I look at money? It has. We should talk about that sometime.)

I am trying to soak up what he has to say and am still reading through it, but I did take one itsy bitsy teeny tiny step this month recommended by MMM. (He refers to himself as MMM for short. Since we’re friends because he’s my new idol, I call him that too.) I set up a clothesline in my backyard! I would show you a picture for proof, but it feels weird to literally put my laundry on the internet. Plus it’s dark outside. I built in myself from stuff we had lying around, hung my very first load of laundry, and proudly texted my mother. She promptly killed all my joy by telling me the one and only time she used a clothesline, her laundry came back in the house with infested with spiders. (shudders) My laundry was fine, thank goodness. Assuming I can figure out how to hang a line in the house this winter without damaging the hardwood floors, I’m excited about this money saving domestic habit. Do you have any other ideas? Big or small, it’s crunch time on this Spending Freeze, and I’m willing to try anything!

Next month the savings is going to go up for sure because (drumroll!), I’ve got a second job! An insanely adorable, you’re going to be super jealous job. You’ll have to check back for the September recap for news on that!

P.S. I’m over 50% to my goal! Check it out! :)
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