Saturday, December 26

Christmas is over.

It was a wonderful Christmas, without giving into the temptation of buying ever toy made for a 2 year old. ;) I don't think Kasen minded that he didn't wake up to toy overload. He appreciated the few things that he got, and that's good enough for me! I do wish I could've spent more, just to get a few nicer things for the other people on my list, but, I'm happy with not going broke for one day.
Now, we're trying to find a few things we need for our trip to Utah. I'm still having a hard time with the idea of spending money on it all, but I know it will be so much fun. Seeing how much Kasen enjoyed the little bit of snow we got in Texas this week gave me a glimpse at how much he'll love all the snow he's going to see there!

Wednesday, December 9

Christmas, The Year Without style.

I got a bonus check for $200, so I decided that would be my Christmas budget. I REALLY wanted to beat it... what a challenge! I can't post what I bought (don't wanna ruin any surprises), but I spent a whopping $130 on Christmas gifts for everyone (Kasen's 2 sets of grandparents & his Auntie, 2 adults for the family gift exchange, 3 kiddos, & Kasen). Yes, I DO rock - thankyouverymuch. I didn't originally include them in my budget, and I splurged big time on our family Christmas pajamas (they came out to $60), but I can add them in & still come out $10 under budget!!! I'm gonna grab a few stocking stuffers & call it a day. I am very happy with what I did.
Don't let anyone bully you into believing that Christmas must make you go broke - or worse yet, use credit cards. *gasp* That is NOT what Christmas is about. Spend time with the people you love & make some amazing memories - that's what Christmas is all about.

Monday, November 30

A month later...

Still here, still chugging along. Barely (at the moment). We got hit with the end-of-year-everyone-is-closing-their-books-and-realized-you-owe-them-money crap. And taxes. Go figure. Merry Christmas to us. It's okay though. I'm going to try to buy ALL Christmas gifts for under $200 - I'm hoping $150 will do it, but we'll see. We have 3 kids to buy for - they're all getting coloring books. I think. Unless I can think of something else cheap yet adored by kids. Luke & I aren't doing gifts. I'm gonna go hit up the thrift & consignment stores for a bike or scooter for Kasen & I'll throw in a few other things that are priced right. We've got the 2 gifts for our family exchange also. That's it. I see no reason that I can't stick to my budget goal. The less I spend the better really 'cause I've also got to find Kasen some snow-appropriate boots, a coat, some gloves, & a hat for our trip to Utah in January. I really wish I hadn't bought those [non-refundable] airline tickets even if it was a HECK of a deal. We don't have the money we need to enjoy the trip, but we'll figure it out. I really need some sweaters & Luke & I both need a pair of shoes appropriate for snow, but we'll have to see if that happens or not. *sigh*
Anyway, that's where we stand right now. We're chugging along. I need to be better about posting here, I swear we did much better with things when I did.

Sunday, November 1


I'm feeling a bit discouraged. I know we've come a long way... but... I feel like there's still so far to go! There's no way we'll have this last stupid loan paid off when we planned to. I wish, wish, wish there were some way for me to make more money. I higher paying job, an extra job, anything. I don't feel like sacrificing sleep (and a clean house, clean laundry, etc) to make a little more than minimum wage for a few extra hours every night would be worth it. I wish someone would just hand me some money, no strings attached. That would be wonderful. But, it ain't gonna happen. I wish I could find some amazing job with good pay & the right hours, so I could add it to my life right now. I wish, I wish, I wish. I don't mind not blowing a lot of money on Christmas (although I REALLY want to get Kasen the cute wooden kids' table I saw at Costco... and a bike... or a scooter... and a big boy bed... see, nothing cheap on my wish list. sigh), but I do mind not having everything paid off as planned. I totally mind. We wanted this to be over at the end of the year. We're only 60% through the debt. That's not much more than half. :(
It's November. We've made almost made it to the end of the official year of The Year Without. In case you're wondering though, it won't be ending on December 31st, it will keep going until we're out of debt. Let's all hope that's sooner rather than later. For my sanity at least.

Wednesday, October 28


Okay, a woohoo here should = NOT spending money... but...
We've been planning on taking a trip to Utah (if you've been following since day 1, you might remember that we were suppose to go this year, but put it off to follow the rules). Well, we decided we'd wait 'til we got this last loan paid off - in March. BUT, there is such an amazing deal right now, that we're gonna have to jump on it. All the major airlines are cutting their airfare if you'll fly during their dead times. Um, should I say dead when referring to a flight? Ick. Anyway... if we go in January, we can all 3 fly for under $600 (WITH taxes & fees), verses probably a little over $1000 if we go in March. Um, HELLO?, that's a big savings. So, we're going in January I think. We've got to get the kinks worked out tomorrow, since it's the last day to buy.
On to frugal news... We're doing well still, trucking along. I did buy a $9 bag of candy for Halloween night. I don't think it'd be fair to send my kid out & not repay the favor. -I did see a genius frugal idea today though. Send your kid out TorTing, and when they get back you hand out their candy. Doesn't cost you anything (but the costume) that way AND you save your kids' teeth. Is it awful that I feel like I'd seriously consider that??
Tomorrow my 1 year subscription runs out on the local mom board. That's gonna suck. I can still log on & such, but there are things I won't be able to see & I think I'll have to look at extra ads. Oh well, I knew going in that I wasn't gonna get to spend $20 on a renewal. The world will not end over it! (I think you have to be a member of something like this to understand how hard it is to do without. *sigh)
I can't believe Christmas is EIGHT weeks away! I have got to start saving some money & hitting the thrift stores for Kasen's gifts. And, if we're going to Utah, I guess I need find some snow-appropriate clothes for him too! I'm not sure I even know what snow-appropriate clothes are...

Friday, October 23

TWO freebies in one week!

Freebie # 1 was a Poken from The Green Wife. Hopefully they'll catch on 'cause they are a genius idea!
Freebie # 2 was walkie talkies from work. Score! They were literally going in the trash, since we got new ones that are supposed to be less finicky. So, I took some home to give us a means of communication between upstairs & downstairs or inside & outside. Kasen already loves them - bonus! ;)

Monday, October 19

Catching up.

Time slips by faster than I realize! We're doing great, staying on track!
I really wanted to borrow a costume for Kasen to wear for Halloween, but I wasn't having much luck with that, so I headed to a consignment shop where he picked out a Curious George costume. It was more than I wanted to spend ($8.99), but he didn't like the cheaper options I found & insisted on that one. Hopefully that means he'll wear it come Halloween... ;)
We did go out to eat (Pei Wei - yum!) on Saturday night, but it was within our rules, so nothing was broken there either. :) Right now I'm really wanting a 2nd (or even 3rd) loaf pan so I can make more than 1 loaf of bread at a time (actually, a bread machine would be most ideal, but I digress...). I'm thinking of hitting a thrift store to see what the have. Yet, at the same time I feel like that's somewhat frivolous since I already have a loaf pan that I can use. (See, I've gone crazy with frugality!)
I do want to find Kasen a (USED) bicycle for Christmas, I think that'd be at the top of his list. He also seems to really want a hoop-a-loop (ie holahoop - is that how you spell it), so perhaps those 2 things will be his gifts from Santa this year. Yes, I'm already thinking of Christmas. Come on though, you HAVE to think ahead when you're being frugal! I'm also thinking maybe our family gift exchange should have the requirement of being bought at a thrift store, wouldn't that make it more fun? :)
Anyway, that's about all that's going on money-wise in our house right now. We're still chiseling away at the debt. Unfortunately we had a hefty amount of money go to medical expenses last month, so that hurt us a little, but not horribly.

Wednesday, September 30

Tomorrow is OCTOBER!

This year is flying by! Is it strange that I complain about the fact that I have to work, yet I'd really like to find a way to squeeze in a 2nd job. If I could find something I could do after Kasen goes to sleep (7pm) I'd jump on it. I don't really want to flip burgers though & retail places close too early to make it worthwhile. I'm just ready to be out of debt! So, if anyone knows of anything that I could do a few nights a week (I'd be more flexible on time on the weekend, but I'm not willing to give up much of my family time during the day), please share. Otherwise, we'll keep up the pace we're going at.
I am really trying to work on groceries right now. I have a pantry full of crap that needs to be used up before I go buy more stuff. Then I think we'll be eating lots of beans, baked potatoes, and sandwiches. Cheap, cheap.

Monday, September 28

Doing well!

Still hanging in there. I didn't go out to eat last week, we didn't go out to eat this weekend, no crazy purchases, etc. Yay!
Sunday I met some friends at Twisted Root and guess what? I didn't spend a dime! No food, no drink, no nothing! I was so proud of me. I would've loved some watermelon tea, but I didn't need it & I didn't want to waste money on it.
I've been looking for shoes, a Halloween costume, a jacket, & a coat for Kasen. It's hard to thrift shop when you're looking for specific items, but I've been trying. I finally hit a consignment shop today. I got Kasen a Cars jacket, which is what he asked for since he had a Cars jacket last year. I also stocked him up on pajamas since he has now decided he'd rather keep them on all day some days. It's not worth the battle, I'd rather him just keep them on all day & not have to deal with a huge fit over clothes. I also scored some GREAT stuff for a certain someone's upcoming baby shower. :) Still no shoes, Halloween costume, or coat. I've got time on all of those though.
I did hit Target today too though. I was on the look out for a specific gift for a birthday party this weekend. Didn't find it though, so that search continues...
I just found out my friend is getting married in January. In Utah. I'd love to be there, and I'm hoping I can be, but we'll have to see how it works out. Flights are expensive. I'm hoping at the least I can go for the day by myself. Or maybe Luke & I can go for the weekend. We'll see.
That's it so far. We're still trucking!

Wednesday, September 23

Getting back on track.

Gosh, it's hard to get back on track. This morning was "cold" (in Texan terms at least), but it's suppose to be warm this afternoon. I realized I don't own a jacket or coat for Kasen. My immediate thought was - I'll go look at Target or Old Navy on my lunch break. Wait! Hold up! Can't do that yet!! I have looked around a little at thrift stores, but I haven't seen anything yet. I haven't exhausted my search options yet though, so I had to remind myself I can only go buy new if I can't find used. The search is on.
Then, there's Halloween. No clue what Kasen would like to be, since he's not that opinionated yet. I'm sure he'd be happy to hang out in his pajamas instead of a costume, but I'd like to keep the tradition up for him. So, now I'm trying harder to search for a costume. I've been looking for one at thrift stores, but, again, my search has been in vain so far.
I haven't eaten out this week (yes, I realize it's only Wednesday & lunch time hasn't arrived yet), but I'm trying to make it all week without eating out. I need to lose some weight anyway, so I need to quit making my weekly trip to Bueno. Besides, I can slap some beans on a tortilla at home much cheaper anyway!
I'm gonna do this. I am gonna follow the rules. I hope.

Sunday, September 20


Yep, I went missing. I see nobody called out the search crew though... ;)
So, we kinda fell off the wagon for a while. Oops. Time to get back on though. Saturday night we paid off college loan #1. Yay! So, we're down to just 1 college loan. Don't get me wrong, it's a big loan, but it's all we have left! It's probably gonna be 4 or 5 more months before we get it paid off (if nothing unexpected comes up), which seems like so long. It's hard 'cause that's further out than we first anticipated. We hoped to be done in January. However, in 4 or 5 months we'll be DEBT FREE BUT THE HOUSE!!!! Wow. To be 30 & not owe a dime to anyone other than the mortgage company is truly a rare thing. When I think of it that way, 4 or 5 months is suh a short time. Wow! I can't believe we've almost done this!

Monday, August 24

Can you handle the truth?

I went shopping at lunch. Bought a new pair of pants, a skirt, and a $5 under-tank. I wanted 2 pairs of pants, but I stopped myself. I "needed" new pants. I have 2 pairs of work pants that fit correctly enough for me to wear regularly. I have a couple other pairs that I rotate in, but they don't fit right. I just couldn't bring myself to buy a 2nd new pair though, so I bought a cheaper (COMFY!) skirt instead. A fair enough compromise for now. I know I'll have to buy more pants soon enough, but maybe I can hold off until I'm actually a size 8 instead of too big for an 8 & too small for a 10. (Boy is that frustrating!)
What else is new? Ummm, we got another magical check. You know, the kind where you've already paid your doctor & moved on, then you go to the mailbox one & magically a nice chunk of change has landed there? Love those! Of course this one is being turned right around to pay for more medical bills. *sigh*
We won't be paying off the college loan this month since we're treating all the grandparents (and Auntie) to a family vacation next month. We should be able to get it paid off in October though. Yay! Then we'll just have ONE outstanding debt (other than the mortgage). I can't wait to be D.O.N.E.!
Last week, Luke took his car in to have something-or-other fixed & to get a new battery. He bought the battery & installed it himself before heading to service (you wouldn't believe what a dealership charges for that service! Or, maybe you would...). I was a bit worried about how much the service was gonna cost, *but* [BIG but], it was free under some recall thing. Yay!
Next up, taking my car BACK to the dealership 'cause they broke something when they fixed my a/c. The a/c just randomly turns off. Fun times. Actually, it's not so bad 'cause I like to ride with the windows down. Can't do that with Kasen though, he's not always a fan of wind in his hair.
Anyway, there's my truth of the day. I went, I saw, I bought... and it felt good. ;)

Thursday, August 6

Stress Shopper

I'm not a stress eater, drinker, pill popper, or any other stress related vice-haver (I think I made that word up, huh?), I'm a stress shopper. Ugh!
Yesterday was a horrible, no good, very bad day. On my lunch break I had to leave the office (I often don't, there's no temptation to spend if you aren't somewhere that allows you to spend). I was driving down the road when I realized exactly where I was headed - Target! My thoughts were:
"I 'need' some new pants."
"NO, you can wait on them."
"I 'need' new shoes."
"NO, you can wait on them too."
"I'd love a new purse."
"NO, you just got a new purse, that you love."
"I can go get Kasen something!"
"NO, Kasen doesn't need anything."
"I can just go look."
"NO, if you look, you might be tempted to buy - you're just stressed, keep driving!"
So, I did. Then I decided I NEEDED a drink from Sonic. No, a burrito from Taco Bueno. No, some fries from Chik Fil A...
I ended up getting some fries, a sweet tea (yum!), and a brownie from CFA. It didn't make everything better, but it helped.
I wonder now though... I have admitted that I have a problem, which is the first step (right?), so what's next? How do I avoid stress shopping? There's always gonna be stress you know.

Monday, August 3

Still trucking

We're in August already. Wow! Where is the year going?
Someone (who shall remain nameless) wanted to buy a new computer this weekend. LUCKILY we just sent off all our money to pay bills, so there is no money for crap. I mean, there is no money for important stuff like a new computer. (If you don't catch the sarcasm there you need help.)
On an opposite note... our neighbor just had his patio screened in. For only $500! Seems like a heck of a deal to me. So, I asked Luke to find out what it would cost to get ours covered. (Gotta start somewhere, right?) We'll see what that is. Yes, it's an investment, but a good one. I wondered (out loud, of course) if it would be around $1k to cover & screen it in. Then we could kick the dogs out - I mean, have a nice place for them to "vacation" outside of the house. haha, yes I am serious right now, it would be great to have an enclosed, screened-in patio. Although I do still want to make the patio larger. Much larger. Concrete is crazy expensive right now though, so I'll take what I can get. Even just covered would work. It's the small things that make me happy. I seriously doubt it'll be that cheap though. So, we'll continue with what we have - and with not spending.

Thursday, July 30

Check out the ticker!

54% of our debt is gone! What a HUGE relief! Amazing! I am so excited. It seems like it has been forever, but at the same time, it's only been 7 months! Next month we will finish paying off college loan #1. That will leave us with just our last & final debt. We started out with 4 loans to repay & we're almost down to 1. Awesome!

Monday, July 27


Perhaps it was a breaking of the rules, but we got a Costco card this weekend. Why? Well, some of you may recall the Black Friday Fiasco of last year at WalMart. We vowed to not shop there after that (which is really hard when you live in a town that doesn't have much other than WalMart), but we still went to Sam's. Some. The last time I shopped there though I got a good dose of why I shouldn't shop there (refusal to price match what their website said was an in-store price!), so I was D.O.N.E.
A Costco membership is only $50 for a year (plus we got a $10 gift card for joining) & when I consider what we'll save on the few items we buy in bulk, it is a deal.
What else has been going on? Not much. We're not staying as on-track as we did the first 1/2 of the year, but we're getting there. We've thrown in a few exceptions to our original rules 'cause it really is stressful to live a year without. It's just not worth the complete stress. so by adding/bending a few rules we should be better able to cope.
Ticker has been updated! We're *this close* to being half way done!!!!

Tuesday, July 14


I say I'm gonna get better about posting... then I forget.
So, let's see... Saturday, date night, we went out to dinner (& dessert), then we went & bought Luke a new pair of shoes. Well, 2 pairs. *sigh* Oh, and a soccer ball for Kasen, because he LOVES soccer, but has been improvising with a volleyball. He still had bday money, so we'll say that bought the ball. Luke's shoes though... well, everyone needs shoes, right?
That's about it for spending in the last few days. We're not as "on track" as we started, but we're still doing well. I don't go out & buy all kinds of crap at Target, Kohl's, or wherever else I feel like splurging. We don't eat out too often. We're learning to make do with a lot of things (take the "curtains" in our bedroom - they're black construction sheeting that I got for free at work... classy I tell you). We're hanging in there & hoping to hit our goals soon enough. -I still need to find out totals so I can update the ticker up there... Soon!

Friday, July 10

Nothing = good.

Nothing to report really. We're on track. There's a little unexpected blip on the radar, that may knock our plans off track a bit, but we'll still be okay. It will all still workout, it'll just take a little longer. Maybe.
I had lunch out this week once, which is okay per the rules.
Tomorrow night is date night for Luke & I, which is okay per the new rule I added.
Not much else really going on. Just paying bills, paying debts, & not spending. Yay!

Sunday, July 5

Happy July 5th

I'm a day late on the wishes. Happy July 4th too, but that day has come & gone.
I bough groceries today. Back on the planning for 2 weeks of dinner boat. It does make shopping easier (and meal preparation). Tomorrow is Kasen's 2nd birthday. I'll spend money on donuts, then we'll go by the toy store so Kasen can spend his birthday money. The 3 of us will have dinner out, probably CFA so Kasen can play in their play area (unless I can think of a reason to go somewhere better... trust me, I'm trying!). That's what's up today & tomorrow. Exciting, huh?
Oh, as for me, (on an unrelated to finances note) I gave up dairy (for the most part) a few weeks ago. When I did that I decided maybe I'd eat meat occasionally, so I'd have some variety. Well, I've only eaten it a handful of times & chicken is NOT my friend. I thought I was fine with beef though - until I had some last night. We'll just say, I'm D.O.N.E. No more meat for me. Time to get creative with my food options now. I also heard about a doctor in Rockwall that I may have to go see. He sounds like what I've been trying to find, and he's close by - score! I'm suppose to go back to my DO in Sept to get my blood pressure pills refilled, so maybe I'll go see this guy instead. I keep pouring more & more money out to doctors, hoping one will have a solution that doesn't involve pills for the rest of my life, but I haven't been given a solution other than drugs yet. I'm still holding out hope, after all, I'm only 30!

Saturday, July 4

Staying on track.

We're doing good still. We did Kasen's 2nd birthday pics (I made a trade with a wonderful friend), and we bribed him with ice cream/sno cones. When we left we had every intention of fulfilling that bribe by stopping at the sno cone stand (since it's on the way home). BUT, we decided to come home & give him one of the [free] popsicles I made. We done good. :)

Thursday, July 2


I did say I was gonna get better about blogging, didn't I? Oops...
What to report? We spent some money on Kasen's birthday party, but not too much. We bought some cheese, drinks, crackers, & stuff for me to make a cake, there was also a pinata & the stuffings. He got 3 presents, (actually 4, but the 4th got left at the store & we didn't realize until it was way too late to do anything about it - boo!), none of which were overly spendy (I think there were all in the $20-$30 range). Mimi & Papa Wayne got a bounce house for the party, which the kiddos loved. I'm sure we spent more cooling the house for those few hours than we did on everything else. ha! Gotta love Texas. ;)
We're not being quite as strict as we were the first half of the year, but we're still not rushing out to buy stuff or going out to eat often. We've made huge strides (I need to ask Luke about the debt left so I can update the ticker), and it will pay off in the long run. -Even if it is really hard right now.
A wonderfully generous person gave me some birthday money, so I went to Sam Moon & bought a new purse. I really wanted a new one, but I couldn't buy it thanks to this challenge. Now I'm a happy lady! (Thank you kind soul.) I do need some shoes still, so I might break the rules for that... but I'm trying to hang in there.
I don't recall if I shared this early-on, but back in December I hid $100 (cash!) away to see if I could go all year without spending it. Guess what? It's July & I still have that money hidden away. Yay! (No ideas - you'll never find it.)
That's about it for now. I really will try to update more often. Really.

Thursday, June 18

I'm here.

Life has been crazy busy so I haven't had a chance to write on any of my blogs. I can't believe the week is almost over now - yay!
Not much to report really, just paying bills & chipping away at the debt. I really was trying to get back on track with checking in here, but work is busy & I'm trying to do things other than waste time on the internet when I'm home, so it isn't working out for me.
We have pics this weekend for Kasen's 2nd birthday. A wonderful friend is letting me trade cake balls for the session. She's awesome! I can't wait to see what great shots she gets! We also have a bbq at my parents' for Father's Day.
...and that's all I have to say about that. ;)

Friday, June 12


So, yesterday I went & bought Kasen new shoes. He was down to just 1 pair that were the right size. I hit Target & got 2 pairs of "Crocs" - an ugly camo pair that HE picked out & a blue pair that I picked out. The camo isn't that bad I guess, but it's not that great either. While we were there, I got him 2 shirts. Oh no, they were new... One was $2.80 on clearance & the other was $3 on sale. About what I'd pay at the thrift store for used, so it's all good in my world. I do need to go buy him a few more probably, some button down shirts or polos, but all things in time...
I love my OB. Why would I randomly say that? 'Cause once again money has magically appeared from him. Woohoo! Another over-payment. Sweet. (Well, not that we over-paid to begin with, but that it appeared in our hands again!)
That's about it for now.

Wednesday, June 10

Hanging in there.

I ate my lunch out today. A whopping $2 I believe. Maybe $3.
That's about it so far this week. Which is good.

Sunday, June 7

Where'd I go?

Man, I feel off the blogging wagon hard! I'm just much busier at work lately & once I get home the night just slips right by. So, this week... I ate my one meal out on Monday 'cause I was running late & didn't have time to make my lunch. Oops. Luke had his one meal out on Friday. Friday night we had "date night", and we ate at Chan's. I've decided "date night" won't count against the other things 'cause it's something we need to make time & do for us. So, I guess I added another exception to our rules.
Saturday we had dinner at Whataburger - I had a gift card. Sunday we had lunch at Chili's w/a friend. That's family meal #1 for the month.
We did go a little crazy (well, not by typical standards, but by our Year Without standards) buying some stuff for Kasen's birthday party today. I started to buy a pinata. It looked cute up on the shelf. It was Diego (he's having a Dora party w/a little Diego thrown in to make it more masculine ;)) & I think it was $19.99. We asked them to get it down 'cause we wanted it. Then I saw it - it was tiny & stupid. I was in shock - $20 for that?! I told the guy no thanks & I could tell by his reaction that I wasn't the first to deny the stupid thing. So, I'm still on the look-out for a pinata - a *cheap* one.
That about sums up the week. :)

Monday, June 1

Why not... May in review.

Almost seems pointless since we sorta blew it the last 2 weeks. Here we go anyway...

Rule #1 - nothing new - totally broken. Had to buy some work clothes. Bought Kasen a pool. Bought some new pillows. There were a few other things in there too, we went crazy.
Rule #2 - no frivolous spending - broken. See above. Plus Luke sent me flowers for our anniversary. Really sweet, but totally frivolous.
Rule #4 - 1 family outing. Not broken. Sheesh already - we're half way through the year & we haven't gone anywhere that cost. I think it'd be okay if we did splurge... ;)
I'm so glad I only share transtaction numbers & not amounts...
7 grocery store trips (includes drug store), total bill was just over $300 - which is a huge improvement for us. Let's see if I can keep that up. (Doubtful since I've already blown $200 in June. *sigh*), 15 gas station fill-ups, 8 restaurant/fast food outings (we went a bit crazy, I told you!), 8 others (Sams x2, Baylor for my CT scan, flowers, Petsmart, Goodwill (clothes for Kasen), diapers, Kohls (for previously mentioned clothes), & Autozone).

We fell off the track a bit this month. I'm not sure how far back on we'll get. We'll have to see. We've totally changed our lifestyle & our mindset & that's the big thing. I've decided to spend a little on Kasen's birthday/party, which I hadn't planned on doing. The only thing I'll have to pay for for his party is a few decorations, the food, ingredients for the cake, and a pinata. Luke's wonderful parents are getting the bounce house (yay!), so we're covered on entertainment. We'll buy him something cool as his gift. It may or may not be new, depending on what we decide to get him. I'm okay with it though. He's a kid, he deserves to have a fun birthday. :) Other than that, we really do need to get back on track. We're doing pretty good with the eating out & we really aren't going crazy buying things we want (trust me, there's a list!), so I can't say we're failing... we just got side tracked a bit.
7 months to go, let's see how we can do!

Monday, May 18

An excused week off?

First, to catch up, we hit Sam's this weekend. We were good, other than a fan someone bought for the garage... ;) But it's still hard to swallow that big of a chunk of money. We stocked up on oil (Luke does our oil changes), dishwasher detergent, PullUps (yes, Kasen is now out of cloth. 1-because I'm getting lazy (or just tired) & 2- he can still wear his 18 mth shorts from last summer if he's in a PullUp, rather than me having to go buy new shorts for him this summer, although I don't know that we're saving money by doing that...), and I think there was something else, but I can't recall right now... Oh, yes, laundry detergent. All items that add up, but if we're saving by buying in bulk, it's all good!
I might just say screw it for the next week. I'm alright with it too.
I was gonna be good & celebrate my birthday with a whimper. BUT, I have decided, by golly, that I only get to turn 30 once, so I'm gonna make it special! So, I am here-by christening this week my birthday week. (Plus, our anniversary is on Monday.) I had Taco Bueno for lunch today 'cause I sorta forgot to wake up this morning, which means I didn't have time to hassle with lunch. Tomorrow I'll be good, it is a half day at work after all, so I don't have a choice. lol Wednesday I'm off work 'cause I have to go get a CT/angiogram done. I'll try to be good & take food with me for afterwards 'cause I'll be starving by then (why must we fast for medical procedures? Doesn't that just create a room full of grumpy folks?). Thursday I'll be good 'cause it's a half day again. Friday is debatable. I'll probably be good. Friday night I'm going to dinner & out to play, so I know money will be spent (again, I'm okay with that!). Saturday we'll probably be good, but Sunday (my bday) & Monday (our anniversary), all bets are off. Again, I'm okay with that. :)
To kick things off, I'm going for a haircut tonight. Something new, funky, and cool to ring in a new decade of life. ...and I'm okay with spending money on it, 'cause it's my birthday. I told you, all bets are off this week. I think I'm just gonna call this month a give-me month. We've done a lot of rule blowing-off. We're still doing a bit better than "typical" spending, so at least there's that, right?

Wednesday, May 13

Hanging in there.

It's Wednesday. I haven't spent any money. Luke had lunch out yesterday though, and he ordered a new something-or-other for his computer. That computer is a money pit! I swear since it broke he has had to buy new EVERYTHING for it. *sigh* Oh well.
That's all I know for now.

Monday, May 11

Mother's Day & another chunk paid.

Mother's Day was perfect. We grabbed breakfast at Grandy's & took it over to the park for a little picnic. (I am calling that MY meal out for the week, instead of one of our family meals for the month 'cause Luke didn't eat anything.) Luke did get me some chocolate, a balloon, & a card that Kasen picked out (complete with Snoopy). I seriously didn't want anything, but I appreciate that he cared enough to do something for me. :) I'm guessing he spent $10-$15, I really haven't priced balloons or chocolate lately though, so I'm not sure. Definitely had to be under $20. I think. ;)
Last night Luke FINALLY got his computer up & running (it has been weeks since it crashed), so he was able to put a nice chunk towards one of the college loans. Yay! I feel like we'll never really get there, but I know eventually it WILL be paid off. I can't wait!
On the how-to-lower-the-grocery-bill front, I'm trying out a new system. First of all, we have a family marker board calendar in the kitchen that I am starting to use to write down the $ spent. That way I can easily look & see what I've already spent in the month. I think seeing the number there will help curb some of the crazy spending. At least I hope. As far as the actual purchasing of groceries, I'm cutting out some of the organic stuff. Not all by any means, but some of the stuff I buy I think it's fine for us to go back to the "normal" stuff. We still won't do a lot of processed foods & that's more important [to me] than the organic/not organic debate. I'm also going to start writing down (on said marker board in the kitchen) our meals in 2 week increments. That'll help with the planning each night (no thinking necessary!), and it'll help with groceries 'cause I won't just go buy whatever sounds good, I'll buy stuff I need for the meals I've already decided on. Hopefully it will also stop the last minute trips to the store for 1 or 2 things for a particular meal. Those kill me 'cause I never buy JUST the 1 or 2 things. I'll still need to make milk runs I'm sure, but hopefully nothing else. We'll see.
So, there you have it, a new week with new attempts at cutting money. So far this month I've spent about $175 on groceries. Hopefully (other than milk) I won't need to buy anything else until around the 24th (which is my birthday, by the way).

Saturday, May 9

I did it... but I got one heck of a deal!

After debating & debating & debating, I decided to break the rules. (Yes, AGAIN. sigh)
-Because I have a job which requires me to be seen by other people (co-workers & customers), I need to look at least decent on a daily basis.
-Because I am cheap, I buy clothes that are cheeeeap, so they were starting to fade, rip, get holes, and look like crap.
-Because, while the rules allow for buying used clothes, it's REALLY hard to find work-appropriate stuff used. I did try though.
Sooooooooooooo, I went to Kohls. *gasp* I spent just under $100 (*double gasp!*), but here's what I got:
8, yes 8, shirts for me
4 shirts for Luke
A Dora book & bubbles for Kasen (he had a gift card from Christmas, so I left him buy whatever he wanted).
I'd say for just under $100 I did GREAT! I'd love more, of course. I could use pants, dresses, skirts, shoes, a new purse, and more shirts. (LOL!) But at least I can make it a good while before feeling like I am dressing too much like a slob again.
Was it a failure? In black & white, yes. In the reality of life, no. We're doing pretty well at this challenge, and I went over 5 months without buying any new clothes - that is a HUGE deal for me. Since I have to work, I have to dress appropriately (luckily I don't have to dress up much for my job, our only rule is: no jeans except on Fridays), so the reality of not buying new clothes for a whole year just wasn't possible. I didn't buy all the stuff I would've LIKED to buy, I obviously only bought stuff on sale super cheap & stuff that wasn't real trendy, so it'll last as long as the quality of the clothes allows.
So, there you have. I'm being honest & admitting to another failure, and I'm being honest about that fact that I kinda don't care that I was a failure this time. (At least not right now.)

Thursday, May 7

I'm still here.

It has been CRAZY at work this week. Actually, worse than crazy - what would that be?
I'm still here though, still hanging on. We've been good so far this week - yay us - but I really don't know that I'm gonna make it much longer without new clothes... I'm trying, but I swear that suddenly most of the stuff in my closet is stained, has holes, or is badly faded. I do have to look half-way decent to go to work. For now, I'm trying to keep on keeping on though.

Monday, May 4

This weekend = FAIL

Sometimes you just aren't set up for success. Maybe it was my own fault in some ways, but that doesn't matter really. All I know is that we failed. Way to start the month, huh?
Friday - I saved my meal out for the week to use Friday night. Luke was going out with a friend, so I thought Kasen & I would have a little treat. We got Taco Bueno 'cause it sounded good & I knew Kasen would eat a taco. (I was wrong, he didn't.) Luke ended up not going out, but it wasn't a failure 'cause he wasn't very hungry. Since Kasen decided he didn't want to eat, Luke got to eat his taco. It worked out.
Saturday I had to work. Boo. We woke up early & dropped my car off at the dealership to fix the a/c. Yay! I have a/c again. Finally. How was the day a failure? Well, I was at work longer than I anticipated. I left at about 2. I was starving & had a horrible headache. So, of course, we had to stop & get me some food (Burger King veggie burger & fries). Luckily, Luke & Kasen ate at Luke's parents' house, so they didn't waste money on lunch. BUT, Luke did buy breakfast for him, Kasen, & his parents. So, we blew about $20 on food Saturday. We went to pick up the car & guess what - it cost us double what they quoted 'cause they forgot to quote some of the stuff that had to be done, or they didn't know it had to be done, or whatever. Not surprising really, since it was a dealership. ;) I think we saved about $500 by Luke doing all the work he could on it. So at least we have that positive note.
Sunday we had a little time to relax (or, rather, start laundry & such), then we headed over to my parents' house. Their a/c leaked & rotted out part of the ceiling in their living room. Because I have such a wonderful, caring husband, he helped my dad cut out the damaged stuff & put some plywood up to fix the hole. It wasn't a quick job though. Kasen & I took my mom (who hurt herself while they were buying said plywood) over to my sister's house to hang out. When dinner time came, guess what - I had to buy food. Yes, that was my THIRD meal out for the weekend. I got my mom, my sister, Kasen, & I Taco Bueno (twice in one weekend - wow). A little while later it was time to head back to see how the guys were doing. I stopped at Whataburger to get them both a burger & fries 'cause I knew they'd be hungry... Only, it turns out a few hours before that the guys went to Whataburger & Luke bought them both burgers. *sigh* (Of course they ate the second round too though, lol.)

That means this weekend looked like this:
Friday night - I bough Bueno for Kasen & I (turned otu to be Luke & I)
Saturday morning - Luke bought taquitos (Whataburger I assume) for his parents, Kasen, & himself.
Saturday afternoon - I bought Burger King for a late lunch/early dinner.
Saturday - paid $400ish for my a/c repair.
Sunday - Luke bought a late lunch at Whataburger for my dad & himself.
Sunday - I bought Taco Bueno for dinner for my sister, mom, Kasen, & I.
Sunday - I bought dinner, Whataburger, for Luke & my dad.
I don't even want to add up how much money all that was. It was a total failure weekend.
I'm not even gonna count it all. Everything about this weekend included extenuating circumstances. The month of May starts today in my book. It will be successful. Well, probably not, my birthday & our anniversary are both this month. We may eat out more than usual without including the failure that was this weekend. We'll be as good as we can be though.

Friday, May 1

Another month finished! (This review is long.)

Funny, it's actually getting hard to remember all the info for the month now. I have way too much going on in my life right now I guess.
Rule #1 - nothing new - kinda broken. Luke had that moment of insanity that caused him to go crazy at Fry's.
Rule #2 - no frivolous spending - broken. Same reason as rule #1. "Only" $80 though. Not horrible.
Rule #3 - less eating out - broken. We had an extra meal out the weekend we were potty training.
Rule #4 - 1 family outing. Not broken! We still haven't had a single family outing this year (that cost us anyway).
sigh We broke all the "important" rules this month. No good.
41(!) transactions this month: 13 grocery (I'm including drugstore runs here, which there were 3 or 4 of), 10 restaurant (our weekly allowed & the 3 family meals out), 11 gas, 7 other (2 car parts, 1 dr bill, 1 Fry's, 1 Kid to Kid, 1 computer part for the still broken PC, & 1 tire for Luke's car), plus $100 cash withdrawal ($20 early in the month & $80 for the farmers market - we left with $30, which Luke will be using tonight while he's out with the guys).

I'm disappointed in our month when I look at it this way. I really am. BUT, if I stop & look at the total dollars spent this year versus April of last year... We've spent almost 50% less money in the month. That's insane! I'm not gonna even throw those numbers out 'cause I about fell over when I saw how much we spent in a month! Heck, I was feeling pretty shocked at the total amount of money we spent this year. When I added up last April's transactions I almost fell out of my chair - literally. I don't know how we spent THAT much money! I'm not even sure where we got all that money from. PLUS, we had 2 car payments still. We were living a lifestyle that left things paycheck to paycheck, that's for sure. Now, we have a cushion for anything that might come up & we're paying off our debt at the same time. This challenge really is an eye opener! I still feel like I need to get a handle on the grocery thing though. There has got to be some way we can eat the way we like to, but spend about half of what we're currently spending. I'd love ideas if anyone has them. (Coupons aren't helpful really 'cause we don't buy much stuff that coupons are made for.) Maybe I need to go back to trying the grocery game, and figuring out where the cheapest place to buy things is. Maybe I need to figure out what things I'm okay with not buying organic & switch back to the "normal" stuff here & there. Other ideas?

Wednesday, April 29

As for today...

No money spent, but let me tell you something...
I love to cook. Really, truly, I do.
I am sick of cooking.
I want to just grab some food on the way home.
I want to have someone else do the cooking, the cleaning, the everything.
I am sick of coming up with the answer to "what's for dinner?".
I want to go home & have food magically appear on the table in front of me.
I want Mexican food. From a restaurant that allows me to sit & eat as much chips & hot sauce as I like.
I want Italian food. From a restaurant that allows me to stuff my face with all the bread I can manage to shove in my face.
I want pizza. The really bad for you, I didn't make it, greasy, yummy, good kind.
I want Chinese. Lots of Chinese. Egg drop soup & spring rolls & fried rice & Moo Goo veggies. Or P F Changs lettuce wraps.
I want some Snuffers cheese fries.
I want a Chili's black bean burger.
I miss eating out. Really, I do. Or, rather, I really do.
I love food. At this point though, I'd take food made by someone else that I don't have to think about, prepare, or clean up after.
None of that is happening though, is it?
Back to my regularly scheduled no spending week.
Food & clothes. I miss food & clothes. Will there be something else tomorrow? Eh, maybe, if it hits me. Right now food & clothes have me. (Although, a new purse would be good too...)

Tuesday, April 28

Another boring day.

Boring is good, right?
It's getting hard to be good though. I really, really, really want some new clothes! I seem to be the queen of stains, tiny holes, and fading. If it were any other year I'd run out & buy new clothes without thinking. I could go search a thrift store, since it's within the rules, but I wonder what the chances are that I'd find anything decent. Besides, when do I have time to go search a bunch of thrift stores for some clothes?
I'm being good though. For now at least. ;)
No money has been spent so far this week - that's a good thing. I do need to go get a few things at the grocery store. When did I become the person that had to go to the grocery store EVERY week - sometimes twice a week? It's getting old. But, we do have to eat you know. I need to work on my consolidation a bit. Although, the fill-in stuff generally is just dairy & produce, with an occasional "other", so I guess it's kinda normal. Kinda.

Sunday, April 26

Long weekend.

It was long for Luke at least. I'm sure he's looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. He tried to fix my car, but too many things were against him. Hopefully he'll get it finished sometime this week. Or maybe this weekend. Although, I have to work on Saturday, so I don't know if he'll have a chance or not.
We did spend some money, Luke bought stuff for the car, I bought Kasen a few new sippie cups, and today we went to Farmer's Market & loaded up on some produce.
As for the idea to go to Utah... well, my car sucked all that money up. Oh well, it really was breaking the rules, so we're better off not going. I guess. sigh

Friday, April 24

Ah, the weekend!

I think Luke's gonna fix my car a/c this weekend. I can't wait! This week had gotten HOT. Of course, he already bought a part & thought that was gonna be it, but it turns out he needs some other part too. You got it - that means more $. Still cheaper than a car payment. Oh, and my cigarette lighter is broken. Why does that suck? 'Cause I can't plug my phone or GPS in now. Hopefully he can figure out the problem there & get it fixed too. This isn't gonna be a cheap weekend.

Wednesday, April 22

I'm tempted...

So, we've recently come in to a chunk of money from a few sources. The *responsible* thing to do is to put it towards the student loans... BUT, I'm thinking maybe we should re-visit the idea of a trip to Utah. We could get round-trip airfare for about $300/ea & if we go before Kasen's birthday, he flies free. Seems like it makes sense to go now & save on his airfare, rather than going next year & having to pay for his airfare. I think a 4 night stay in June would be good... BUT, it's TOTALLY breaking the rules. At the same time, I feel like we've earned it. Even if we have broken some rules here & there, we've done so well - and we own both cars out-right now! Perhaps a celebration is in order? Ugh, such a dilemma! What should we do?

Monday, April 20


I didn't mean to not post for the past few days, it just happened. Time moves way too fast!
Let's see... money spent... ummmmm... oh, crap, I did break the rules Saturday night. We already ate out twice this month - Grandy's both times, but it was a rough day attempting to potty train & I just didn't feel like cooking. So, I grabbed some Wendy's on the way home from Target. ack! - Target. I didn't really break any rules there. I did buy a new potty seat, but I won't call that frivolous. Yes, we already have 2, BUT pee goes flying through them & they leave a red ring on Kasen's poor heiny, so I got one new one. I also got an Elmo potty training dvd - I won't call that frivolous either. I'm willing to pull out all the stops to accomplish the potty thing! Other than that, there were tons of things I *wanted*, but I didn't buy them. I still shock myself when I am able to control urges at Target. Oh, how I'd love to just go crazy in that place. (A new purse, some clothes, kitchen gadgets, toys for Kasen, the pretty pink leather case for my iPhone... I could keep going, but I won't torture myself anymore.)
Sunday we went to a Rough Riders game, but it didn't cost us a dime. Yay! We wer both off work today, but we didn't leave the house, so we didn't' spend money. Yay!
There's my past few days, I broke a rule, but I think we're still doing great on the amount of money we spent this month eating out, since all 3 outings were fast food.

Friday, April 17

The past 3 days.

Let's see...
Tuesday. Luke went to the store to buy milk. Accidentally bought skim instead of whole.
Wednesday. I went to the store. (Realized why he bought the wrong one - our local grocery store is under construction & it's a mess!) Bought whole milk, waffles for the guys, bananas, & pizza (for dinner).
Thursday. Went to the dr. No clue what that will cost me, but they ran a bunch of tests, so I'm sure I'll owe something. sigh Picked up new prescription - $7.50, not too shabby.
Friday is here & so far so good. Granted, it's only 9am. ;)

Tuesday, April 14

Lunch out.

Well, I had to stay at work all day today, which I wasn't expecting, so I had some Taco Bueno for lunch. It was yummy, but I didn't plan to spend any money eating out this week, so it was a bummer too. Oh well, what can you do, right?
Luke had to buy a hard drive for his computer. I'll be glad when he gets that in & his computer is working again. I know he says the pictures are on the hard drive that ISN'T broken, but I still worry. I hope my pics aren't lost.
I think this weekend we're fixing my a/c. Just in time for the warm weather. Woohoo! We're saving TONS since Luke ordered the most expensive part (way, way cheaper than the dealership was asking) & is gonna do all he can himself. Then we'll have to take it somewhere to get recharged with freon. I'll be happy when it's over. Cars are money-suckers!
*Speaking of cars.*
I got home last night & checked the mail. I now have 2 car titles to hold in my hands. No more liens. Yay! Yay! Yay!

Sunday, April 12

Well, that worked out.

My great friend paid for lunch Saturday, so I didn't have to "bend" the rules. Woohoo!
We spent no money the rest of the weekend. Kasen was spoiled silly without me getting him any Easter junk (I mean, wonderful Easter goodies). ;) His amazing Auntie got him the Easter basket I drooled over - but he didn't seem nearly as thrilled about it as I hoped. sigh Kids.
Here's to a good week - without either of us breaking any rules.

Friday, April 10

2 posts in one day = not good.

I really want to lie. Or, maybe just omit the truth of today. But I won't. I'll be honest, it's only fair.
Luke & Kasen went to Fry's tonight. I knew I should've gone with them. BUT... I really wanted a nap. It was a nice nap. Their trip... not so nice. Quite honestly, I'm very disappointed in Luke. He has always been the more frugal one. He has always stuck to things he sets out to do. He's falling off the wagon.
I saw it coming, he's always wanting to get stuff lately. We suddenly "need" curtains. He had to have cable (yes, I do use it & love it, but I could've waited another year for it). He brings up stuff we should buy. Silly stuff.
He went in for a new hard drive. It wasn't a frivolous thing. One of his crashed, so he can't get into his computer. The computer that has all of Kasen's pics (along with all of Luke's crap - but that's not a big deal to ME, lol). Luckily the hard drive that crashed is not the one he stores stuff on, but he can't turn the computer on to get said stuff, so obviously he needs a new hard drive to get the computer on. I was/am fine with that need.
However. He came home with no hard drive. He said they're too expensive there. He didn't come home empty handed though. $80 worth of crap. A back massager (yes, he already has one *rolleyes*), a nose hair trimmer (really?! he's hard up to shop, huh?), alarms for the doors (okay, that's probably a smart one), pepper spray for me (I had an incident this morning), and binoculars & glow in the dark stars/moon for Kasen. Oh, and a bottle of water for Kasen 'cause he forgot Kasen's cup in the car & of course he started asking for a drink.
So, there you have it. The honest truth - we blew a big chunk of money on crapola. I'm trying to let it go, I know how hard this challenge is & I can understand why he feels the need to BUY, but still - ugh!
On the flip side. When I checked the mail Wednesday there was a great surprise - a pretty large check from my OB's office. The insurance company finally decided to send some money to them, so all the money we had to pay for my ultrasound [last summer!] was refunded. So, it's kinda like found money & makes me feel a little better about Luke blowing money... but that's a nice chunk of money to help with our debt, not to blow of frivolous stuff.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm gonna break the rules a bit myself. My friend is in town from Utah & wants to have lunch tomorrow. I didn't plan on that, so I used my weekly meal out the other day for breakfast. BUT, this is a rare situation, so I'm gonna borrow next week's meal out. I'm okay with that & I won't really consider it breaking the rules. I can call Saturday next week, right? I usually start the week on Monday, but I'll skip a couple of days this week since it's a special occasion. :)

So, there you have it. Full disclosure, in all its ugliness.

Thursday Splurge Day

Yesterday I ran out of time before I left the house, so I stopped at Whataburger for an egg biscuit. Luke had lunch at Taco Bueno (or was it Taco Bell?...). Then, I needed to run a cake over to a friend's house last night, so we decided to use one of our family nights out & we had Grandy's for dinner. Talk about spending all your meals in one day! (And all fast food at that - sheesh!)
Today Luke is home with Kasen while I'm at work. I assume he hasn't left the house, which means he hasn't spent any money. We'll continue that theme tonight. :)

Wednesday, April 8

Easter's almost here

I'm doing great - haven't bought anything frivolous for Kasen (or Luke) for Easter. I was tempted at the grocery store the other day... but I walked away. Whew. It's hard, I'd like to go crazy, but it's all stuff we don't need anyway. (Not to say that I won't go crazy next year...)
We haven't spent any money, but seeing as we currently have none in our checking acct, that's been pretty easy. ha

Monday, April 6

And now... the rest of the weekend.

There. I said it. Not only does it keep screwing up the format of my other blogs, I keep trying to highlight stuff I'm writing & it ends up deleting all of my thoughts, then autosaving before I can get back to where I was. sigh
So, the rest of the weekend. I bought a few groceries (milk, flour, waffles, yogurt), then I bought Kasen's Easter outfit & 2 shirts at Kid to Kid. (Spent $18andsomechange) Sunday night I went to a MNO at On the Border. I spent $6andsomechange, including tip. (Gotta love the kids' meals!) That's about it.
I am starting a list of wants...
New black flats. Size 8.5 if anyone has a used pair I can buy... ;) I have (had?) some ballerina flats (don't click on that if you're a sucker for shoes...) that I love but I stepped in some nastiness, thanks to a sick dog, and I threw them in the washer. I'm pretty sure I ruined them. I bought them for like $10 at the shoe store over by Sam Moon (not nice to post a link to their site, huh?), but I can't buy another pair - even if they are that cheap. I loooooove those shoes, so I'll probably wear them even if they are falling apart now. How can I not?
A bread machine. I make at least 1 loaf of bread every week. That's a lot of work. I'd love to just dump everything in a machine & let it do the work for me!
Curtains for the bedroom. They've been on the wish list a long time. We'll be getting some once the college loans are paid off.
New clothes! My size 10s are getting loose. (Okay, not every brand - some brands I still can't fit into thanks to these hips, or the butt, whatever the issue is...) My everyday pants are getting loose though. While that's great, it also sucks. I can't buy new clothes. sigh
A massage. I'm stressed lately. I would love a massage. Or, just a day at the spa with some good company. (Anyone feel like splurging on a gift for the 2 of us? hehe! If only, huh?)
New pots & pans. I've had mine a long time. They're on their last leg. I want new, I want good quality - and I don't want non-stick. Never again!
That's about it. It's funny how much my wants have changed thanks to this challenge. If you had asked me to make a list 6 months ago I would've had a bunch of useless crap to list. now I want useful things. Okay, the massage/spa day isn't useful per se, but I deserve to dream about a nice splurge.
Okay, off to bed I go.

Saturday, April 4

No Money Saturday.

We hung out at home all day, then went to church, then came back home for dinner. No money spent. I did update the ticker tonight. I'm kinda shocked at how much we've paid off in 3 months - it was a big chunk of cash. To think that by this time next year we will have paid off triple that amount blows my mind! I am loving this!! Sacrifices are sooooo worth it!

Thursday, April 2

No more car payments!

It's not official, since the payment won't hit for a few days still, but we paid off Luke's car! Yay! Barring any unforeseen future woes, hopefully we will never have a car payment again. Isn't that a crazy thought? So un-American. ...but so nice!!
Thanks to gas prices taking a huge dive, we are a little behind on our plan (maybe a month or month & a half), but we're making progress. (Our oil royalties took a dive, we were counting on them to get out of debt fast, but oh well.) Hopefully in about 9 months the college loan will be paid off & all that will be left is our mortgage! Yay!
I am so glad we decided to do this - even if it has been difficult. To think of how nice it will be to have a debt-free life... Freedom! True freedom! I'm still holding onto the hope that one day I'll be able to stay home & play mommy all day long, but even if things don't work that way for a long time, we're in a better place now than most Americans get to at retirement age even. We're way ahead of the curve & I'm loving it. Every sacrifice is worth it.

Wednesday, April 1

3 months down! ...9 to go.

How did we do this month? (Well, last month since I'm posting this on the 1st...)
Rule #1 - nothing new - broken. sigh I got that iPhone. Yes, it was an early birthday gift, but it still broke the rules. At least Luke's was free... although it was new also, so that's still literally breaking the rule.
Rule #2 - no frivolous spending - broken. double sigh The new phones & the cable. I still justify the cable as entertainment since we aren't spending money on anything else. No matter how I justify it though, we broke the rules.
Rule #3 - less eating out - not broken! We went out twice as a family, fast food both times even, so we didn't spend "that much" on food out. We also stuck to our individual once/week rules.
Rule #4 - outings - not broken! We still haven't had any outings at all.
30 transactions this month: 8 grocery, 5 restaurant, 12 gas, 5 other (1 beer run, 1 AT&T for my iPhone, 1 car part to fix my a/c, 1 car inspection), plus $20 cash withdrawal.
We should be paying Luke's car off in the next week, unless some unexpected disaster pops up. So, while we broke the rules a little, I think we're doing good. Hey, we've made it to APRIL with only one major breaking of the rules. We've just got to make it the rest of the year without it happening again... fingers crossed!

Monday, March 30

The rest of the weekend.

We had Grandy's Saturday night. (That was meal # 2 out for the month.) We also hit the grocery store, but wouldn't you know - I forgot the waffles. doh! Kasen's day wasn't off to the best start without his blueberry waffle this morning. Oops. We spent no money Sunday, and no money today. I did all the cooking Saturday night/Sunday morning (I'll slowly be adding the recipes to my cooking blog), so Luke is set for the month (and then some I'm sure).
...and that's all I have to say about that...

Saturday, March 28

The last few days

how have I forgotten to post? Honestly, my iPhone is keeping me off the internet. I can check my email & such from it, so I don't seem to be stuck online as much - that's a good thing! So, let's see... Thursday I had Taco Bueno (and apparently ordering a burrito with no chili & no cheese is a mind boggler). I spent about $2. Friday I got off work at 1, so I did the big grocery trip. I spent a lot, and I still need to go get a few things at the normal grocery store (I went to Sprouts). Not sure how I spent so much, I do know we need a lot of staple items, but have groceries suddenly gone up? Wow. I'll hit Kroger tonight I guess, so I can do all the meat cooking tomorrow. Today we've stayed in so far - it's COLD! Who knows though, maybe I can talk Luke into going to Kroger with me & grabbing some dinner beforehand... We do still have 1 outing for the month if we want to use it...

Wednesday, March 25


Today was a horrible, no-good, very bad day for me. BUT it didn't involve money, so I guess it was a successful day. Thank goodness this week is on the down slide now! I have to work all day tomorrow, boo!, but I get off early Friday, yay!

Tuesday, March 24

Sucky milk run.

What a disaster yesterday was! The Whole Foods I went to was closed. I *think* they are just remodeling, but I was in such shock that I just kept on driving. I knew there was another one not too far away, so I headed to that one. Wouldn't you know it - that one didn't have the coconut milk yogurt. The reason I was specifically going to WF. Ugh! I drowned my sorrows in a tub of coconut milk ice cream instead. :)
Other than that... no money spent today. Yay!

Monday, March 23

Milk run for the week.

Gotta run by Whole Foods to grab some milk & some coconut milk yogurt. I'm really excited since it means I'll be doing that at rush hour. Why didn't I just get my lazy butt out the door & go yesterday? Oh well, can't change the past.

Saturday, March 21

Staying on track!

We're back where we should be. Friday Luke said "tomorrow we should go get curtains for the bedroom". I've been wanting curtains a long time now, but I was good & said no - we can't. We didn't spend any money this weekend. We had plenty of fun, but it was all FREE fun.

Friday, March 20

The explanation

(From yesterday.) I feel like I need to explain the whole thing. I do feel guilty about falling off the wagon, but I also feel okay with it. We are doing SO well this year. We haven't bought anything new or frivolous, no matter how tempting it has been. Think about it realistically though - we can't go out & spend money anywhere, so we don't have much entertainment. Splurging on cable has been something we've debate on for years. Obviously we CAN live without it, but when you've got nothing else to do with your free time, basic tv gets old. (ha! Nothing else... I could clean the house, exercise more, sew, bake, cook, visit friends... sigh)
By adding the cable (or fiber-optic-whatever-it's-called) we were able to drop our home phone. Something we use maybe twice a year - if that. We get calls on it, but 99.9% of those calls are solicitors. We don't use it to make calls, and only a handful of people know the number to call us. We "had" to have it, per AT&T, since we chose not to have cable to begin with. Sure, the UVerse is gonna cost us more than the phone did, but we will USE that. Kasen can now watch his beloved Doddlebops & JayJay, and Luke & I can enjoy movies or whatever. (AND, I can watch cooking shows!!!! Oh how I miss them!)
Luke was very good - he called up & told them he wanted the cheapest line-up they have. Well, that one doesn't include the receiver. So, for the price of that line-up + the receiver, we could have the next step up, which has more channels & includes the receiver. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what he decided to do. :) So, we have the U200 line-up & internet now. We don't have a home phone. I forget what Luke said the new monthly cost is, but it's not "that" much more, and when you take into account the fact that we now have entertainment, it's all good in my opinion.
The phones, well, that's another story... I've wanted to drop Verizon for a while now 'cause I had an issue about a year ago that they refused to help me with. Their customer service SUCKS. I've been done with them since then, just waiting for my contract to expire. It expired at the end of January. That was annoying. I was still stuck since I couldn't buy anything new. I once figured out how to get USED phones, for FREE, and have a cheaper monthly plan by us switching. When it came down to it though, I wanted a phone with a data package & knew I wouldn't be happy settling for something else. So we didn't switch.
One day I decided that I really wanted something fun for my 30th. It wasn't fair that this challenge would keep me from being able to have a nice celebration of a big milestone. I finally decided that my birthday would be a good time to splurge on a new cell phone & get us switched.
Well, I guess my birthday is gonna be a 2 month+ celebration 'cause my present came yesterday.
Luke was good, he took the crappy FREE phone. I debated between the Blackberry Pearl & the iPhone, and eventually the iPhone one. (Luke said the Blackberry was ugly anyway. But, hello!, it was PINK!) I also got a "cover" (in PINK!, duh) since I am a bit accident prone, and a car charger 'cause I understand the batteries don't last long. So it was a little over $250 for the whole thing. I think that's fine for a special birthday gift. Even if it did break the rules.
The plan isn't "that" bad. We were spending about $70/mth on my phone with Verizon & $15-20/mth on Luke's. (He had an old employee plan from back in the PrimeCo days still.) So, let's call it $85 on a good month. Now we have a family plan - 550 minutes between the 2 of us (we're not big talkers) for $60 ($50+$10 for the 2nd line), each of us has 200 texts for $10 ($5 each), and my data plan added $30. So, our bill is now $100, just $15 more. I call it a deal.
Now, we're back on track today. I think tonight we'll cuddle up on the couch (or the bed) and watch some cable. Wow, it's been a looooooong time since I've said that!

Thursday, March 19

The hole is getting bigger...

You know when you start digging just a little hole, thinking it'll help, not hurt, but the hole starts getting bigger & you start sinking into it? That is what I'm listening to right now.
Last year Luke & I decided that this year we'd break down & invest in UVerse. We also decided (well *I* did) that this would be the year of phone upgrades. We knew the Verizon contract was up at the end of January, so we planned to switch to AT&T. I decided if we were switching, I deserved a cool *cough,cough,iPhone/Blackberry,cough,cough* new phone with the new plan. Then, we decided to do this crazy challenge & so we sat aside the idea of both.
Well, here we are almost 3 full months into this thing & we've broken the rules. I think the fact that we already had it in our minds before we decided to do the challenge made it impossible to go a whole year w/out doing it.
So, here I listen to Luke talking to the AT&T lady, getting the UVerse hooked up & switching our cell phones over. When he's done we have to head to the AT&T store and get the phones. *SIGH* We're in over our heads people!
Oh, and we'll be without Internet during the wait between the disconnection of our home phone & the installation of the UVerse. On the bright side - we have the hook up on connection, and he's hoping to squeeze us in tomorrow, or worst case Sunday. So it won't be too bad.

Well, there's my confession for now. Gotta go get the kiddo & head out to the store... Gosh, we failed this challenge. Is it wrong that I'm happy about the failure though? ;) Back on the wagon after this though. It's our first big failure, so we're doing good.

Wednesday, March 18

TARGET - oh, how I miss thee.

First of all, I started my day with my one meal out. I had McD's for breakfast. Maybe I should stick to eating out for breakfast only - it's never a disappointment.
On my lunch break I headed to Target to get stuff to restock the candy jar here at work & grab a snack for Luke at work. (Wish I had recalled that he's off for the next 2 days, I need to hide them until Monday...) What did I have to walk past though?
First of all - the purses! Oh, how I want a fun new spring purse! The PINKs, the purples, the greens... My silver one is gonna look very out of season. I love it, but I need to retire it for a few months. Guess I'll go search my closet... but I think I got rid of everything already. Boo!
Second - the EASTER stuff! Did you know that they have a TONKA TRUCK Easter basket? Seriously. Kasen NEEDS that. It's not a want. It's not a frivolous thing. He NEEDS it. sigh Okay, it is a want and is most definitely a frivolous thing. Boo! Boo! Boo! (Oh, and it's totally a hint if anyone reading this feels the need to buy him a Tonka Truck basket... or a turtle one, they were cute, so were the Cars ones, or the Elmo one... Oh, but that Tonka basket was beyond perfect!!) The eggs - did you know they have eggs that you turn on & they say "I'm hiding" (or something like that) and eggs with Sesame Street characters, eggs with little cars, eggs with all kinds of fun stuff. sigh, sigh, sigh! Next year I WILL spend money on Easter. I'm not even doing an Easter celebrating at our house this year 'cause we can't spend money. I guess it doesn't matter about a basket or eggs, huh? Gosh, no Easter basket for my baby. Eh, he won't know the difference yet, right?

Monday, March 16

Bloggy, bloggie, blog-blog

Sunday was a disaster - but not Year Without-wise. Let's just say the disaster started when Kasen decided to stand up in the cart at Sprouts & went flying backwards into the cart. Have you ever heard a child screaming so loud that the entire store could hear it? That was MY child. My sweet little angel. Now, before you go thinking I'm an awful mom for thinking about it that way, let me say that he was perfectly alright. He was screaming, crying, and saying "no-no! no-no!". He knew standing up was a no-no, I didn't have to tell him. sigh The trip went downhill from there, although Kasen ended up with a new toothbrush, some whale shaped soap (that he had a reaction to - go figure!), and some pudding mix. One day I'll make the pudding... One day... ;)
Anyhow... I think my grocery budget idea when down the drain this month. After spending an obnoxious amount at Sprouts (yes, it was mostly produce & dairy, just a couple of other things thrown in), I remembered that I forgot peanut butter & we're almost out & I can't make granola bars without it. So off I went to Brookshire's for peanut butter, wheat flour, pepperoni ('cause I decided to make pizza for dinner), & Dr Pepper (per Luke's request). Okay, fine, not too far off the the budget idea... THEN I had to run to CVS today 'cause I have got to Kasen's eczema/hives/whatever under control. I got some Aquaphor ointment & non-soap cleaner. That stuff ain't cheap! Hopefully it works though.
Okay, blah, blah, blah, you really didn't want to know all that. That's the past 2 days here though. :)

Sunday, March 15


We stayed in our pajamas all day. Seriously. It was wonderful! After I put Kasen to bed I had a nice soak in a Lush bath. I started the year with enough for 4 baths, so I've got to make it last. I wish I could just run out & stock up on bubble bars & bath bombs, but that wouldn't be very frugal, now would it? Today we're off to the store - produce, dairy, eggs, and some more yeast 'cause I want to make a sourdough starter so we can have some yummy sourdough bread in a week or two.

By the way - I'm kinda curious how many people actually read this blog. Would you mind posting a little hello comment if you read this? Just to feed my own curiosity. Thank you!

Friday, March 13

Lunch out x 2.

Luke & I both had lunch out today. I spent $1 and some change, Luke had 2 "small" burgers, so whatever that costs. This weekend I have to go on the mini grocery run, so that's more money. I did make $25 though. Yay! I got a request from IBM a few weeks ago to do an IRS survey that was really boring, but it paid me $25, which came in the mail today. Free money!

Wednesday, March 11

Cold & rainy. Blah!

No money spent, yay!
I'm trying to work on the amount of money we've been spending on groceries. This is really difficult for me & something I sad I wasn't gonna touch this year. I changed my mind.
We eat mostly organic, not much processed, and lots of fresh fruits & veggies. I'm not really willing to change what we eat - health is too important to set aside for money as far as I am concerned! However, we're averaging $500/mth in groceries for the 3 of us (based on the last 6-ish months). That's actually quite a bit. (Granted, we aren't eating out much, so of course our budget is gonna go a little higher, BUT!, not that much.) I've never had to budget groceries (or anything for that matter) so I never had a clue what we spent. A week or so ago we started looking at the categories of spending to see the difference we've made this year & there was the big ol' chunk of grocery pie (we had it up on a pie chart). MAN! In December we spent over $700 in groceries. Yes, you read that right! Granted, that was all the family meals, the special holiday goodies, the work parties, etc, but still $700?! Ridiculous!
So, I'm trying to cut out all the extra grocery trips. If we need milk, fine, but running to the store to buy milk & walking out with bags of stuff can't keep happening. I'm not good being out of something. I hate not being able to cook what I want 'cause I'm missing an ingredient that has no substitute, or not being able to eat what I'm craving 'cause it was finished off last week. *BUT* I need to learn to either stock up or suck it up.
The longest I think I can go w/out a trip for fruits & veggies is 2 weeks. So, every 2 weeks I can stock up on fruits, veggies, eggs, and dairy products. I'm gonna try to stock up on all the dry goods, meats, toiletries, etc. once month. In between those times we're gonna have to learn to suck it up. (The exception being if we run completely out of milk or fresh veggies.)
So far we're off to a good start... But this weekend we'll have to make a produce/dairy trip so it'll be my first test. Will I pass??? Plus, Luke & Kasen will be at home all day Thurs & Fri next week, so they'll eat who knows what... ack! ;)