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?