Saturday, March 30, 2013


NO SPEND day number 17 is a success!

Today I NEED to write down a detailed budget for this week. I have a spread sheet in Excel that I use to budget each month but something about writing down the budget on paper for the week makes it really real. And it makes it easier for me to say no when my husband asks to make a silly purchase that we do not "need" at present.

I've been doing pretty well with my spending but money is getting TIGHT around here. My hours have been a bit slow on top of my cutting 8 hours a week out of my work schedule. Gasoline has been a bit pricy. I've actually been worried for the first time in a long time that we might not make ends meet over the next few months. I need to get really serious and assign every dollar coming in a responsibility. Then I need to be even more serious and say no to all the stuff that doesn't have dollars assigned to it. This is for real. This is where credit cards become real tempting and convenient. I do NOT want to go down that road again, EVER!

Tomorrow should be a NO SPEND day as well. That'll make 18 total for the first 3 months of the year. That puts me about 7 below quota if I'm truly shooting for 100 NO SPENDs this year. Not bad, not bad at all.

Friday, March 29, 2013

This and That

Driving down the expressway today with sunglasses on and the air rushing over the open sunroof felt like the best moment ever. Hooray for spring finally peeking out from behind the long cold winter!!!

I think I bought enough groceries today to last until Monday. This means a possible 2 more NO SPEND days in March. We'll see... ugh, I'm already thinking of things we "might" need. More milk of course.

Average daily spending: $15.02
I bought a few bigger things today, actual things. In my terminology a "thing" purchase is something that doesn't get used up, isn't food; a CD is a thing purchase. Toilet paper is not. I'm only up to 10 things on my items list for this year. 3 of them happened today. I had to pick up some CD-R's to back up photos and because my hubby burns all of his CD's to CD-Rs so they don't get wrecked when he's listening to them in the car. I purchased a nice water bottle, a Camelbak for my boy. I'm going to put it in his Easter basket. He's been using mine a lot and I'd like him to have his own. And I bought a pillow cover for him. He gets a pillow in his bed now. He's getting an old used pillow from our upstairs but I wanted him to have a nice allergy free waterproof cover for it. I can't believe I'm over $15 a day. Yikes that's pretty bad.

Hoping for good things in April; in other words good planning, strong self control, and no unexpected big expenses!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mission accomplished!
I only bought dog food today.

Average daily spending: $14.43

NO SPEND Alterations

Today was supposed to be NO SPEND number 17 according to my little challenge. But there wasn't enough money in my bank account yesterday for me to get food for my dogs. SO today I must buy dog food. I won't be accomplishing a NO SPEND day but my goal is to only buy food for the dogs. There's not going to be the same sort of satisfaction in that as when I'm able to mark off another NO SPEND so I'm a bit worried that I'll cave and just buy random little food items.

Off to work!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

No Little Black Rain Cloud Here

I left the house yesterday with a small tuna pasta salad, some carrots and an orange. My plan was to spend nothing. Again, I work in a supermarket. The Easter candy is on sale and I have a love hate relationship with caffeinated beverages. I was expecting this long drawn out day of fighting with myself; little angel me on one shoulder and rather feisty determined naughty me on the other.

I got in the car, popped open the center console to get my sunglasses, and like a beautiful ray of sunshine some chocolates I had placed in there awhile ago that I'd completely forgot about and am still in shock that my husband didn't eat were smiling up at me. In that moment I thought, "today is not going to be so difficult after all."

I stopped at our office (I stop there once a week for a few minutes on Tuesday afternoons) to pick up my work mail and one of the office employee's asked if I was hungry. Don't worry I did not look like a starving, attempting a NO SPEND day blogger. There was a spread of Panera chips, bread, sandwiches, and salad left from a meeting that had happened earlier in the day and she was trying to get rid of it. Oh you bet I jumped at that; expensive FREE food gets HIGH marks in my book of lovelies. So I had a yummy salad, sandwich, and little roll for lunch.

I had used up the last of the creamer for my coffee and wished I could buy some for this morning. We were also just about out of milk. I thought there was enough left on Monday when I took stock but my husband performed a brilliant disappearing act with almost a gallon of milk in one day. Then I remembered the cafe in the store. I've only taken advantage of the little creamers once before but this day, yes, I would do it again. I grabbed a few on my way out, felt rather like a bum digging through the trash for scraps, but mission accomplished, had cream for my Wednesday morning coffee and did not spend money.

My only real battle for the day was whether or not to cave and bring home milk. On one hand I didn't want to be that annoying cheap skate wife who couldn't even buy milk for her family because of a silly spending challenge. On the other hand I had told the man that I wasn't going to be spending any money and still he downed a gallon of milk. I stuck to my guns and came home empty handed. But he made a joke about my silly goal shortly after I got home and for once I knew he was on my side. He wasn't upset about the milk (one of his favorite things in life) and he was nice to me about it too. Win, win, SUPER duper win!

Good day. Sometimes it's so nice to get that little break in the clouds.

Average daily spending: $14.40

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Debt Quote Tuesday Brought to you by Ieva

An amazing and incredibly supportive friend of mine has contributed today's debt quote:
“Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around"
-Thornton Wilder
While this quote is almost certainly about charitable giving/ philanthropy, I'm in no place at present to be "spreading the wealth" as I haven't any. However I do find much wisdom in this statement even in my present situation (horrendously in debt). Money like manure if strategically placed can be very productive. Money needs a purpose. Every dollar that comes in should have an assignment. At least for me, when the money comes in if I don't give it a purpose right away then it just gets spent. And most of the time no one in the family has any idea what it was spent on. It's okay if its assignment is simply "food money" or "emergency fund" money. Those categories might be broad seemingly un-purposed but no, at least those few dollars have a job to do.

Too many of us just let our money sit there like poop instead of putting it to work. Let's face it when money is left to sit the dung beetles carry it away. Every dollar should have a name, a place in the field, a job to do. We work hard for our money. It should work for us too.

Ah ha, I didn't spend any money today though! NO SPEND day number 16 of 2013 DONE.

Challenges Are Fun!?!?

I bought just enough groceries yesterday. Okay and a few little indulgences. Hubby requested ice cream and chocolate sauce. This is something we rarely have in the house but picking up ice cream pales in comparison to eating a $30 restaurant dinner. It's funny though, those little indulgences are what pushes the $12 a day budget closer to $14 a day. In the long run little indulgences are totally fine (when you can afford them) but, ah, it is what it is...

Today is a planned NO SPEND. This is going to be tough one. I have a longer/ later day at work. I don't have much in terms of food to bring with me. So will  power is going to have to come into play today. I'm not starving myself I just have to avoid the little temptations that look so yummy but seem so harmless. Alas, harmless they are when they are NOT in the budget and the budget calls for no spending today.
Me and Will Power: not buddies.

Wish me luck.

Average daily spending: $14.57

Sunday, March 24, 2013

NO SPEND number 15 of the year is in the books. Yay

Jessica thanks so much for dinner!

Bryallen you're kicking my behind, 30 NO SPENDS this year... awesome job.

Today's lovely: Spending time with family. (my nieces are so awesome) Getting to see a cousin I haven't seen in over 8 years and his crazy adorable friendly kiddos I've never met. It's really something special getting to see your kids get together with the kids of the kids you grew up with. (I tried rewording that sentence three times. Sorry, it's too late for my brain)


The $12 a Day Menu

BLT's w/ Pepper Jack
Broiled Salmon
Broccoli, Chicken, Tomato Bake
Chicken Burritos
Eggs, Bacon, & Potatoes
Eggs and Pancakes
Fish Sticks
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Hot dogs
Mac n Cheese
Spaghetti squash Spaghetti
Steak and Potatoes
Taco Salad
Thanksgiving Dinner
Turkey Burgers
Veggie Lasagna
Added since original post
Pizza balls
Shrimp & Veggie Stir Fry
Pigs in Blankets

Sloppy Joes

Wow. I watch a lot of cooking shows but the above list is just about everything we eat in our home. Pretty basic. Granted, my husband has a lot of weird eating rules: not too much sodium, no cream sauces, he doesn't like chicken (ground chicken is fine though), very little pasta, not too carby, NO MSG, no salad dressings or soups or sauces (because of sodium), no avocado (this one makes me the most sad), no cooking with fruit, no meat on the bone; let's just say he's a picky eater.

Okay so it's not a gourmet cook book but my goal in compiling this list is to not feel so boxed in when it comes to meals. Does anyone else do the, "what's for dinner" battle every day? You rack your brain for something to make that sounds half way appetizing but NOTHING comes to mind (yes I might have a disorder). After all the pressure of trying to think of one single meal to prepare you snap and just get Taco Bell. Then you're like, "that was not too yummy, and wow, it cost a lot more than I remember Taco Bell costing and I kind of feel like I just ate, nope, not one single healthy item. Way to go!"

With my every other day NO SPEND challenge for the rest of the month my goal is to have enough food for three of the above meals in the house at all times. Yes, that is kind of a big deal for me. Honestly we do not have enough food in the house for one meal at many points in time throughout the week. I still can't do the week long meal plan thing. We end up throwing SO much food away when we try that. It's a nice idea but when you have a weeks worth of fresh food in the house and you eat out once, twice, three times, and decide that dish doesn't sound yummy right now, or now, or now, or now, well you end up throwing the no longer fresh food out. I'm way, WAY better off having two, three meals worth of food on hand. That's just how it is.

Well today will hopefully be a NO SPEND. I have to pick three meals from my lovely list for tomorrow's grocery shopping adventure. Fun, fun.

Average daily spending: $14.34

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cheesy Goodness

I didn't spend any money yesterday. I'm hoping not to spend any money tomorrow. My boy and I just got back from picking up a few items at the store. I forgot to pick up Cocoa Krispies but I think the hubby can survive two days without any.

I've mac'n'cheese (my grandma's recipe) baking in the oven right now. I made brownies from scratch yesterday (with frosting). Grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning up after the eating and the cooking takes SO MUCH WORK! Yes, I am a lame adult who's used to having eaten out for YEARS. But cooking at home is always so rewarding. Not only does it generally save tons of money but every time I prepare a meal I get this sense of self satisfaction that alone is worth all the hard work.


Average daily spending: $14.54

Friday, March 22, 2013

Not Spending Here

For someone who works in a supermarket, shops everyday, and never buys more than 12 items in a single shopping trip NO SPEND days are difficult. I'm shooting for an every other day NO SPEND goal for the rest of March. Thanks to this new goal today I pulled off the 14th NO SPEND day of the year. Cumulatively two whole weeks of not spending  a penny sounds like some sort of an accomplishment.

This little challenge of mine is going to take some planning. It seems there's always some little thing that needs acquiring but since my average daily spending has really jumped up this month I am looking forward to getting 5 more NO SPENDS on the record before April.

I'm contemplating shooting for an entire week of NO SPENDs in April. Ah, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. (How'd you do Grace?)

Average daily spending: $14.56

Today's lovely: Sunshine and snow melting.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Money is slipping through my fingers, out my wallet, and bypassing my bank account like water on a rampage.

This month saw a birthday, an oil change, batteries, light bulbs, dryer sheets, cat litter... this and that here and there adds up FAST! Next month holds another birthday, 2 vehicles with plate renewals, a concert, and hopefully nothing else.

I feel like I'm being tortured, but this is just life.

New goal: I was thinking that it would be neat to attempt an every other day NO SPEND challenge next month. But starting now would be even better. Thus I'm instituting an every other day NO SPEND challenge for the rest of March.

Average daily spending: $14.78

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tons of Money Fun (Not Really)

Ugh, I'm so sick of money!

Can I just sell my house and move into the woods please?!?!?!

I've been working at growing up (money wise) for a few years now. But every day is a challenge. Every single day I must be so very conscious of the decisions I'm making and why. I guess it's sort of like that with everything in life. I'm so sick of it though.

I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere. I am. If I sit down and add things up, slowly, quite slowly but surely I am getting to a better place. Right now it feels like this year is just flying by BUT it's only March 19th. We've not even gone through one quarter of this year.

I need to be more optimistic, get more sleep, and enjoy some fresh air (once this blizzard subsides).

Average daily spending: $14.74

Quick Little Post

I finally caught my spending tally back up. I feel like I've been sooo out it.
Here's the outcome.

Average daily spending for the year: $14.46
13 NO SPEND days
12 days no recorded spending : (

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not So Bad

Sometimes if you just stop and take a look at the monster you'll find it's not so bad after all.

It feels like I've been away from keeping track of spending for a month. The past few days I've been "planning" to get back on track but this overwhelming feeling of failure has kept me from getting up, dusting off, and workin the budget once again. Oh, how I love these little pit falls.

Here's the thing though, what's truly felt like a month of being off track has actually been a week. What?!?!?! It's only been a week? I was pleasantly surprised by this little find once I sat down to record today's spending, knew yesterday's, and realized I had mentally kept track of Friday and Saturday too.

That puts me 12 days out of the game for 2013; 12 days total for the past two and a half months that I don't have a spending record for. I can live with that... have to.

And now for sleep!

Ooh, today's lovely: Temperatures above freezing. The idea that spring is just around the corner is SPLENDID! Walking into work in a t-shirt (NOT warm enough for a t-shirt but it was a quick walk in) was wonderful! I like winter. I love snow. But spring never comes too soon. Flowers. Green vegetation. Warm sunshine on bare skin... there is a season for everything. It's flower time!

Little Morning Pep Talk

Not sure if you've noticed but I stopped recording my spending/ keeping track of it diligently.

I've been pretty upset with myself about this step back but what am I doing about it... nothing. Thus I say, "stop moping about the step back little lady and get back in the game!"

Today I want to keep track of/ record my spending and think about my purchases. I haven't been doing great with that this month. It's so so so much easier to just plop it in the cart because  "hey why not" than to contemplate the necessity of it and say no. Clarification: I am talking about food here. I have not gotten back into buying "stuff."

Horray for Monday (after daylight savings)! <- that's sarcasm

BACK IN THE GAME!... the un-fun but very important money game

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Working for Something

I think it may be time to look a little farther ahead; dream a little bit.

I've been attempting to cut out the noise these past few days. All this silence has got me thinking.
What do I want?
I want to get out of debt, obviously.
But why?
So that I don't have to pay all that stupid money down the toilet interest and I want to be able to stay home with my boy AND hopefully someday more little rugrat(s). Right.

So, giving feet to my goals... is that an expression? it seems appropriate: I want to work 20 hours a week so that I can be home with my baby and not need childcare and feel energized enough to take care of my home and family. This goal seems WAY off in the distance but it's more attainable than the simple, "I want to stay home with my kid."

We need to cut $6800 a year out of our expenses in order for me to achieve my goal. I feel good about putting that in type. That is something I can achieve (ideally). That's something concrete. It may seem to me like it's a billion years away but paying off the car and the credit cards puts us at that goal.

Sometimes it sure does seem like it's all in vain but I AM working towards something. Financial freedom. Dreams. Family. TIME. There is a light at the end of the tunnel folks!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Okay, okay

I just wanted to check in since I've been missing in action.

Everything is okay. We survived a very busy but fun 1st birthday party for the babe.
All of the sudden "stuff" came up in February and I checked out I guess. Between last minute planning a party for my boy, a weird crazy fall out with a very close friend, and another friend going through horrible tragedy I just lost track of time, lost a lot of sleep, and stumbled through many, many days during the past few weeks.

When I was a kid I never imagined grown-up-hood would be so tiresome and sometimes down right difficult. But as a dear friend reminded me this morning: life goes on.

Happy Birthday Baby
Made from scratch cake & frosting : )