Monday, February 28, 2011

I Think I Hate the Envelope System

This $12 a day thing is teaching me that I'm very bad at planning and that I'm incredibly near sighted. I took out all the cash for this weeks budget yesterday. I spent $15.89 on the tiniest bag of dog food I've ever bought. I bought a soda at a pub for $2. I spent $33.71 on a few groceries for the week. Then last night I was starving and majorly craving sugar so I made a pretty unnecessary run to the store for protein bars and stuff to make cinnamon brown sugar walnut baked apples that cost $6.47. It's like I've got all this cash that I can spend (as opposed to just the $12 per day) and I'm just spending it. I know that I will need it later and yet because I have it I don't feel like it's really wrong to be spending it. I only have $18 left for the week. I should be able to get by quite well with just $18 but if I were actually spending $12 a day I'd still have $60 left. I hate money.

I'm not bringing the $18 to work with me tomorrow. If I do I'll likely spend at least half of it and this week will continue to head downhill FAST. We still have cash. The budget for the week is balanced (in theory). Oooh, I've almost gone 1 whole month without using overdraft! I'm excited.

P.S. I know that you're technically supposed to have different envelopes for different things, i.e; food, clothes, gifts, household supplies. I'm working with just $12 a day for ALL that stuff plus I have a difficult enough time handling just 2 envelopes. For now 2 is going to have to do. At least I have envelopes now.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Utility Crack Down

I've taken several of your suggestions into consideration and I've made a weekly utility saver chart. I intend to use 1 towel, 1 glass for water, take two showers, and do three loads of laundry per week. I intend to use one plate for food, wear one pair of socks (I tend to take off my socks and put a new pair on several times a day), and use one mug for beverages per day.

I've unplugged almost everything in the house. My husband leaves the TV on incessantly so I intend to watch that like a hawk and turn it off whenever necessary. I'm going to use lighting as little as possible. I like to check facebook about a million times a day so the computer is ALWAYS on. That's going to change. I need to remind myself to not run the water when washing hands and other things like that. I intend to wear shirts at least twice, pants at least three times, and sweatshirts for at least a week before washing them. It probably sounds gross but I'm sure we can flush the toilet less. I think we use a TON of water. I'm instituting all of these new procedures this week. I think it's going to take awhile to find out how much of an impact they'll make on the utilities but I'm interested to find out. The water bill will probably be the most impacted and we only get billed every three months so it's going to take awhile to find out on that one. I'll keep you posted.

Today I bought a very small bag of dog food and most of the meat that we'll need for the week. In addition I bought dish soap, eggs, stuff for spaghetti squash spaghetti, and some other veggies. I've $30 cash for the week. I gave my husband his $30 cash ($50 less than what he's been averaging but that's what he asked for) for his own personal spending. The budget for the week is balanced SO FAR. Game on!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wrapping up Month Two in Pretty (Imaginary) Paper

Had another "conversation" with my husband about the budget today. This time I tried it from the "we have different priorities" lets help each other out method. It wasn't completely successful but he said that he's going to spend less. He still wants NOTHING to do with the budget but we agreed that I'll give him some cash at the beginning of each week (whatever amount he asks for) and that's all he's going to spend. I'm hopeful.

So far I've paid down almost 5% of the credit card debt in just two months. 5% isn't that much but for some reason it sounds absolutely wonderful to me.

It's almost been one entire month since I used the overdraft. That doesn't sound like much but I'll tell you what it's a HUGE accomplishment for me. GO ME!

I'm not going to start goal number six: building up a tiny emergency fund, until that darn Chase card is paid off. That right now is thee priority. I've got it down to $1600 and I haven't bought a single cup of coffee for over a week. I can do this.

In other good news I just received 0% balance transfer checks from one of our cards. I haven't seen a 0% rate in years! The 0% is good for a year and after it expires the interest rate won't be any higher than any of our cards currently are. I've applied the 0% to one of our credit cards and I can proudly say that after starting this year with 8 credit cards, 9 if you include the overdraft visa we're now down to 6. I could not be happier! We're going to save SOOOO much on interest with that one move alone. It's moments like these that I can honestly say this debt elimination thing is kind of fun.

The budget for months one and two is officially BALANCED! I've decided that I'm going to go all out cash envelope from now on. Scary, I know. I'm going to take out my $84 at the beginning of the week, put $14 in the future purchases envelope (or directly towards a bigish purchase like the dog food we need this week) and the rest goes towards spending.

The only downer I have to report is that I've been racking my brain on ways to save money and earn extra money and I am not coming up with anything. I'd honestly like to pay off $10,000 in credit card debt this year. That is my goal. It's a VERY ambitious goal and it's going to take a lot extra effort but the creative juices aren't flowing. Just reigning in our spending isn't going to get us there. The only thing I can think of is getting a Saturday morning job but I haven't the slightest idea who'd hire me just to work Saturday mornings???

All things considered I'm very happy with months one and two and I'm pretty sure it's nothing but up hill from here. Again, thanks for reading!!!

P.S. if you're a praying individual could you join me in praying for good steady gas prices. They've been predicting $11 a gal. average by spring because of the middle east turmoil and unfortunately prices like that will shut down this country. $11 a gal or even $6 or $7 means death to debt elimination and so much more.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Birthday Money

My mother in law handed me a birthday card with a check for a $100 in it, gave me one of her forceful overbearing hugs, and half whispered to me, "you spend that money on yourself now!" I sort of nodded in compliance but felt quite devious in my heart. I was already planning on putting her birthday gift towards the Chase card.

The past few weeks I've been struggling anytime we've gotten any extra money, ie; taxes, extra hours worked, birthday. "Ok, do I put it towards saving... credit card payoff, items around here we truly need, repairs, large future purchases that are rapidly drawing near??? UGG!" I hate the questioning and debating and pondering money game. A few days ago I decided that my number one priority is the Chase card. I'm paying that stupid thing off asap. ANY extra money we get that isn't desperately need someplace else is going to that card. No more debating. No more deciding. It's decided. The Chase card has to go! I knew that I'd be putting my birthday money towards that card way before I ever got it.

Sadly no one really understands. I want to be out of debt. Paying down a credit card is SOOO much more important to me than new shoes or better fitting clothes or even a really great dinner out (and that one is hard to believe myself). I want to be OUT OF DEBT! I want to be free! I want to the weight of bondage gone from my life! Sometimes I start dreaming about saving for a vacation, or saving for some new stuff. We really need new front steps (they're literally crumbling) and front porch lights because they've been broken for at least 3 years. We really need to fix our garage that's tipping over (ok, it's a little bit neat to have a leaning garage, I kind of like it and no one could rob us cause they wouldn't be able to figure out how to get the door open). The basement could use some fixing up. I'd love to paint around here (although that's in no way needed, just would be fun). But the debt is what matters. The debt is what's holding us back from having children. Interest on those darn credit cards is robbing us blind. We can not afford to be in debt any longer and all that other stuff can wait.

The budget for the first two months of 2011 is balanced (a little preemptive but I'm NOT spending money tomorrow) AND I've paid almost 5 percent of our total credit card debt!!!

My Coffee Love Affair

It's been 1 week since I bought a coffee. That free Starbucks drink for my birthday hasn't shown up yet so I'm sort of starting to doubt it's existence. One week without a Mocha, Caramel Goodnite, Caramel Machiatto, McD's coffee, or whatever other tasty concoction I could dream up and I was doing fine. Then I ran out of tea, splenda, and creamer for my delicious Guatemalan coffee beans.

I had another one of those moments today at the store. I got all the bare essentials to make it through today and tomorrow (I'm talking BARE) which left me with 33 cents. I was thinking to myself, "I NEED to get creamer but I don't want to go over budget, what do I do?" 33 cents is not even close to enough. Back and forth I go: live without creamer, go over budget AGAIN, live without creamer, end month two over budget, live without creamer or, "LIGHTBULB." I came up with an idea. It wasn't a super terrific idea but it would allow me creamer AND I'd stay on budget.

I went on break at one of the stores (where I work) and as I was filling a cup with hot water for my last bag of tea I grabbed a few extra creamers and a few extra splendas from the cafe area. It felt weird and like a pathetically desperate move but I have enough splenda and creamer to last the weekend now and the budget is balanced. Hooray!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Money Madness

I had to take my husbands van to work because the car was in the shop. I hate taking the van because it guzzles gas. But car repairs are a necessary evil. I only had a little bit of the cash left for groceries but I decided to get stuff for taco salads because my husband was starting to complain about eating chicken meatloaf or eggs every night. This week has been TIGHT and uncomfortable. All the little extras like salsa (even though I buy the cheapest I can find) and lettuce and avocado and seasoning they add up fast. We also needed toilet paper so I grabbed the second to cheapest bundle I saw. I rang everything up and the total came to $2 over the cash I had left (for the week). I stood there, just stood there wondering what to do. I thought about putting the toilet paper back and getting the cheaper one. That would have at least made it so I wouldn't go over. Then I pulled out the debit card and paid the $2 extra. 

I thought about it all the way home. I started listening to the Dave Ramsey FPU CD's again this week. As I was thinking about going over the budget (already) by $2 Dave started talking about the envelope system and how they got to a breaking point when they went out somewhere and found out they hadn't brought the envelope. They turned right back around and went home to get it. He said that's when they knew they were serious about this money thing and they weren't going to break the rules. I was SOO bummed and a little ashamed about going over the budget for the week. I was so determined to stay on budget but apparently not determined enough. I should have put the toilet paper back. Heck I shouldn't have been buying stuff for taco salads.

I got home and the car was there (it was fixed much quicker than I thought it'd be). When I walked in the house my husband said that the repairs actually cost less than the money my mom and sister had given me for my birthday for the car repairs. I thought we were going to have to pay a little extra on top of it even. It was only a couple bucks under but there was enough money left to cover my grocery shortage and put towards a few more groceries for the week and we didn't end up having to put any extra towards the repair. Totally a win win. It is cheating a bit, putting birthday money towards groceries is not entirely in the rule book or not in the rule book.

Either way this week has been difficult, stressful, and eye opening. I NEED to budget better and plan ahead. The car is fixed (mostly) and the budget for the week is still balanced. Oh, and I haven't had one cup of coffee away from home or one single cadbury egg... I haven't hardly bought any little extras for that matter. I'm LOVING my Guatemalan birthday coffee grounds though. They're SOOOO good!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cadbury Eggs

The Cadbury eggs are 24 cents off this week. Why are those little things so incredibly tasty? I can handle it though. I'm not even going to buy one until Saturday and only if I have money left that I haven't spent. At least that's what I'm telling myself right now. Today I didn't buy any coffee. I didn't buy any pop at work. I didn't buy any candy. I'm telling you all those little things add up, FAST. All the little stuff tends to take over like an army if I don't pay attention to it. This week I need to focus. I started out $20 short. I have to buy dog food again next week (for the other dog). I will have this budget balanced going into month three/ March. I will!

So far so good. I still have cash left from the $64 I took out for this week and this week's budget is balanced (yes it's only Monday). Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Starting Week 8

I've struggled so much the past two weeks and I'm entering this week $20 behind so I am going to go at this thing a tiny bit differently. Today I took out $64 cash. That's all the money in the budget that I have to spend for this week. I bought enough groceries to last for a few days. The money left is all I have to spend for this week. I am bound and determined to balance the budget this week. I don't want to enter month three over budget. I still need to talk to my husband about his excessive spending. I plan on doing that today. I'd like this week to go by smoothly with little spending while staying on budget.

With cash in my pocket and a plan to spend no more than what I have I think it's safe to say that the budget is now balanced. It's about time. Dave Ramsey, I think after at least two years I'm finally ready for the envelope system.

I have to give a shout out to my mom and my sister who bought me the best Guatemalan coffee grounds for my birthday AND they're paying for two car repairs that I've been putting off for far too long. I am very blessed. I also think I'm getting a free starbucks drink in the mail, at least I received an e-mail saying that one was on it's way. Since I'm not buying any coffee shop coffee till I pay off that darn chase card I'm REALLY looking forward to that free drink and I'm LOVING these fabulous grounds. Here's to week 8 and over $1000 of credit card debt being gone already this year!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Throwing a Little Challenge into the mix

I'm not going to purchase coffee away from home until I have goal number 5 tackled. No McD's. No Starbucks. No family friendly coffee shop treats. Coffee at home and tea, tea, tea it will be.

I've added a progress bar to the gadgets on my page. I spent over an hour trying to find one a few days ago with absolutely no success. Then today I found one on a great blog I stumbled across: I really thought I'd never find one. Now you and I can see that I've paid off 4.23% of our credit card debt this year.

The Sunshine Peeks Through the Clouds

I spent $5.49 today and that's it. Spending is done. We're $13.47 over budget this week. That coupled with last weeks $6.52 overage puts us $19.99 over budget for the year. I'm pretty sure I can make that up next week and get back on budget.
*breath of fresh air*

Now for the really good news: GOAL NUMBER 4 HAS BEEN REACHED. The federal tax refund posted to our account today and I paid off the littlest credit card $285. I also put $195 towards goal number five.

I'm beyond happy about reaching goal number four and working towards goal number five but the train has derailed a bit. Goal number three is farther away than ever. My husband thought it would be a very nice gesture to spend over a $100 on me for my birthday even though I told him numerous times that, "I really honestly want nothing for my birthday! I just want to pay off credit cards." Apparently he didn't get the message but I'm sure I'll enjoy my gifts and I'm not going to scold him for buying me presents. Additionally he's been spending more money than usual lately (birthday not included). I'm not sure what's wrong with him. He also just saw the Bonnaroo line up for this year and apparently there's no question about it: He's going. That's $257.60 that will be coming out of the tax refund although I did tell him that he's going to have to come up with some of that money himself by playing shows or selling stuff or whatever. He said he's ok with that so hopefully I'll be able to reimburse some of the money that should be going towards debt. All in all I'm not able to put the entire tax refund towards debt like I'd hoped. But as opposed to years prior when we ended up spending every penny before getting to paying back debt I think we've done ok this year.

Goal 1: so far so good.
Goal 2: half half. Paid the overdraft off. Haven't gone a whole month yet without using the overdraft
Goal 3: I'm going to address this thing differently. Today I think I'm going to show him how much he's spent on video and movie rentals (we have netflix too) and eating out with friends these past two months. If I can at least get him to work on that it'll help a lot.
Goal 4: HOLE IN ONE!
Goal 5: getting there and on track.

Friday, February 18, 2011

LOVE Fridays

I spent $7.66 today. I did buy a coffee (and it was SOOO good) but that only makes two coffees in the past two weeks. I'd say that's excellent. I thought about buying some good high quality Guatemalan beans on Sunday to reward myself if I don't go over the $20 mark but then I realized that wouldn't help the budget and until it's back to balanced I probably shouldn't be thinking of rewards. We are currently $26.50 over budget. If I can squeak by with only spending $5.49 on food for tomorrow I'll have stayed under the $20 overage for this week (which is including last weeks overage).

I'm so glad the weekend is here. This money thing is exhausting. I need rest (and to not be in a grocery store surrounded by temptation for 8 hours).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Trying to Appreciate what I have

First and foremost I appreciate your comments. Thank-you to everyone who's shared a bit of input. It makes me  feel very much like I'm not alone. This fight can feel VERY lonely at times.

Today I wanted to purchase everything I walked past while at work. It was actually quite weird because apart from food it's been a good six months at least since I've had troubles spending money on unnecessary random things. Today though I really had to force myself not to put neat toys for my nieces and nephews and sunday school kids (on clearance of course), random articles of clothing, and of course tons of food we do not need in my cart while I was working (I work as a merchandiser in a grocery store... actually a supermarket). About half way through the struggle I decided to make a list of things at home that I'm really blessed by and blessed to have.

My list went a little something like this:
-My husband... he likes to spend money but he's the best
- Our three furry children (two dogs and an aging grouchy cat... but she's awesome)
-The pumpkin nutmeg apple vanilla cinnamon walnut salad candle that my husband really randomly got for me I think for our anniversary last year. I'm burning it right now.
-My hot neck wrap, super sweet massage chair, hand scrub, and foot salve... all of which I plan on utilizing for relaxation sometime before bed tonite.
-The Kindle which rocks and I do not use often enough. (Christmas gift from the Mother in law)
-Comfy clothes and warm blankets (can you tell I'm trying to survive winter in Michigan)
-The opportunity and ability to be physically active (that was sort of my own little pep talk for exercising tonite) which I'm going to do after I finish writing this.

It's sort of a weird list. But it worked. As soon as I got done writing it I stopped being tempted by things all over the store that desperately wanted to come home with me. Today I spent $2.90. We are currently $30.84 over budget. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to reach the NO MORE THAN $20 overage by the end of the week. And it's all up hill from there... right.

Just Keep Baby Stepping

This staying on budget thing (or trying to) is really difficult and exhausting. But every time I "need" to buy a coffee or a pop, every time I feel I'm not going to make it through the day without some sort of sugar boost, every time I "NEED" to dine out because it's just too exhausting to cook I can't help but think about the people all over the world who don't even have water and the millions, I suppose billions of people who are starving. There are people who celebrate at one tiny piece of candy that I wouldn't even waist the calories on. There are people who are beyond our comprehension thankful for one tortilla or a piece of fruit. I'm struggling to deny myself luxury that I'm accustomed to. I owe a ridiculous amount of money because of foolish indulgence in luxury and there are people all over the world who are struggling just to live. It's awful how far tipped the scales are.

"I don't need those little extras. I don't need sugar. I don't need convenient dinners." I tell my head these things but my body screams, "YES YOU DO!" For crying out loud I am selfish and immature. Yesterday as I was walking in the front door I was thinking how I'd like to just quit, quit this being responsible thing, quit this growing up and getting out of debt thing, just quit. My flesh is screaming to go back to the old ways, the eating whatever you want whenever you want ways. Who needs to pay back what they owe anyway? We're Americans. The government will take care of us if we fail. (I apologize this is an ugly conversation I'm having with myself but it is what it is and I'm not holding back) This $40 overage is making me feel like I can't do it. I know I can. I KNOW that I need to. I know that I want to be out of debt, that I want freedom SOOO much more than I want coffee but it's hard. And I have to put it into perspective. I'm fighting with myself over luxury, unnecessary extras (I'm by no means starving or even hungry here) while people all over the planet are dying. I can handle this tiny battle. I can. Just keep baby stepping. I will get there!

I spent $12.79 wednesday. We are $39.94 over budget at present. I'm hoping to end this week with no more than $20 over. That's the goal at least.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dreaming of Money

Tax return's on it's way. My birthday's only 9 days away... I usually get money from my mother in law at least. This future money is just hanging over my head. Car repairs, Giordanos, new shoes (the first pair in WELL over a year), new work clothes (mine are getting pretty shabby), maybe a pair of jeans... oh the possibilities. Then there's my husband: new TV, new amplifier, sound system, blah, blah, blah. He dreams a lot bigger then I do.

BUT here's the thing. We have lived it up for EIGHT YEARS! We don't need a trip to Chicago. New clothes and shoes would be nice but we DO NOT NEED them. A new TV would just be pointless excess. The amp he has is a really great one. He can keep borrowing the sound system from Dave. I NEED to pay those stupid credit cards off. (this is sort of pep talk for myself because I keep trying to justify spending the upcoming money on crap) I'm paying down those credit cards and that's that!!! (I hope)

Ok, so today I spent $4.26 on more tea and chocolates. I've discovered that clearance candy is my biggest weakness. I just can't resist the deliciousness combined with such a great price. My lunch was even more creativity frugal than normal. I've been buying the 50 cent cup of noodles lately. Today I brought a mug with me and spent 18 cents on the regular pack of ramon noodles. My lunch cost 18 cents! It worked out great. Oooh also, we're going to the in laws right now for dinner. I LOVE free dinners!!! We are $39.15 over budget at present. At least it went down a bit.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today I didn't purchase any cadbury eggs or candy, coffee, soda, pizza, or little extras of any sort. I spent today's $12 on groceries, on milk, meat, PB, bread, eggs... that sort of stuff. We're still $46.86 over budget but I'm happy with today. Tea, toast, PB, and ramon noodles are becoming quite good friends of mine.

I've added goal number 5 to the list even though I've only been able to cross off one of the existing four items. I see the accomplishment of goal number four: paying off the littlest credit card drawing rapidly nearer. Goal number five is the next credit card in line a $2000 Chase card with horrendous interest. I should, SHOULD be able to pay that one off by the end of May. I'll need to put at least some of the tax refund towards it but I can very reasonably have it paid off in the next three months.  I can't wait to knock that bad boy off our list of creditors. This paying off debt thing is really getting exciting.

Birthdays, Holidays, and Taxes

This week has gone terribly awry and it's only Sunday.

Last week I ended up $6.52 over budget.

My husband and I decided not to do Valentines gifts. Neither of us "need" anything and we cannot afford the extra spending even for loves sake. We did go to El Burrito for a Valentines dinner. That cost $23.12. I spent about $18 on a birthday gift for my niece, gift wrap's included in that price because we were completely out. And to top it off I spent about $11 on groceries. It looks like this week is beginning much worse than last week did. Last week's overage combined with the Valentines dinner, groceries and the birthday gift brings my spending for this week to almost $60. IT'S ONLY SUNDAY... the first day of the week. Look's like I did exactly what I said not to do two posts ago. I made it through last week, a week of tooth and nail fighting to stay on budget and then I just went spending crazy, or at least feel like I did.

We are $46.86 over budget today  : (

I have to admit I did not want to post this. I don't feel like I'm failing. It's more like I've hit a big bump in the road but I do feel like it must appear as though I'm losing it. I thought of a good plan to get out of posting this. The tax refund is coming eventually. I thought to myself I could just earmark some of the tax refund money for all this crazy spending I just did and then I could actually start this week out normal, balanced with just the $11 groceries spent. I could even get rid of last weeks negative if I alloted some of the tax refund to make up for it.

It sounded like a good plan. But we have a very bad habit of spending all of our tax refund money before it ever gets here. I know for the past few years at least I've been bound and determined to put the refund money towards the debt and I'm almost positive that for the past few years not a penny of it has made it's way to pay off the debt. It always gets spent on little stuff. I've got a list already this year that we could put it towards: new work shoes for both myself and my husband, a power steering flush for the car and a new serpentine belt, my husband cannot get a new television off of his mind, front porch lights, I hate these lists of things that suddenly seem so important when money shows up. So I decided the plan of earmarking the tax refund money for this little spending spree of mine wasn't such a good one. I want to put the tax refund towards the debt and that's that, not dinners out, not birthday gifts, not over spending. That stuff I'm just going to have to work into the budget no matter how slowly it takes to catch back up.

And so I begin week seven $46.86 over budget (which includes last weeks overage because I have to make that up). Yay.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I've yet to do this because it's embarrassing but you've been reading this quite faithfully for over a month and I think it's about time.

We started this year with NINE credit cards that we haven't used in a VERY long time. 
As of January 1st 2011 our credit card debt was $23,999.21. 
I don't know how that happened.
The overdraft which is totally a credit card but I don't group it with them was $282.
I'm not even going to mention the car loan, the mortgage or the equity line. Nope. Not mentioning those.

That's the run down $24,281.21 of unsecured debt. 
I'm totally ashamed now. 
Thanks for reading.

If I didn't think that I would be putting a HUGE dent in the above mentioned debt I would have never admitted to it. My hope is that as this year progresses mine will be a success story. A story of freedom, growth and accomplishment. I'd like to be an encouragement to others who feel doomed, trapped, and overwhelmed by the bad decisions they foolishly and blindly made like me. 

I am NOT declaring bankruptcy.
I am NOT going to walk away from my debt.
I WILL be responsible. I WILL pay it back.
I will eat less, avoid starbucks with every ounce of energy I have, and wait for things that I want right now but cannot afford. 
I will spend $12 a day and get out of debt.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday, Thinking about Responsibility

Today I ate:
2 PB sandwiches
2 cups of tea w/ milk and splenda
Ramon Noodles 50 cents
a caramel goodnite mocha $3.50
Reece's 74 cents
Ground chicken meatloaves $2.99 for the chicken
Peas $1.09

I also spent 50 cents to call the power company from a pay phone because our power went out this morning and it's COLD outside.

Today I spent $9.32. We are officially over budget for this week by $2.79. There's no money left in the budget for tomorrow.

Considering that I've been able to go from $30.53 over budget to $2.79 over I think I've done pretty well this week. Today was awful though. I did break down and buy that mocha and some candy but overall I wanted to just let go and splurge on everything imaginable. I wanted to fill my cart with groceries at the end of the day AND bring home a pizza from jets for dinner. Then tomorrow I could cook the day away with all the food I could dream of. Blueberry pancakes with apple butter syrup and bacon AND sausage for breakfast. Guatemalan coffee with hazelnut creamer all day long. Huge ham sandwiches with expensive buns, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado for lunch. Maybe lasagna or spaghetti with garlic bread for dinner. And then dessert, oooh dessert.

I've read different stories about people who've lived truly impoverished lives. It seems that a lot of impoverished people spend so much time being hungry and thinking about food that when they receive a pay check or some money they blow it all right then and there on all the things they've been dreaming of while starving. I always wondered why, when reading such stories, the people didn't save some of the money to put towards little bits of food until they came into more money. Why would they stuff themselves for that one moment and then have to face all that time without?

I'm not by any means starving but I'm also no longer asking the above question. The need to fulfill the desire, whether it be a desire to fill an empty stomach or to dine on a plethora of luxurious food so easily overshadows the need to be responsible. I half wonder if there are two types of people. 1.) people who live for NOW while totally neglecting any concept of moments to come and 2.) people who realize that life is continuously happening and that we need to be responsible for the moments that are coming. I am certain that I am the first type of person. I'm not oblivious to the future but everything within me foolishly drives me to neglect it and just think about satisfying the cravings of the moment. I'm working toward becoming that second type of person. I want to live life and make the most of each and every breath but I need also to be responsible.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Today I ate:
3 PB sandwiches
2 cups of tea w/ cream/ milk and splenda
Peppermint bark
Ramon Noodles 50 cents
Diet pop 88 cents
Eggs $1.64
and toast $1

I also had to purchase ketchup $2.19 blah

Today I spent $6.21. We are currently $17.47 over budget for the week. I've $6.53 left to spend this week in order to stick to the budget and two days to go!!!

REALLY difficult week!

This week I decided to get all technical and post what I've been eating and spending money on each day. Then I went and started the week by spending $9 on ice cream and $38 on dog food. Those two purchases used up over half of my budget for the week. I am REALLY determined to stay on budget this week or at least get as close as I possibly can. The little extra's like soda and peppermint bark, coffee at McD's and granola bars aren't helping BUT they're much better purchases than one $25 dinner somewhere.

The list of food is everything I've been eating and it is a pretty accurate depiction of what I generally eat. However it does not reflect what my husband spends money on or what he chooses to eat for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. He works at 4am so he usually eats a banana, yogurt, a few protein bars and then a totally random lunch of some sort before I feed him a dinner of either meatloaf and veggies, eggs and toast (that's our super low budget penny pinching dinner that we don't eat very often), chicken burgers and veggies, ground chicken taco salad... yep those are our regular dinners.

This week is a huge test for me. I'm not going to pretend to be stronger than I am. I'm slowing starting to lose faith in my ability to make this weeks budget. There's virtually no food in this house (just some bread and tea). My niece's birthday is coming up, Valentines is on Monday, we've a few squares of toilet paper left, almost out of dish soap, dinners have been boring and the peanut butter toast is getting old. I know I can go over budget and try and make it up next week but it's the principle really. I have set out to do something here. If  I bend the rules and make exceptions and run over into the next week I'll lose it altogether. That's how I am, all in or all out. Especially since I've only just begun this battle I need to suck it up and go all in.

Additionally I'm hoping that this REALLY tight tough week will help me to put away that $2 a day for future purchases like DOG FOOD. Yeah, that would have been nice.

Addressing Melanie's comment: buying in bulk is wise and a great way to save money. I've never been very good at it and for now it's not an option. The main reason I purchase our dinner every evening (besides that I work at a grocery store and it's easy to pick up three or four things on the way out) is because it helps me to get only what we need. When I buy groceries for the week there's always something we don't want to eat and we end up spending extra on what we do. I always forget something essential and then I have to put a dent in the budget to get that un-anticipated thing. I rather enjoy picking up what we need, the absolute essentials and then knowing how much I have left for the rest of the week. I buy mostly what's on sale so I am saving some money. Also, I've always had a problem spending money before it arrives. I'm "enjoying" (I use that word loosely) learning how to spend the money I've alloted to each day. At least for now I think this is for the best.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday, Peppermint Bark and Tea

I found some seriously clearanced peppermint bark stashed away on a random shelf at the store today. I COULD NOT resist it. I didn't purchase any at Christmas time and I love love LOVE it. I shouldn't have bought it. I certainly don't need it but I'm pretty sure it was well worth the 98 cents. And It is SOOOO delicious.

Food I ate today:
3 Fresh baked homemade sugar cookies
4 cups of Tea $2.79 (a box of 20 Irish Breakfast tea bags)
with splenda and milk $1.59 (for the milk)
2 PB sandwiches
2 Ground chicken burgers (no bun) $2.99 for the chicken
Corn and Toast
Peppermint Bark 98 cents

I ran out of coffee at home and I've been buying McDonald's coffee pretty regularly. To me it's a huge compromise because it's not Starbucks (which is about $3 a cup more expensive... ok so I don't order plain brewed coffee from Starbucks). BUT $1.06 or $1.47 from McDonalds is still WAY more expensive then brewing your own coffee at home even if you choose to buy pretty good beans. Unfortunately my problem has been not wanting to blow $7 to $10 in one shot on a bag of coffee. However the McDonald's cafe pit stops have pretty much surpassed the $7 to $10 sum and in just a few days. I came to terms today with needing to stop that habit like yesterday. Hence the box of tea. $2.79 looked a lot better to me than the price of coffee beans and I LOVE Irish breakfast tea. Sorry coffee I think I won't be seeing you for a little while (and I'm almost certain that's going to help my budget quite a bit).

I spent $8.35 today. We are currently $23.26 over budget. With three days to catch up I think I might be in a bit of trouble here : (

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Food I ate today:
2 PB sandwiches $2.50 (for the PB)
McD coffee $2.53
Chicken Sandwich $1.06
2 protein bars
Eggs and Toast
Hot cocoa $2.29 (for the gallon of milk)

I spent $8.38 today. We are currently $26.91 over budget. I am cutting this week UNBELIEVABLY close! But at least I'm catching up a bit.


Food I ate today:
McDonalds coffee $1.47
Peanut butter sandwich
Granola bars $2
Diet pop $1.49
Eggs .70 plus some change I found
Toast $1

Other purchases:
Dog food $38.79

We are $30.53 over budget for the week. That leaves an average of just under $6 a day for the rest of this week in order to balance the budget.

Monday, February 7, 2011


We spent $9.08 at Cold Stone. Great way to start the week I say. (it was delicious but that's sarcasm for anyone who couldn't tell)

Food today:
4 pieces of toast with PB
2 mini ground chicken meatloafs with peas and corn and 2 more pieces of toast
I snacked quite a bit on cookie dough I had in the fridge
FREE caramel mocha (my sister bought it for me)
Coldstone ice cream (that's for me and my husband) $9.08
FREE superbowl snacks at a relatives house

That leaves $2.92 that I can put towards dog food and the budget for today is balanced.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Something to Show for all of this Madness Update

Today is the beginning of week 6. For 5 weeks my cost of living has been an average of $12 a day.  For 5 weeks I've been struggling to stay on budget, stay on course, and move forward towards debt relief. Today I paid the overdraft off $282. Finally I've something to show for all of this hard work. Finally some of our debt is GONE! So far in 5 weeks with our regular credit card payments and the overdraft pay off we are $420 less in debt. I'm pretty happy with that. Once we bounce back from the horribly unexpected $475.16 vet bills from December and January (coupled with Christmas spending) I think the debt relief snowball effect shall begin. I'm hopeful.

This week, week 6 I'm "planning" on itemizing my spending so that you and I can see up close and personal where this $12 a day is going. I'm not going to do this on a regular basis mostly because we eat the same stuff all the time so the lists would begin to be unbelievably repetitive and boring... like our food. 

I'm also struggling with the reality that I need to start eating more healthily again. For the past 5 weeks I've been rewarding my good spending with little treats like 50 cent candies, lots of homemade cookies and 50 cent ramon noodles for lunch. The cheapness of the food coupled with the enjoyment of it has been helping me stick to budget BUT it hasn't been good for the waist size. I'm not so sure I'm ready to tackle the discipline of spending money wisely and eating wisely. I'm just saying beware... it's coming... I've a monster in the making here. I think for now I'll focus hardcore on sticking to the budget, cut out a little of the extra sugar I've been sneaking in, keep up my current cheap and tasty eating habits, but I'll start exercising every day again. 

I really never knew life was going to be so difficult BUT the overdraft is PAID OFF!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week 5 Closes

My husband spent a bit more than usual this week so that's not great news. There's no money in the future purchases envelope. This upcoming week I need to buy dog food. We have to purchase food from the vet for our littlest one and that's NOT cheap. Finding out whether or not I can purchase dog food with no money saved up and stay on track with the budget is going to be very interesting.

The good news is that I've spent an average of $12 a day on all of our food, household supplies, gifts and general spending for 5 weeks in a row. It's not easy but I'm learning discipline (slowly but surely). The budget for week 5 is balanced.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I DO NOT want Starbucks. I WANT TO pay off the Chase card!

I work in 10 different grocery stores as a merchandiser. I spend about 4 hours in each store each week. Unfortunately most of the stores have a handy dandy Starbucks built right in. This morning while I was working I swear every single person who passed by me was carrying the classic starbucks cup: white with green writing and cardboard brown sleeve wrapped around the middle. I started to get jealous. I'm thinking to myself, "why do they all get to have starbucks? Why can't I be like all of them? Can any of them actually afford that delicious beverage they're consuming?" After seeing probably the 20th cup pass on by I'd all but resigned to working about 10 more minutes and then taking a Starbucks coffee break (absolutely NOT in today's budget). Then all of the sudden this tremendous burst of will power surges within and I say to myself with dire conviction, "I DO NOT WANT STARBUCKS!!! I WANT TO PAY OFF THE CHASE CARD!" It worked. The budget for this week is balanced.

Thank-You Melanie. I loved your comment and I'm definitely going to apply a lot of what you said. Especially the part about analyzing why I want so badly to go out to eat all of the time.

Trying to not get too Frustrated

We are $11.31 over budget. There isn't any money in the future purchases envelope. I'm pretty frustrated about that but I'm having a hard enough time just sticking to the $12 a day budget. I'm finding it to be, will power wise, practically impossible to get on board a $10 a day budget. That's still the plan though.

I'm really struggling right now. We went into overdraft yesterday. There was a $30 gas charge that I had forgotten about because it didn't post to the account as pending. It just cleared (3 days later).. So far my goals are progressing VERY slowly... if that word is even applicable. I hate the financial aspect of life. I'm absolutely an adult, no question about it but all this learning self discipline combined with budgeting so strictly and stumbling so often is making me feel like a child. No wonder it's practically impossible for my husband to cut back on his spending habits. I'm thinking about this money thing practically all day every day and I'm having to fight myself tooth and nail just to almost squeak by following the rules.

It's funny I feel very strongly compelled to say, "I need a vacation!" But isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place? I mean, it seems like many of the adults in this world just want life to be a vacation, as luxurious, worry free, fun filled, and un-laborious as possible. Life just doesn't work that way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I didn't post yesterday because I was at work for over 12 hours. Needless to add I didn't have much time to blog. I'm not working today because of the blizzard.

Yesterday I went a bit overboard with personal spending. It didn't seem like much because it was only little things (McD's coffee, granola bars, grape juice...) and I was gone ALL DAY LONG but it sure added up. I ended up spending $8.53 just on myself. I don't usually spend more than $2. Then I proceeded to buy groceries for three days (I've been trying to only spend each day's worth of money and only buy for each day). Yesterday I spent $36.32. We are $12.32 over budget at present and I raided the future purchases envelope (unintentionally, I was only going to turn the little bills into a bigger one but they're gone now) so there's only $1 left in the envelope. Oops. I don't plan on leaving the house anytime soon so I think today's purchases are set at what they are. We don't need food for tomorrow. We should be ok, but again I think the future purchases envelope is out of luck.

At present there is $11 in our bank account. Normally I'd be panicking right now and transferring around $50 to $100 from the overdraft so that we don't overdraw. We get paid tomorrow and there's no need to spend any of that $11. No bills are scheduled to come out so it should be totally fine. I'll let my husband know that there's no money to spend at present and I'll leave that $11 dollars as is. I hate Wednesdays... so much pressure.

Goal number one: not progressing so well... only $1 in future purchases envelope.
Goal number two: in progress... so far so good.