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Day 29 (and slight fail)

July 30th, 2012 at 09:45 am

Dang. It's not going to happen. I'm going to be close, but I'm not going to keep it under $300. Frown I have to get gas, but I spent $7 on sunglasses yesterday. Bf wanted to go out on the boat again, so he called his friend and off we went.

On Saturday I learned that sunglasses are very nice to have on the boat because you're not squinting your eyes against the wind. I don't own any sunglasses. So I spent $7 on a pair of cheap ones. I knew what I was doing, so I take total responsibility, but I'm disappointed none-the-less. I need to get gas--about $5 should get me to work and back tomorrow. So, I'm going to go over by $3.

You could say that if I took my can money and used it, I wouldn't be going over. Or if I didn't put all my change into my change jar, I might have been OK.

I'm going to look at this as a learning lesson and not an epic fail. I know there are other things I could have done to not put me so close, but as my first time trying this I think I did OK.

Two more days! I wonder if there will be a spending backlash against all that I have not bought this month?

Day 29 Numbers:

Spend: $7
Left: $2
In: $0

What day is it? Oh yeah, Day 28

July 28th, 2012 at 05:27 pm

The past few days have been a whirl. Bf bought a power boat a few states away from us. We left Thursday night, slept about four hours, drove the rest of the way, picked up the boat, and came home. There is nothing quite like a long road trip to both make you spend money and save money. I spent $4 on things to drink while on the road. Bf bought most of the food, since this was "his" trip.

It wasn't quite what I was planning when I took a vacation day, but sometimes you do stuff for the people you love even when you don't want to do them.

I spent $15 at the grocery store for milk, cheese, and crackers on our way home last night.

Today was (of course) spent on the water. Bf needed to play with his new toy. We pretty much spent all day in the boat. I didn't spend anything today. I will admit here that I am not a boat person, so this isn't something that gets me all excited. It's fine, but I would never go on my own.

I need to save the $9 for gas for the Bug. That should put me at $0. Now to just not spend any money except that $9 for the next three days. It is not going to be easy, but I'm going to do house cleaning/ organizing stuff tomorrow. Monday is work and Tuesday is work and spin. I think I can; I think I can.

Day 26, 27, 28 Numbers:

Spend: $19
Left: $9
In: $1.20 cans, found 14 cents

Nothing exciting here

July 26th, 2012 at 05:55 am

Another NSD yesterday. Went to work, hiked on the hiking trails on campus at lunch, went to yoga after work, went home right after yoga. Nothing exciting to see here. Isn't that the way personal finance is sometimes? It isn't always lots of wow and things you can show off, it's the things you don't do. I think in one of the Tightwad Gazettes, Amy Dacyczyn talks about it. How she had to hang laundry in her indoor hanging laundry room a ton of times because it was an "active" tightwad thing to do. She suggested they stand at the chip aisle and film the family's shopping cart zooming past because they didn't shop down that aisle.

Since I'm feeling a little unexciting anyway, I thought I would ramble on about my normal spending/personal finance stuff I do. Gotta brag about myself somewhat!

1. I put 15% into my retirement account at work.
2. I collect change in a jar and turn it in to the bank on March 1st and September 1st.
3. I use the library heavily
4. I shop at Goodwill.
5. I paid off my credit card last March and have not carried a balance since.
6. I have saved $3000 since January into an emergency fund/savings account.
7. The Bug is 9 years old and has 130,000 miles, but I have no intention of getting rid of it. I love my Bug!

What I don't do so well
1. I eat out at least once a week. Usually not expensive, but I do eat out.
2. I tend to spend a lot on shoes. Not many shoes, but my work shoes are Danskos and my running shoes run over $100.
3. I can be "cheap." I'm trying to catch myself, but I do sometimes still do something cheap--not tightwaddy, but cheap. I know there is a difference.
4. I sometimes get jealous of people who seem to be able to buy whatever they want, whenever they want it. I tell myself that they might be in debt or maybe they've saved a while to get the thing, but I still feel a bit of envy when someone I know shows off something kinda expensive they've bought. Or a vacation they've been on.

Day 25 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $28
In: $0

One Week to Go!

July 25th, 2012 at 06:45 am

Thanks for the encouragement!!!! I'm feeling more positive today; I can do this!

Yesterday I didn't spend any money. Went to work, went to spin class after work, went right home after spin. No spending and no real desire to spend.

I have figured out what I absolutely need to buy to get through the end of the month. I need to buy milk and some cheese for bf's tacos. I think that's it! I have a lot of food still in the house, so we're good there.

I have Friday off of work and I think I'll just hang out at home and chill. Saturday is a family party at the lake and I need to bring a dish. I think I'll make blueberry pound cake, since I have a lot of blueberries right now. Sunday looks like another dirt bike track day. Then I just have to get through Monday and Tuesday!

I get paid on Monday. This is the "rent" paycheck, so I'll pay bf my portion of the household expenses, plus his birthday money. I told him that for his birthday I would help to pay for new dirt bike boots, so this check takes care of that. I'm not including it in my spending because I'm not including a gift that should have actually hit in June--but he didn't decide what he wanted until now. I'll take out my normal amount for two weeks of spending ($240), but I won't spend any of it until August 1st.

That $240 is for gas, groceries, and anything else I feel like buying for two weeks. I take it out in cash so that I'm aware of how much I'm spending. It usually works for me. It'll feel like a fortune after this month!

Day 24 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $28
In: found a dime and four pennies

It's getting harder!

July 23rd, 2012 at 03:27 pm

Did a rather thoughtless thing today. I went to work without a lunch. Not a smart thing to do. Especially since I was going to the grocery store at lunch (out of coffee?!? Emergency!). In addition, it's HOT out there. I admit, I don't like heat. I'm a fall girl, myself. So add heat + grocery shopping (not my favorite thing to do) and yeah, I bought stuff not absolutely necessary.

Now I see the talk of spend a lot less at the beginning, because the end of the month gets harder. I haven't gone completely bare bones spending (Panera, McDonalds) but I'm having a lot harder time not wanting what "I can't have." The spoiled brat is coming out a bit. In addition, I bought a diet coke. It's a slippery slope for me. I'm definitely an all-or-nothing person. The Diet Coke on Saturday broke the ice.

Tomorrow is another day! I haven't spent all out, so I can still survive. I am in awe of those who can do this with others involved (husbands, kids) and keep it under $250 or $300. I only have myself to control and it's getting tougher!

Grocery store purchases--$20:
Box of Clif Bars
Bag of coffee beans
Diet coke
Pretzel thins
Red Pepper Hummus
Blueberries (these last four things were my lunch)

Day 23 Numbers:

Spend: $20
Left: $28
In: found two pennies (one at the grocery store!)

Hard working Sunday

July 22nd, 2012 at 05:37 pm

Since yesterday we went to the track, today was doing all the chores that didn't get done yesterday. Cleaning, yard work, some mending, etc etc. I'm tired, but I didn't spend any money!

Day 22 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $48
In: nothing

Day 19

July 20th, 2012 at 07:10 am

It was a NSD yesterday, but it won't be today! I NEED to get cat food, so a trip to the market is in order. I'm going to take the bus to the grocery store on my lunch hour to go get it at a cheaper price than the local grocery store here in town. It doesn't cost me anything to ride the bus, and riding the bus makes it so that I can't buy much--so off I go!

I have found that if I can resist spending money before I go home, I'm almost home free. Once I'm home after work, I don't like to go out again so I am unlikely to spend money. I also tend to stay away from the internet because I'm on the computer all day at work and turning on my 'puter isn't very tempting.

On the other side, when I do break a NSD I tend to go all out. I'll get gas even if I'm above 1/4 tank just so I don't spend the money on a NSD. Or, like today, since I NEED to get cat food, I'll also pick up other things (stuff to make enchiladas, more milk, lettuce).

Day 19 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $91
In: found a dime and a penny

Hoping for a NSD today

July 19th, 2012 at 06:10 am

Yesterday I got gas for the Bug ($25) and spent $16 at the Farmers Market. I bought an onion, three big tomatoes, a bunch of grape tomatoes, a pint of blueberries, kettle corn, and a bunch of pretty flowers. Yeah, the flowers and kettle corn were completely unnecessary. But worth it!

I was feeling pretty confident--in fact I was thinking that if I do this again, I should give myself less money to make it more of a challenge. Then I realized I'm going to need to get gas at least one more time and I have 12 more days to go. I have lots of food in the house, but I'm always going to need to buy more milk and fresh fruits and veggies. I was even thinking that I had enough money for some Chinese takeout on Friday. Now, maybe not. Better save my money, just in case!

Day 18 Numbers:

Spend: $41
Left: $91
In: found 2 pennies

Another NSD day

July 17th, 2012 at 05:04 pm

I've mentioned before that it is easy for me to have a NSD when I stay home all day. It's also easy to have a NSD when you work out after work and get all sweaty. I don't like going shopping (even grocery shopping) when I'm in my bicycling shorts and clip-in shoes. Not to mention the sweat rolling down the side of my face.

So, no spending today. I have to get gas tomorrow--I can't wait another day. But it is also the farmers market at work and I do like to support that.

Day 17 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $132
In: found a dime and 3 pennies

Day 16

July 16th, 2012 at 03:18 pm

Spendy day 16. I worked a 1/2 day, then went to the eye doctor and the car dealership for the Bug's 130,000 mile service. While I was waiting for the Bug to get done, I hung out with my bf and we ate lunch and talked.

I brought back cans today--most were found on the side of the road while I biked to the library on Saturday. I found six cents on my walk out to my car after my 1/2 day at work.

My eye appointment was easy and quick--I may even get a rebate back for my contacts!

Then I went to Sams. Last time I went, I renewed my membership and came home that very same day to an offer for a $15 gift card if I renewed my membership. So I brought that with me to see if they would still give me the $15 gift card. They did!! It paid for most of my kitty litter; I only had to spend $1 on the tax! Smile

Then I went to Goodwill to find a new squirter for my doughboy soap holder that sits next to my sink. I broke the squirter, so he's been sitting on the side of my sink without being able to be used. It now works--kinda sorta. It isn't as smooth as I would like, but it was worth 52 cents to try the fix.

Then I went to VW so they could work on the Bug. It's just his 130,000 check-up. They changed the oil and gave him a bath, but didn't find anything more wrong with him. This, like the eye doctor, dentist, and massage are not counted in my $300 because it is maintenance and I'm not putting those off just to stay under $300.

Went to lunch with my bf and talked, talked, talked. Got the call from VW that the Bug was done, so she dropped me off at the dealership. I went grocery shopping, then came home. I still need to get gas, so I'll probably be spending more money tomorrow. It is just too hot here to keep running around. Ug.

Not counted: $39 for car maintenance; $280 in eye check-up and a year's worth of contacts.

Counted: $9 for lunch; $1 Sams; $1 Goodwill; $27 Meijers

Meijer list:
5 gallons water
1 can corn
3 cans cream of potato soup
2 packages of cream cheese (potato/shrimp chowder is in my future)
package of flour tortillas
big container of plain yogurt
container of half and half
2 packages of instant chocolate pudding (need the yogurt, half and half, and pudding for pudding pops)
almond milk
baking soda (used most of mine to do the vinegar/baking soda down the kitchen drain to clean it up and make it smell better)

Day 16 Numbers:

Spend: $38
Left: $132
In: $1.30 in cans; found a nickel and a penny

Half way through

July 15th, 2012 at 06:21 pm

I know July has 31 days, but I'm an optimist!

I'm half way through my low spend month and so far, I've done OK. I think it helped that the first week was spent with my Mom at the beach house.

I have more than 1/2 of my money left, so I think I'm doing well. I've read that you really need to underspend at the beginning because it gets tougher near the end of the month. I think I did well by dividing up my money the way I did. I get another infusion tomorrow when I get paid, which has to get me through two weeks.

Day 15 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $170
In: $0

Day at Home

July 14th, 2012 at 04:13 pm

A day at home usually means a day that no spending occurs. I had set a few goals for the day including riding my bike to the library and going for a run. I did both before the day got too hot to move. It's 94 here, which is way too hot. The house is at 86, so I escaped to the basement where it's a bit cooler. We don't have central air, just window a/c in the bedroom. It's not horribly bad here in the basement, so I'm still not lobbying for a big a/c unit.

I am looking around and seeing that I have more than enough to do here at home. I have magazines and books to read, movies to watch, crafts to do, CDs to listen to, cookbooks to look at and plan meals with, plus all the stuff I don't want to do--like cleaning and maintenance. I could be locked up at home for weeks and not get through everything. How do I even have time to shop?

I did do some laundry and dishes. Oh, and I learned how to make my own iced chai tea latte. The $3.50 at Panera for it just about made my brain explode! I found a recipe online using tea bags and spices and made my own. Tastes pretty good--definitely worth giving up the $3.50 one!!!

Day 14 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $170
In: $0


July 13th, 2012 at 06:41 pm

Before I decided to do a low-spend month, I had made an appointment to get a massage. It was supposed to be a non-food treat for the exercise I've been doing. So, even though I spent $66 (including tip) for the massage, I'm not taking it out of my $300 for the month. I'm kinda sad because I have wanted massages to be a big non-food treat and EVERYBODY loves them, right? Not me. Sure, my shoulders feel better afterwards, but it seems I'm missing the "noodle-y massage" gene and I'm just not thinking it it worth it. Now I have to think of other non-food treats.

Anyway, I also did grocery shopping today, so I did spend some money. I also took myself to Panera Bread for dinner since it was already 8:00 by the time I got out of the grocery store. I was so hungry at 3 today at work that I bought a candy bar from the vending machine. Stomach growingly hungry. Gotta pack more carrots.

Panera: $13 thai chopped chicken salad, iced chai tea latte

Grocery store: $33

Bacon (guess who's having BLTs!)
Almond milk
Bag o' apples
Diet 7 up (I was starting to feel ooky and thought some fizz might make me feel less so)
Ice cream bars
2 boxes shell pasta
Spaghetti sauce
Sour cream
Chocolate Chips

Vending machine at work: $1 candy bar

Day 13 Numbers:

Spend: $47
Left: $170
In: Found a dime and a penny

Back to NSDs

July 12th, 2012 at 03:30 pm

Had to go to the dentist today. At my checkup last week, he decided to replace my last silver filing. It cost $65.50, but since it was medical, I'm not counting it in my $300. My reasoning is that I have a Health Savings Account and that's where the money came from. I'm not going to put off medical stuff (or car work) just to have my low spend month.

On my way back to work, I was thinking how nice it would be to get a Diet Coke from McDonalds as a reward for surviving the drill. See, I'm not only doing a low spend month, but I am also trying to give up my Diet Coke habit. Luckily, I have a coupon for a free iced tea because I'm a member of Speedway Speedy Rewards and they send out freebie coupons at the beginning of every month. I saved one just for such an occasion. I got the iced tea and nothing else and that satisfied me. Smile

Day 12 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $217
In: $0

Managed another NSD

July 10th, 2012 at 05:15 pm

Today was hard because I really wanted to spend some money on some junk food. I'm tired and that always makes it harder to stick with something good for me--whether it be with money or food or both! But I successfully resisted by eating the almonds in my desk drawer at work and drinking a bit of coffee.

It also helped that I had to come straight home to meet the dump truck driver who was delivering our fill dirt. No time to stop at the grocery store for chips and dip (my weakness).

Found two dimes on the ground and took back the rest of the cans from the lake house. They had been saving them all week and Mom didn't want to deal with them before they left for home. So I took 'em and returned them yesterday and today. Almost $17 worth!

Came home, made some homemade pizza with the Tightwad Gazette pizza dough recipe and store bought sauce. Now I'm watching a taped Antiques Roadshow and the All Star game.

Day 10 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $230
In: $11 in returnable cans and I found 20 cents on the ground.

Finally! Spending!

July 9th, 2012 at 04:16 pm

I knew this was coming. I had to spend some money today.

$25 for gas
$35 for food

What food did I buy? I love CBs lists, so I'm going to create one.

4 Lunchables (bf takes these to work-he doesn't have access to a microwave)
Box of Clif Bars (again, bf)
Almond Milk
Cheese (pizza and taco)
Water (our well water is just icky--even with a Britta pitcher)
Parmesan cheese
Bag of frozen "fast food" fries

I scored a $5 of $25 coupon for Save A Lot, so I went there. Everything was on my list except the butter and the blueberries, but I figure that's my "free" $5.

Day 9 Numbers:

Spend: $60
Left: $230
In: $6.90 in returnable cans and I found 13 cents on the ground.

Day 8

July 9th, 2012 at 05:36 am

Another day of no spending. Hung out at home and worked on house stuff. We got the doors and windows on the shed, I did some cleaning of the house (yuck, bathroom scrubbing), and read more of the Non Consumer Advocate blog. I'm reading through the whole archives--I am totally in love with that blog.

I need to admit that it is easier for me to do this than most. I am only responsible for myself when it comes to money. My bf's finances are completely and totally separate from mine. So when I say I had a NSD, it only applies to me. Bf could spend $100 and it wouldn't matter to me. It works for us. I used to be married to a spender and we had a lot of conflict about money. I'm not in any hurry to merge my finances with anyone.

Also, I am not responsible for taking care of any children or parents or anyone but me and bf. Makes cleaning, cooking, and planning much easier. So, I admit, I have it easier than most. I know it.

Day 8 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $290
In: $0

End of week one!

July 8th, 2012 at 06:47 am

I have somehow managed to get through week one with only spending $10. Wow. I admit, having No Spend Days aren't brand new to me, but I've never had this many in one week. I learned about NSDs from reading all your blogs and it really does lower your spending.

Yesterday was easily a NSD since we didn't go anywhere. It was wicked hot, so part of the day we spent in the air conditioned bedroom (the only room in our house with air) and I spent a few hours in the basement.

I read my library book, but most of the day I have been reading the archives of the Non Consumer Advocate blog. I do not know how I have missed this blog before, but I'm loving it! Very inspiring to keep costs down and the things she does to Goodwill finds are amazing. I've got many more hours of reading to do.

Before I started the Low Spend Month, I did check out a few books on frugality and thrift to read to keep me on track. Of course, I'm a heavy library user. I always have been. The online catalog and placing holds have been the best thing since sliced bread. I own the three tightwad gazettes, but in individual books. I love that they are individual books, but I'm missing the last 50 or so pages of the Complete Tightwad Gazette, so sometimes I check that out to read the success stories.

The first one to be read will be "99 ways to a simple lifestyle." It's a book that came out in the 70s and put out by the government. It doesn't really have earth shattering things in it, but for some reason I just love the line drawings of the goofy looking dude.

Today we're going to work more on the shed (need to hang the door and put up trim). Thank goodness the man decided to wait until it was cooler (only 85 today!). I think we'll be staying close to home again.

Day 7 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $290
In: $0

Another beach day

July 7th, 2012 at 06:02 am

Another "easy not to spend money when you're busy" day. Or in my case, easy to not spend money when you spend time with family at the beach. Yesterday was the last day at the lake house, so the family gathered to sit on the beach and swim in the water.

I love (and even like!) my family. We're all talkers, so nothing makes us happy than to sit around and yap, yap, yap. A few years ago, my step-dad brought his friend up to ride a bicycle ride with him. The friend, seeing our family sitting around just talking, was amazed. He said his family goes to the movies so they don't have to talk to each other. We, however, don't shut up!

We don't have any plans for today, so I'm anticipating a no spend day today too. Almost through my first week and I've only spent $10 so far. Next week will be more spendy because I need to get gas for the Bug and there will be more food shopping to do.

I did have my first "wah" moment. My Bodum hot pot stopped working. :-( I use it all the time for tea, but also to make gatorade or other drink mixes. The powder dissolves better in the hot water, then I add ice and cold water to cool it down before sticking it in the frige. I am reduced to heating water up in a small saucepan. The Low Spend Month will give me a chance to research hot pots to see if I want to buy another Bodum. I only have a high end hot pot because my co worker received two of them for Christmas and sold me one pretty cheap. Do I need another high end one? Hmmmm.

Day 6 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $290
In: $9.50 REI dividend check (I'll probably just deposit this into my bank account and not include it in the $300 challenge)

Another day, another penny

July 4th, 2012 at 05:00 am

Thanks all for the warm welcome! I think I have the advantage, because I've been reading y'all for so long. I'm such a lurker.

It's easy not to spend money when you're busy. Wrote in my journal in the morning before work, went to work and walked at lunch. After work, I did my recycling, then went to yoga. Came home, ate ramen with spaghetti sauce. The ramen has been in the cupboard since we moved here--over 2 years ago. I thought I would eat up the older pantry stuff early in the month while I'm still inspired.

We organized the shed parts so we're ready to build tomorrow. It's supposed to be hot-hot-hot, so lots of gatorade and water is in my future.

Day 3 numbers:

Spent: nothing
Left: $292
In: found a nickel and a penny (my walking route takes me past meters and people drop change pretty consistently).

Day 2

July 3rd, 2012 at 05:23 am

It's always easy in the beginning....

Yesterday I worked, then had a dentist appointment in the afternoon. I knew I had to go to the grocery store, so I ran in and only got the 3 things that were on my list (milk, almond milk, 2 cans of mushrooms). When I got home, I did a bunch of little jobs until the man got home. We then worked on the shed we're building in the backyard until 9 PM. Watched a little TV (Antiques Roadshow) and went to bed.

I get paid on Mondays and July is a 3 paycheck month. Yay! That means almost one whole paycheck is a savings paycheck. Yippee! My strategy for the low spend month is to use $140 in cash for the first two paychecks and $20 from the last paycheck to get through July.

Spending: Grocery Store $8

Note about spending amounts: I save my change in a jar. I "allow" myself to use change if I have it that same day, but I clean out my wallet every night. So many amounts will be rounded up, with the change going into the change jar.

In: found a penny; $5 Amazon from Swagbucks

Jumping in with both feet

July 2nd, 2012 at 06:09 am

I'm not really new here--I've been reading the blogs for years, but never gathered the courage to blog. But now I have a reason to blog!

But I'm jumping in with both feet with a low spend month challenge a la Small Notebook blog. For the month of July, I will limit all spending to $300 and this blog will mark my progress as I try to do that. I was inspired by the other No Spend Month blogs and websites I've seen and since June was a spendy month, I need to make up for it.

My rules:
1. $300 for spending (gas, groceries, household, personal)

2. Does not include appointments (dentist, eye doctor, car maintenance, massage)

3. If I should be lucky enough to get gift cards, they are not included in the $300

4. Does not include gifts

A teeny tiny bit about me. I'm a 38 year old female who lives with her boyfriend, but our finances are completely separate. I was married for 13 years and divorced about 5 years ago. I work full time and take classes part time towards a 2nd degree. No kids, but I manage to keep nicely busy with friends and family and my own stuff.

Can't wait to track my progress (or lack thereof!) of my first low spend month!

July 1 (day 1): No spending at all!

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