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January Spending Freeze

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Yuck… December’s money ended so ugly that I don’t even want to talk about it. (Not even because I splurged on other people. I traveled a lot and treated myself. I deserve it?) In order to recover, I’m joining this spending freeze!

I like that it’s flexible and leaves room for each participant to set their own rules. My rules:

  1. Disney Doesn’t Count. I have my Disney account fully funded (I hope! :|) and have pre-purchased a lot of things like park tickets and such. (And obviously my flight/race/hotel/rental have all been taken care of.) Anything left in the account post-Disney will stay there for my next trip.
  2. $20 MAX per week on food. I’m trying to eat through my pantry (remember last January’s pantry challenge? there are even stranger things in there this year) and this will be for both groceries and restaurants. One thing I have learned is that I really enjoy eating out, and I really enjoy my Starbucks treats, and it’s more worth it for me to cut back elsewhere than to be upset about not getting these treats. Plus, since it’s my birthday month, I should be getting lots of freebies!
  3. No. New. Workout. Clothes. (With one exception, if the lululemon Speed Tights or Pace Setter Skirt go back to markdown. I have been coveting those bad.) And really, I can survive the month without any extra clothes/entertainment spending. Hopefully Disney will sate me for the whole month!
  4. Race registrations are okay. I have two to register for this month, and they are planned expenses.
  5. Instead of impulse shopping, adopt impulse student loan payments. I am really looking forward to knocking my next smallest loan dead this year.
  6. Be smart with my gym money – some of you might know that I won a six month membership to the gym I already attend (and love sooooo much!) at my company holiday party. Originally I saw that extra $78 as workout clothes money, but I really need to direct it elsewhere.

So that’s really less of a “freeze,” I guess, but gives me some guidelines for more mindful spending. Like I said, I plan to knock out at least one of my student loans this year, and I want to get my emergency fund re-fully funded after the car and phone fiascos from last year. While I don’t have specific resolutions for the year (too much pressure,) those are definitely two goals I am committing to.

Are you embarking on any spending challenges in January or for all of 2014?

January 2, 2014
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Where Are You, Debit Card?

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Soooo it looks like another accidental spending limit challenge since I’ve lost my debit card and the soonest I’ll get it in the mail is the 18th. Happily, I have my food stockpile to eat off of, some money in other accounts to get gas and other essentials. It’s just bad timing since my mom comes in on the 19th, and since it’s so late today, I can’t request a new card until Monday. I could have reported it today, but my brilliant packing self left the box of important documents (including all of my financial info, like my debit card number) was left back up north because we forgot about it. I did transfer some money over to my ING account, but that won’t even be available until Wednesday. I have some cash for incidentals like gas, but otherwise, I can’t even shop online. ūüôĀ I can’t even just go to a branch to withdraw money because I have a Michigan bank and there are no branches here.

Plus it’s a good test challenge for me to see how it will feel to leave my card at home to see if that helps me to stop shopping (although I really don’t feel like I do all that much extra shopping anyway these days. At the end of work, all I want to do is come home.)

So today, I did do some buying (Bath & Body Works candle sale and bras at Target, where I used my RedCard) and a lot of wandering in and out of stores. I also go to log 2.5 miles and was really really happy with my time. Of course, that’s on the treadmill, and it’s always so much different when you’re actually running, so I’m going to try to do some indoor track running next week.

And it also¬†coincides¬†with my first full weekend off since December! When I would finally have time to do things like shop. So instead, I’m hoping to get some Blogilates workouts in, a DIY manicure/pedicure, and some cleaning before my momma comes.

How’s your weekend? Have you ever had to live without your primary source of money?

March 10, 2013
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Freezer/Pantry Challenge

Posted in Food, Money by

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When I was reading blogs at work yesterday, I saw someone (I don’t remember who! but this seems like a pretty obvious idea to me) talk about doing a freezer/pantry challenge to use up items and prolong the time before they grocery shopped again. With roommate away on vacation for two weeks, it seems like as good a time as any to eat through what we have and try and go until the new year without grocery shopping. We’ve kept it pretty bare-bones for the last week or so anyway because I was away for the holidays, so there wasn’t a reason for extreme grocery shopping, but I’m going to try to just eat off what is in the fridge, freezer, and cabinets for a couple days. (Ideally I would do it until she comes back, so we can truly figure out how much it will cost to replenish, but I don’t think I’m that creative culinarily.)

For night one, I had some leftover pierogies, a turkey burger sans bun, and grilled (frozen) peppers and onions. Was so good and I now want to only eat that for the rest of my life, but that’s not the point. Tonight I’m grilling up some hamburger and using a box of hamburger helper – not overly healthy or even that good, but needs to be eaten.

Have you found any meals that you love during a grocery challenge? How else do you keep your grocery spending low?

December 27, 2012
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