Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yay Me

Even though I know that $4 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a beverage it just seems normal.
I'm spending much of today contemplating how I'll meet my 2013 financial goals. If I've learned anything from this blog it's that positivity is imperative in reaching goals, that being too hard on myself causes me to crumble, and that often times we reach goals, climb to places, and accomplish huge things without ever even realizing it. Also, baby steps are bigger than they feel for sure.

For a bit at least I'm going to attempt to recognize and remind myself of goals I've reached. Positivity may just be key to meeting my goals this year. One accomplishment that I hardly ever reflect upon is that I virtually never buy expensive coffee drinks anymore. I used to purchase at least 3 a week and it was a very VERY difficult habit for me to break. Now that it's no longer a habit I'm not often thoughtful of my having broken free from it. Yay me!

Here are a few "coffee" posts from the past.

Maybe every bodies doing it but I think it's pretty safe to say that almost everybody is in debt. I just don't want to be like everybody anymore.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

2013 Halfway Point

That's right, I said it, after tomorrow 2013 is half over.

I've lost track of 40 days worth of spending this year. That's pretty horrible but I'm nearing that many no spend days as well so I'm going to pretend that the two balance out. During the 141 days this year that I've kept track of spending I've averaged $14.72 a day. If I truly want to spend $12 a day this year then I've an average of $9.92 a day remaining for the next six months.

In 2011 I spent an average of $13.70 a day. In 2012 I welcomed my son into the world and lost track of EVERYTHING else. Ideally in 2013 I think it'd be really incredible to come in under my 2011 average. A $13.50 a day average would leave me absolutely thrilled and affords me about $12.56 a day for the rest of the year.

I think I can say with certainty that $9.92 a day for 6 months will not happen. I'm a realist. $12.56 a day... that's doable; a big, BIG stretch (considering that I'm averaging almost $15 a day right now) BUT doable.

2013 Financial Goals
Average $13.50 a day      currently $14.72
104 NO SPEND days      currently 34
No more than 45 days off the record      currently 40
Maintain $1000 emergency fund      currently $2
Stick to a monthly Zero-Based Budget

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chocolates Please

Even miracles take a little time.
-Fairy godmother
It boggles my mind every time how my attempt to not spend any money is generally thwarted by one item.

I brought lunch with me yesterday. My water bottle was full. I knew what I'd make for dinner and had everything for it at home. My resolve was strong. The work day was progressing at a comfortable pace. And then I saw the clearance boxes of chocolates; not cheap chocolates either. They were good quality assorted chocolate covered caramels. Do you think I needed chocolate?

I'm so sick of ruining NO SPEND's because of a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, or water, or chocolate. These one item, insignificant, luxury purchases add up fast and are a really good reason to embark upon NO SPEND days. $3 a day on "little" things is $21 a week; $1095 a year. And the clearance chocolates were $5.29 not three dollars or two or one. But they were on clearance and that justifies it... right.

I didn't buy them. Yesterday was NO SPEND day 32 for the year. I'm a bit behind on my goal but 32 days of not buying anything still makes me smile.

Yesterday's Lovely: I'm stopped at a red light. There's a gas station to my left and another to my right; actually the road I'm on runs between two competing superstores (the gas stations belong to them) and the road in front of me is a highway. Needless to say, this is a very busy, filled with vehicles, people rushing places, noise, large parking lots, hustle and bustlely place. But directly next to my car is a beautiful patch of dense cattails. A little wiry fence surrounded them. It was a welcome bit of nature in the fast pace scene. Perched upon the fence was a red wing black bird apparently viewing the little wetland filled with fuzzy cattails. The stop light was red just long enough for me to bird watch and feel the kiss of nature.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Spoiled my Son Today

No I didn't buy him any new toys. We did not dine out on fancy shmancy foods. There were no grand adventures to fun little kid places, no new stylish clothes (as if a 1 year old would care), and no sugary treats. Actually I didn't spend a penny but boy was today different.

First thing this morning I let him dump the dogs water out on the floor. I let him play in the puddle and I let him clean it up all by himself. Then we sang songs together in the kitchen while I made fresh blueberry pancakes and he emptied the cupboards. After breakfast he went dust bunny hunting and I screeched in horror every time he found one and waved it in my face. He couldn't stop laughing. I have no idea what his fascination is with dust balls.

About a month ago I came to the harsh realization that not only had I welcomed into the world this amazing little man who I have the opportunity to love and cherish but additionally I have the responsibility to teach him and raise him up to the best of my ability. You always contemplate the love part but at least for me the teaching part didn't really sink in until I had this little 15 month old person living in my home who thought it ideal to point and scream at the top of his lungs anytime he wanted something. The hubby and I had this major oops moment when we realized we'd been rewarding his screeching (and teaching him to do so) just by getting him water, or milk, or food anytime he started to freak out. At one point I looked at my husband and asked, "Oh no, did we teach him that?!?!" Yep.

Finding balance between washing dishes, taking care of laundry and the dogs, cooking, teaching the one year old that, "NO, it's not okay to stick your hands in the garbage can!" and spending good quality time with him is very VERY tricky. It's pretty easy to go about the day, throw out the "NO" word ALOT, and forget that he's one and dumping the dogs water all over the floor is actually a pretty good learning experience in itself. I do think he needs to learn that the water is there for a reason and it's not okay to dump it but sometimes I also need to lighten up and let him be 1.

Last night I decided that I was going to let today be "no" free. I heard it escape my mouth a few times this morning. It's really difficult to not say. But we had a lot of fun doing rascally things, all free of charge. Abe grabbed a mustard bottle out of the fridge while I was getting his milk. Normally I'd just put it right back. Instead (don't ask my why there were two empty mustard bottles in the fridge... I think I need to add something to my to do list) I rinsed it out and we played mustard bottle squirt guns in the back yard. My goodness 1 year olds  LOVE water! We smelled flowers and picked them. We stomped in puddles. He went through about 4 outfits. He took his first bubble bath. We listened to lots of music, sang, and danced. And we tried not to say no. It was a very good day.

He wanted to wear those boots. Goof ball.

And he took a really great nap : )

No Spend Day 31

I woke up so angry this day. I was frustrated with life really. Do you ever have those moments when all the little annoyances gang up on you and you just want to throw things and break things and yell? I've been upset about my hours being really light at work, and my husband being gone (or sleeping) constantly. I'm finding it very difficult to pay the bills on time and also serious frustration causes me to spend more money. My neighbors think that exploding fireworks constantly is fun but my dog is getting sick from their jovialness. The list goes on, blah, blah, blah; everything seems frustrating and heavy right now.

I grouched around home all morning. Then my son grouched around home all morning. His mood always seems to match mine. Poor little guy. We were supposed to go to an open house for a relative on my husbands side. I was dreading it. I'd planned to live off the land; eat whatever was in the kitchen today but right before leaving for the "celebration" I felt I NEEDED <all caps for a reason> a mocha frappuccino. I wanted so badly to stop at the gas station for one. I seriously contemplated it but I said, "no, certainly there will be coca cola at the open house. Today is a no spend day!" I stuck to my plan and didn't buy the heavenly drink.

There was a can of fairly warm coca cola waiting for me upon arrival. The event was horrid for me though. The beverages ran out quickly. It was very hot and sticky out. My son was loving the adventure of running around in a new place but there were what felt like to a fairly new mom thousands of obstacles for him to severely injure himself upon. So here's me exhausted from chasing him, ridiculously thirsty from the heat and lack of hydration, and horribly uncomfortable with seeing quite a few people I've been not getting along with. The entire 45 minute drive home I wanted so badly to stop for a pop, or a flurry, or juice; SOMETHING! But I didn't. I didn't spend any money despite the misery.

Moral of the story: No spend days are difficult but they save money. And I'm growing, I think.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

One Itty, Bitty, Tiny, HUGE Moment for Me

If you've been reading along for a bit then you know that my husband and I are not quite on the same page in the getting out of debt story. I've learned to be frugal(er) and I generally don't spend much money. I budget, try to save, and budget some more. He on the other hand spends, and spends, AND spends. And generally doesn't want to even look at the budget.

When I started this blog you could say that I was on page 197 and he was still on page 2. He's little by little grown closer to understanding my "obsession." He's little by little cut out purchases that had once been regular wasteful habits (like buying new release movies EVERY week). We've a long way to go still in terms of having the same financial vision. He might be on page 32 now (this is all metaphorical).

The other day we had a moment; one of those moments when the sky seems to shimmer with glitter, the sun radiantly glows up above, and the birds tweet happy little bird songs as you stroll upon your path. I shall explain, but be prepared this was a big deal to me, a HUGE deal, but you might just end up with, "huh, so what." Hubby and I both feel in quite a rut as of late... it's horrible! We were going for a walk and I started with, "Honey, I think we need a goal... something to dream for." He says, "what do you mean?" Me, "you know, like a trip to Hawaii or Ireland again, or something to work together for, maybe we plan to move someday." This is where I enter a state of shock. He then says, "I thought we already had that." Me, "um, what is our dream?" He then says, "Aren't we trying to get out of debt? Be financially free? Pay everything off?"

Okay, you'd think I'd assume he knew this already right... but as long as I've been "trying" to get out of debt I never, ever, EVER thought this was "our" dream. He's never taken ownership of it. Heck, he still might not be ready to take ownership of it but just hearing (he's not a big talker, AT ALL) that he is actually much much closer to being on the same page as me, that WE SHARE A VISION, oh my goodness. I needed that!

Oh, the journey; the amazing, horrible, really slow going (for me), getting out of debt journey!
Glitter, glitter, glitter!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fathers Day

During my blogging absence I've realized that, hey I'm a frugal mom. I can now blog about more than resisting Starbucks coffee and, "oops, we ate out again."

For Father's Day instead of a card my son and I spent $1 on some paint and $5 on a picture frame and we made Daddy a craft. It was my first attempt at a foot print so I think it turned out well. I saw this on pinterest awhile back and the poem caused me to tear up. My husband isn't sentimental but he does love his son. I took a chance that he'd appreciate our efforts. He did.

I let baby Abe color it with orange crayons.
And I just love it!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

5 down 5 to go

The every other day NO SPEND challenge is going great! Only 9 days into June and I've not spent money during 5 of them. With a total of 30 NO SPEND days I've successfully (cumulatively) not spent one single penny for one entire month of this year. That's kind of neat. Only 70 more days to go if I'm to meet my goal of 100 NO SPENDs this year.

However my daily spending average is really high. We had dinner out of town a few nights back. It was also the very first time we've purchased a meal of his own for my son. That was kind of a neat milestone, but cost money. We all really enjoyed ourselves but yikes, $35 for dinner is crazy.

Average daily spending for June: $18.85

The votes are in on June 1st.
8 to 1 it was a NO SPEND day.

Thanks to all of you for the impute!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Quick Post

Blogging has become very difficult with a 15 month old running around. I try not to do computer things while he's awake because it annoys him. Thus I've not many opportunities to blog.

So far this month I've accomplished 3 NO SPENDs and am shooting for one more today. That puts me right on track for the every other day NO SPEND challenge.
A terrific friend and I are tackling a "120 things" goal list for June; you could call it our version of spring cleaning. Thanks to my list I just found a few boxes of clothes someone had given us that fit my little guy right now. I'm super giddy about the find. It's so wonderful to realize you don't have to buy the new PJ's you've been thinking you need...

AND he's awake.

Hope everyone has a terrific Friday!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


On the way home from work the other day while listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio I heard him say something along the lines of: contentment is the greatest tool for financial success.

For some people (and many governments) finances can be the most difficult beast they ever have to battle, and for that matter an unconquerable foe. Statistics say that finances are the number one reason people divorce. Financial struggles are often what cause people to steal, cheat, lie, and deceive one another. There is SO much more to life than money but we spend much of our lives worrying about it.

I am traversing a difficult financial road. We made so many stupid decisions along our financial path. Cleaning up after those decisions is less than fun but so very necessary. Something Dave got me to thinking is how thankful I am for the contentment I've found along this path. It would be nice to buy a new pair of pants now and again. I often glance at toys in the store I believe my son would love and almost always refrain from buying them, after all he also loves kitchen utensils. I would definitely enjoy eating out more often. But truthfully I am very content. I don't long for much (stuff, things, worldly goods). Bigger and better does have much of a place in my life (if any). I am content.

That's one of those tiny revelations that help shine a bright bit of light into the often hazy path of money.

My family is awesome. Our home is incredible. We ALWAYS have good food to eat. My clothing may be worn a bit but I certainly have enough of it. My husband and I are both employed. The entire family is in excellent health. The sun is shining. Summer is here. Beautiful orange poppies are blooming in the front yard. Money troubles... what money troubles? 

I am on top of the world!

Today's lovely: Spring cleaning. There is truly something lovely about a fresh clean space.

And I did not spend any money today.
NO SPEND 27 of the year!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Taking a Vote

Of course it's my challenge so I write the rules but my play book doesn't seem to cover this one... I'm going to take a vote so it's up to you.

I did not spend any money today.We even went for a 2 hour walk through town and down the board walk and DID NOT buy ice cream. I was pretty excited about starting out June with a NO SPEND day. And then my husband comes home from work with hamburger meat. I was planning hamburgers for dinner but I had bought ground chicken. He decided he wanted beef. Rarely do we have beef burgers but apparently he didn't want chicken today. Even though I never include my husband's spending in our $12 a day budget (or in my NO SPEND's) his spending is always for himself. He actually brought home a grocery item today.

So, was today a NO SPEND?

I'm so fifty fifty on this one I actually cannot decide.