Friday, January 31, 2014

January Numbers are in

The below list is a simple summary of all our cash outflow for January minus my husband's spending (which includes his lunches and any spending strictly for himself; ie going to a movie with a friend, picking up beer for band practice (which I don't think he did this month), ect)

Home expenses $1133.42
Vehicle expenses $796.31
Utilities $619.51
Medical $128
Credit card payments $484.40
All spending $485.41

Each of these categories has several things inside of them. For example home expenses includes the mortgage payment (and escrow), equity line payment, and the microwave I purchased this month. Vehicle expenses includes the car payment, gasoline, and car insurance. We almost spent less money this month than what was paid towards credit cards. That seems insane. I think next month I can actually put more towards credit card payments than what I spend. CRAZY!

My "things/ stuff/ non-consumable" purchases for this month comes to one whole item: the microwave. There were several things I would liked to have bought but I refrained. I really wanted to purchases a shelving unit for my son's room. Right now we don't have a home for any of the toys he got for Christmas. They just sit along the wall when we straighten up. I also wanted to buy a toy snow shovel. The shovels JUST went on clearance so I will almost certainly will be buying one soon. I don't know if anyone puts this much thought into a $3 purchase. I've been waiting for those shovels to go on clearance all month. My kiddo is crazy about shoveling but it's been too cold to even let him outdoors this winter. Hopefully there will be a few "near 30F" days and I can let him shovel our 5 feet of snow (I'm not joking, there are several areas around our home that now have 5 foot piles).

Average daily spending for January: $15.66

I'm pretty happy that I kept it under $16 a day but it was alot of work. I can't say I'm looking forward to putting an equal amount of money effort into February but I'm ready. Here goes; I'm hoping to spend $15 a day or less this upcoming month.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Adios Old Man January (almost)

I think I can make it the next three days on $20. That's my goal. If I accomplish this task my January daily spending average will be $15.59 a day. I'm happy with that. Under $16/ somewhere in the $15 range, I'd say that's on goal.

My husband brought home burritos one day and we had subway yesterday. Otherwise we did not eat out this month and I don't feel deprived. I won't presume to speak for hubby on that front though (and he did dine out on his own a few times with his lunch money). The only real sacrifice I can think of this month is milk. I always buy organic milk for Abe but since I'm including him in my spending budget now I only purchased one gallon of organic milk for him this month. $6.29 a gallon verses $2.99 a gallon is hard to work into the budget. I'll buy another gallon of organic with the February stock up money and see what the rest of February and organic milk looks like.

I've made one non-consumable purchase this month: the microwave. (Sluggy, I bleached the bathmat and it looks pristine... so does the bathtub) I can't believe January is almost gone and yet 2014 somehow seems older than it actually is. Hmm.

Average daily spending this year: $16.22

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Still Snowing Here

I'm not going anywhere today. That makes this Sunday NO SPEND day 8 of 2014.

This photo is NOT in a drift. That's a hearty 18 inches in my backyard right now. The rose bush and fence are just about gone. The drifts are 4 feet easy. I'm just going to say it, this is fun. I remember these winters from when I was a kid and I like em. I only wish it was warm enough to go outside and play (30F would be good).
 Average daily spending this year: $16.42

Saturday, January 25, 2014


NO SPEND day 7 of 2014 is done. I'm a homebody so I really take it easy and hardly ever leave the house on Saturdays but oh how I love the down time!

Average daily spending this year: $16.42

Today's lovely: I started sewing an upcoming birthday gift this evening. I don't know what it is about simply cutting up some fabric, snipping the thread and beginning to piece together this imaginary thing you've floating around in your mind... it makes me feel fuller. It may look hideous when I've finished but in the mean time I have the satisfactory pride that comes along with starting a project. And don't ever ask me, "did you get that from pinterest?" My mother in law asks that anytime I make anything and maybe I saw it on pinterest or maybe I did not but there's just something so belittling about that question. I can't stand it! Sorry those last three sentences probably shouldn't be a party of my "lovely" paragraph.
ALSO, my baby said his first ever prayer last night. We try to pray before bed every night. It's a simple little prayer, "thank-you Lord for Daddy and Maggie and Bozzy and Deedee and Grammy and..." You get the idea. Last night I asked him, "what do you want to thank God for tonite?" It's the first time I've done that. I usually just ask him if he wants to say our prayers. He always smiles and says yes. At the end I say "Amen," and then I ask, "can you say amen?" He always gives the cutest little smile and says, "Ay may."

"Buddy, what do you want to thank God for tonite?"

"Manny. Aymay. Manny. Aymay. Bozzy. Aymay. Daddy. Aymay."

He calls Maggie, Manny. My heart swells!

Saturday Morning Coffee

They closed pretty much everything on this side of the state because of the snow and ice so my mom didn't come over for birthday cake but stayed indoors instead. One thing's for sure though, who need Starbucks when there's heavy whipping cream and (clearance for $1 back on January 1st) peppermint mocha coffee creamer in the house! Yummy!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Shopping Results Are In

Well I bought extras. Figures. But I think they're excusable. I'm hoping that my mom and sis will stop by tomorrow and I picked up a few cake fixins so I can make my momma a birthday cake. I did not buy a coke or a candy bar or any lunch food; just cheese, bananas, a cake mix and a tiny bit of heavy whipping cream.

It sure is nice having food in the house again. Before Thursday I was trying not to obliterate the $2 we had in the bank account and we were out of everything; bread, cheese, crackers, any sort of meat, veggies, yogurt, noodles, cheese, butter, sugar... you name it! Yes I listed cheese twice and butter and sugar are very important to me. I feel like this weekend will be spectacular just because the house has food in it.

Average daily spending this year: $16.42

Yesterday's lovely: I walked outside in the morning and was assaulted by the bitter cold wind. It hit every part of my exposed skin like a high powered ice ray; some kind of thing you'd see a villain use in a super hero movie. I could feel the toes in my shoes turning purple (they really do that) and my face burned from cold. But the sun was deceivably bright and comforting. Somewhere in the earths atmosphere our bitter cold and icy world was met by this other warm sunny world that shown overhead almost tauntingly but refused to bust through the barrier. All around me, as far as the eye could see the freshly fallen 12 inches of tiny fluffy snowflakes was sparkling, brighter and shinier and more colorful even then any man made glitter. I was frozen to my core but I was standing in a magnificent sparkly snow globe, like a Christmas card only real and a billion times better. See the thing about winter is that it can be torturous but if you take a minute to look at it it will amaze you every single time.

Just Cheese

Today SHOULD have been no spend number 7 this month but the grocery store was out of cheese yesterday. I'm not going to go the entire weekend without cheese so I really do have to spend money today. Apparently when it snows on the lake shore in winter in Michigan everyone panics and clears out the grocery's at the grocery store. That makes sense right? Grr.

Today I will purchase cheese and one banana (maybe two). The problem with ruining a no spend with a little purchase like cheese is that I don't have that grand accomplishment to shoot for: NO SPEND day 7! So I'm like, "ah, I'll just buy a coke too, and maybe a payday bar. Eh, might as well get a pre-made sandwich while I'm at it." The $4 cheese purchase turns into a $10 shopping spree. WHY!?!?!? Grocery stores should not run out of cheese.

This blog post has the sole purpose of encouraging me to not get the "little" extras today. Just cheese (and a banana).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nine More Days of January

Average daily spending this year: $16.25

We are practically out of everything here (except for my January stock up items; I'm doing good with those). I'm hoping to get closer to my $15 a day goal before the close of January. I've just finished writing up a grocery list for tomorrow. Sadly, I'm quite proud of myself anytime I accomplish that task. I hate grocery shopping. I'm hoping for no spend days Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That would give me 9 for January with a week left. I'm aiming for 12. After tomorrow's grocery getting adventure I'll have about $25 left for the month. I'm just going to be realistic and say that I'll go at least $20 over that. If I can stick to "the plan" (with the $20 overage) then I should be at $15.65 a day by January 31st. That's not bad.

I was pretty worried when I set the $15 a day goal that with purchases for my boy I'd end up WAY over that. I did not include him in the spending budget last year. I have been pinching pennies this month so I don't know that it's realistic to hope for $15ish a day but I'm not going to alter my goal yet. We're practically one month in of an entire year. Lets see how it goes from here.

Warm wishes to everyone enduring "arctic blast part 2." It's mighty pretty outside right now but holy Siberia it is cold!!! I'm a little worried about the upcoming heating bill. Yikes!

Today's lovely: Can I have a preemptive lovely? I'm going to make a cup of hot chamomile tea and read some Irish history now. Sounds lovely to me.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


It's getting serious around here now. I decided that instead of getting a Venti Caramel Macchiato with the $5 gift card I'd split it up and get a brewed coffee today and a tall macchiato another day. What is happening to me?

Average daily spending this year: $16.25

So far so good. I did not use a credit card or go into overdraft today.

Just Call Me Grumpy Smurf

Today is one of those days where I have to take the $17 cash from my son's Christmas money (I'll reimburse him on Thursday when we get paid) and deposit $32 into the checking account (that I'd reserved for something else) so we don't go into overdraft when two bills clear today. I do not want to swipe a credit card this year. I do not want to go into overdraft. It's only $28 but I wish paypal didn't have a hold on my e-bay money. It doesn't matter that I've been using ebay for decades (I've been with them since they started) with ALL positive feedback, nope. I haven't had a transaction for a year so they're just going to hold my money for as long as they see fit (up to 21 days). Which in turn means that I had to ship the dang items out (including the $5 I lost on shipping) with my own cash. I'm not in a good mood.

I honestly think I'm going to make it to Thursday (payday) without using credit or overdraft but I HATE the pressure. Its not fun. And I can almost guarantee you that my husband is going to ask to eat out tonite. I don't know if he can sense just the right time NOT to ask but he always begs to go out for dinner on days like today. I guess when all is said and done I'm glad that January 21st is the first time this year I'm feeling "the pressure." I mean I could have been in the pressure cooker boat on day one but I made it this far.

I think I'll be using that $5 Starbucks card today. I'm really grouchy right now and I haven't even left for work yet. Grumble, grumble, pressure is supposed to strengthen you right...

Monday, January 20, 2014


I do happy dances over these types of things!

I visited a new church a few weeks ago. I filled out a visitor card with my address and I just got a $5 Starbucks card in the mail from them. My husband is like, "oh geesh, they're trying to buy your attendance." I'm like, "well they sure know how to do it!"

I also bought a rancid box of Rice Krispies cereal a little while back. Instead of returning it to the store I called Kellogg's. They quickly sent me this $5 coupon. Shoot that box probably cost $2. I know I got it on sale for a pretty decent amount off. I'm completely planning on taking this coupon to the store and finding the closest box of cereal to $5 that I can.

I'm not kidding, I received both of these in the mail on Saturday and I'm positively giddy over them.

Average daily spending this year: $16.12

Today's lovely: Reading books with my little buddy. I love how he knows all the animal sounds in the animals book. "What's a crow say... caw caw. The donkey? E aw E aw." It's so cute!

What Do You Already Have?

This one's for you Sluggy.

Several months ago I REALLY wanted to purchase some bins for my sons dresser/ changing table. Next to the drawers there are these three short, deep shelves. Two of them pull out (and stuff likes to fall off). The bottom shelf doesn't pull out and isn't very practical at all. I needed a bin; something I could pull out of that pit to access my stuff. I considered purchasing one for awhile. I do this with practically everything and I usually just come to the realization that I don't "need" said item. But with this one I really needed something to put in there. Then I brainstormed.

I decided that I'd make a bin with what I had on hand. There was no way I was just going to use an empty diaper box but a decorated diaper box... that might work. I kept all the gift bag's from my son's baby showers. In truth there won't be enough baby boy's born in my lifetime for me to re-gift all those gift bags so I decided to re-purpose a few of them. Someone online said you can make your own mod podge with elmers glue and water. I attempted it... it pretty much worked. And this is my end result.
I've been using this box for my son's cloth diapers (which woohoo we only need for naptime and bedtime now) for months! At first I thought to myself, "a new bin would be better." But the box has grown on me. I do quite like it now. I forgot to post this back when I made the little thing but Sluggy reminded me. I should have made two more boxes... organization isn't my strong point. It fits in there perfectly. I pulled it out so you could see more than one side of it. Also, it looks better in person but you get the idea.

*suddenly I feel the need to explain that the pile of clothes in there are hand me downs that I've washed but are too large for Abe right now. I just set them in there for the time being so I won't forget we have them by the time they fit.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's Your Magic Number?

We can't wait until everything is OK- with us or with the rest of the world- to feel thankful, or we will never experience it at all... so we must catch and kiss our joy as it flies by, even in the midst of sorrow or suffering.
-M.J. Ryan (excerpt from Attitudes of Gratitude)
I had an off day yesterday. I went to coffee in the morning with a friend. It was quite lovely. (except for the many trips to the restroom with my almost 2 year old) I honestly cannot remember the last time I sat down in a coffee shop and conversed with someone. But I'm afraid that the lavish experience opened up a scary door. I spent much of the day yesterday remembering how things used to be; remembering when my husband and I dined out often, the countless weekends we spent in movie theaters, traveling every year during our anniversary, trips to the mall to buy nice clothing, when I purchased whatever groceries I wanted... there was no budget to follow. Oh, the memories. Oh, the joyous times! Yesterday I started craving the days of old: the days of credit card frivolousness. I really don't do that anymore so it was a yucky day. Hopefully I'm over it now.

I kept thinking yesterday, "I can't wait until..." Like someday I'll be better off. Someday we'll be able to spend frivolously. Someday I'll be able to make crazy purchases and engorge myself on expensive food again. Someday!!! But, during the midst of this growing up and paying off debt and living life journey I am intent on today meaning something. I want today to be good enough. I think it's important to dream. I think it's imperative that although our dreams evolve and change we never lose them or let them die altogether. But today is what it is. Today is to be lived. Today is to be grand. Today we need to catch the joy that comes our way and revel in it. It's far to easy to miss the little joys that really make life what it is. I don't want to spend today thinking, "oh, someday..." That's a waste.
Money truly has very little to do with our happiness. But most of us are convinced that money can indeed buy happiness. [a study that asked people how much money they thought they needed to be happy had revealing results] Everyone, no matter what they made, thought they needed more. People who made $20,000 thought $30,000 would do it; folks at $45,000 were convinced that $65,000 was the magic number, people at $100,000 were sure $200,000 was it. The only thing that changed was that as people's income grew their magic number grew exponentially.
-excerpt From Attitudes of Gratitude
So today, although there may not be remarkable adventures to be had or thousands of dollars to be thrown to the wind I will be happy because I am alive, surrounded by loved ones and have a messy home to clean. This is enough. I am blessed.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Full Disclosure

We have a new microwave. My husband broke down and demanded that we purchase one. He can't cook to save his life. He actually said it like this, "hey honey, how about I take you out on the town tomorrow night... (long pause, big smile) to buy a microwave with Abe." I found a really nice one of suitable size for $61. I haven't actually ever purchased a microwave (the one that just died was a wedding gift) so I thought $61 was really good. I'm not including the purchase in my spending though. Sorry if this peeves anyone. Since I'm VERY open about ALL of my purchases I wanted to make sure everyone knew the microwave has been bought. I'm lumping it in with home expenses this year (which would basically involve the mortgage, equity line and giant things like house repairs).

I have to say if I purchased a new fridge or a new stove or a new set of front steps (we need new steps) I wouldn't take those out of my "$12 a day" either. My additional reasoning behind not pulling this purchase from my monthly spending budget is that I could have lived without it but my husband was suffering. I have resolved to take more of a hit with "my spending" this year when the dear man brings home dinner or grocery items that I had no say in whatsoever but I'm not claiming the microwave.

In related news I paid for the sucker in cash. I have not "borrowed," used a credit card, or gone into overdraft this year. The bills have thus far been paid on time. And this is my very first "non-consumable" purchase of the year. Mark the microwave down as numero uno stuff purchase of 2014. I expect my next "stuff" purchase to be a bathmat of some sort. Ours is getting icky. I'm waiting till there's some room for it in the budget but it is planned as of now as purchase number 2. Would anyone recommend the decal type things you stick to the tub instead of a bathmat? I feel like I buy about 2 bathmats a year and I hate it. Those decal things are more expensive but I feel like you wouldn't have to replace them virtually ever. Thoughts? (Again, I could easily live without a bathmat in the tub but my husband insists that he'll break his head open without one.)

I'm hoping for no spend days tomorrow and Monday. I've factored these into the below average thus far.

Average daily spending this year: $16.12

Today's lovely: Morning coffee with a good friend. I can't remember the last time I sat down at a coffee shop with a friend. It was great.

Friday, January 17, 2014

blah, blah, groceries

Yesterday I Spent $1.34 on a $2 loaf of bread. I used 66 cents of rounded up loose change.We ate grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and I made some pretty scrumptious peanut butter cookies for an evening treat. I know you can't even contain the excitement with how thrilling this blog is at times.

Today I will actually purchase groceries. In all honestly I'm scared to do so. I need to make smart purchases and plan everything out but I do not feel mentally empowered enough to tackle the challenge right now. Shoot, I'm a big girl. I can do this!

Let the day resume.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

$12 a day first annual fund raiser (update #3)

I've done some prying since beginning this fund raiser. First I'd like to clarify that in a way your donations are going to a tiny orphanage. UNICEF estimates that there are more than 370,000 orphans in Guatemala and at least 5,000 children live on the streets of the capital city alone. Many of these children were simply abandoned by their mothers who are too poor to care for them. I haven't any understanding of the adoption laws in Guatemala but I do know that for some reason MANY of the orphans are legally un-adoptable. The family that I am raising this money for as a gift is taking un-adoptable children into their homes and giving them a permanent home/ a real family. They have legally taken on an orphanage status so that they can give a home and a family to children who would otherwise live on the streets or in an orphanage. Granted they will only affect so many lives in doing this (I doubt they will "adopt" hundreds of children during their years on the planet) but the children they have welcomed into their family are on an entirely new path in life, one with SOOO many opportunities they would have never seen before. I believe that every child deserves a loving mother and father. I love what these two people are doing!

This family has specifically stated that: "Our vision has always been for the orphan and to give a permanent home to kids who would otherwise grow up in an institution. Our hope is to see every orphan in our country have a permanent home in a family."

I know that they pray for this vision often. The ministry that the dad from this family works for not only builds homes for widows, supplies food at feeding programs in the mountains, (employs local cobblers in their shoe shop) and hands out shoes to needy children in the community, installs clean water systems and safe burning stoves in homes in the mountains, but they also have been for the past few years in the process of building a facility to raise un-adoptable orphans in small homes with a mom and a dad just like these two individuals are doing on their own. This is the vision of many of the missionaries in Guatemala right now because there are so many children on the streets and in need.

The family just last month encountered a truly bittersweet experience. Their two oldest children have left to live with their three older siblings. These two children lived in an orphanage for 7 years before they were taken in by this family. These two individuals believed that the kids would be with them always. The older siblings had tried to adopt the children early on but they weren't old enough. The family has had a relationship with the older siblings all along and now that they are old enough to care for the two youngest they did not want to interfere with family restoration. Thus they have two less children in their home now and an ache in their hearts but they are truly happy that these two dear children have been reunited with their family.

The other three children that they have "adopted" are all siblings. They took the three in together. There is no foreseeable reason for these three to ever leave (aside from growing up). I'm certain that with the vision this family has for helping and loving orphans they will be welcoming more children into their home when the time presents itself. At present the family of 8 that I have been raising money for is now a family of 6. I do not know why, and it's not that it really even matters but I have on my heart a desire to raise the equivalent of $1000 per family member. I am lowering my $8000 goal to $6000 (unless they "adopt" more children before February 12th).

I'm NOWHERE near this goal but I couldn't be happier that people have donated. You are all awesome. This is just something that's been weighing on my heart for so long and I'm really happy that we will be able to give them a monetary gift no matter what the size.

Thank-you, thank-you!
: )

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Today Was a Fail?

I had planned no spend day 6 for today but I didn't eat breakfast, my coffee was horribly weak this morning, my schedule was way off because hubby worked second shift today (which means I had to go in early this morning instead of in the afternoon like usual), and my shift was a bit longer than normal. I had worked about 4 hours when I caved. I bought a donut and a Starbucks coffee for $4.99.

Now for the sliver lining: I'm extremely happy to announce that January is already half over and this is the first time I've caved this year. Up until now I've stuck to every plan I've had. My husband has ruined a few no spend days but I haven't strayed from my financial vision. This was the first coffee I've purchased this year as well. I hadn't even realized how good I've been doing up until my fail this afternoon.

I tried to redeem myself by writing up a tiny grocery list, just enough stuff to get us through this evening and tomorrow. I had $1.16 in change that I rounded up (outside of the budget) and hoped that after a potential no spend day tomorrow I could get under $16 a day for the year. By my calculations if I spent $7.08 I would be at $15.99 a day for the year. Apparently I'm still not excellent at math as I came in under my projected $7.08 and somehow ended higher than $15.99 (I've never been grand at mathematics). BUT I did follow my plan and come in under the $7.08 and I'm proud of myself for it.
Today's list and a tiny visual of my fancy planning.

I'd like to note that I did not torture myself today because my bank account is empty (it's not), or because I like the pressure, or to punish myself for buying the coffee. Simply, I have a set budget. I'm trying to spend $15 a day this year. I have plans to pay off more debt this year. I have an empty savings account right now. If my average is $17.14 the third week in January and $18.35 the fourth week, and $19.21 sometime in May then I'm just progressively digging a hole I won't get out of. I do not know if $15 a day is reasonable. I do not know where I'll come in with spending by December 31st this year. But I am going to try and stick to the budget I've drawn up. I am going to try and pay off more debt this year. I am going to try to live by the plans I've made and if that means buying a few pears instead of the bag of apples, and getting a cheap frozen pizza for my husband's dinner tomorrow, and me eating MORE chili (I really do love it) then by golly that is just what I'll do.

Average daily spending this year: $16.05

Today's lovely: Coffee and a donut on break. Okay, so my lovelies aren't supposed to be anything involving money but I did really enjoy the treat. I'll break my own rule just this once.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chili Tuesday

Well my daily average is way up now. Yesterday I bought groceries exclusively for my boy. I had to get him some lotion for a rash he's been dealing with, yogurt, crackers, juice... many of the necessities that I was a bit worried I wasn't planning as best I could. That total was a whopping $23.31. When trying to spend $15 a day that's a big chunk of money.

Today I bought the bare minimum in order to make chili. I have to comment that I'm proud of myself for this one. I don't know that I've ever made chili... weird, I know. But today I'm making it. Today I'm excited about it and tomorrow we should have a good bit of leftovers from it. The chili makings came to $11.19 but I had to buy cumin which was almost $4. Geesh, silly expensive spices. I am really excited about this chili. I better go stir it now and get the cornbread in the oven.

Average daily spending this year: $17.14

Today's lovely: A winter filth covered semi was driving down the highway in the lane next to me when I noticed the classic finger print writing in the scum on one of it's back doors. In large clear letters someone had written, "HI Y'ALL." It brought a very large smile to my face. I couldn't help but wonder where in the country it had been placed there, who done it, and what kind of silly mood that person had been in. He or she made me smile. I'm not sure why but sometimes little things like, "HI Y'ALL" scribbled on the back of semi bring me such joy. I think it's this odd sort of connection with a stranger, another person on the planet somewhere that I'll never meet. That person whoever they were made me smile. That's a connection of sorts. I like moments like that.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Is it Bedtime Yet?

Today should have been a NO SPEND. I didn't spend any money but my husband stopped and picked up lunch/ dinner on the way home from work. Although I was not involved in this decision I'm going to take this one on the chin. I am determined to back off on the "harping" this year but I'm also trying to be a bit more strict with myself and what I consider "my" spending. My spending is anything we spend outside of my husband's lunch money/ spending cash. So, I'm not really comfortable putting the lunch he purchased for the entire family into his spending category.

Long story short: NO SPEND day 6 will have to come another day. My average spending is up a bit higher than I would have liked. All will be fine and I'll just have to make the hamburgers tomorrow.

Average daily spending this year: $16.63

Today's lovely: In truth today was chaos; one of those days where annoyance after annoyance after annoyance fills every hour. My dogs are currently locked in the kitchen (I've NEVER resorted to this before), and I can't wait to put my child to bed for the night. I saw my husband for about 30 minutes in between him arriving home from work, playing video games and then crashing on the couch. When I was trying to clean around here someone was making much larger messes right behind me (dogs included in said someone). Just a really awful day.

All that being said I feel compelled to make a list of lovelies: Today was day two of taking the munchkin out of the house in undies and we've yet to have an accident in the undies. (he's been doing great at home but I've been scared to bring him out without a diaper). This is such an accomplishment for me (and him) and truly lovely! While hubby was playing video games Abe and I played with toys in his room. It's seriously so much fun playing with the little guy. Just watching my son push the batman and joker little people cars down their ramps, counting, "one, two, three, GO," I'm so proud of the kid. He just amazes me virtually every moment of every day. Lastly, a friend and I are embarking upon an operation cozy home week by week this year. I feel as though I accomplished little this week for our challenge but truly, standing in my basement cleaning small spots in my laundry area that I haven't touched in YEARS, and watching dust disappear and shiny parts of the washer and dryer reappear, vanquishing months old cob webs (yes I like my basement to look like Halloween year round), and then seeing spots of my laundry covered floor emerge after weeks of being covered; it was exhilarating. I think cleaning is like running. It's so draining at the time but when you're done you just feel so wonderful!!! Those are the lovely bits of today that I'm able to recall through the headache and I think they're all worth noting.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grocery Fun

I picked up a few groceries today. I grabbed a bag of chips my husband likes that I thought was on sale. It wasn't. It rang up for $4 and you know what I did... I put it back. There's no way I was going to pay $4 for chips. I'm a budget maniac! Oh yeah

Average daily spending this year: $15.35

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Made Soup! (and a quick goals rundown)

I hate making soup. I never make soup. Soup never seems filling enough. Yet this simple task seems to be a prerequisite for every good homemaker. I had some celery that had gone soft and carrots I needed to use up. So I strayed from my norm and decided to give this thing another go. I boiled the carrots in chicken stock. With 4 minutes remaining I threw the celery, some frozen peas, and frozen corn in. I cooked up a box of long grain and wild rice (which has a mild seasoning). I mixed the rice into the veggie mix and whala I now have a very filling, VERY healthy, actually very yummy tasting soup that my son LOVES.

I'm quite proud. I just never make soup.

Average daily spending this year: $15.85

I'm going to shop for the weekend tomorrow. I'll try and reign in the spending then and get back under my $15 a day goal. As far as other goals are concerned: I haven't paid any bills late thus far. I have not used any from of credit or borrowed money (or gone into overdraft). I have been keeping a food journal, been reading, and really looking for lovelies. I have had 5 NO SPEND days this year. And as far as "30 days to think on it" is concerned, I haven't bought one single thing/ stuff/ non-consumable OR written anything down on my 30 days wait list. Pretty good I'd say. I also haven't been checking into facebook on odd numbered days.

Today's lovely: While walking through the store not even noticing that I was passing the floral department all of the sudden the most fabulous, intense, wonderful scent of spring embraced me like a cloud of perfume. I turned around to see a table filled with daffodils and hyacinth. Every part of my being smiled upon walking into the fragrance. It was heavenly; like remembering a long forgotten cherished friend. I kept walking for a few seconds until I realized that I must cherish this moment in time. I turned around and walk through the cloud once more. Ahh, so beautiful. I stopped at the table and pressed my nose into the hyacinths. Talk about "stopping to smell the roses," NO joke, everyone needs to take time out for such activities.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A "Restored Faith in Humanity" Kind of a Day

My husband had left 50 cents sitting on the table this morning. I was completely planning a no spend day today but I grabbed the 50 cents and stuck it in my pocket anyhow. As far as I'm concerned loose change is free game and since it's already been subtracted from the budget as my husband's spending cash it's kind of like free money. With 50 cents in my pocket and determination to not spend money today I left for work this morning.

I do not own a cell phone and I love that I do not own a cell phone. I pride myself on having never sent a text message and having never used an app. These two little oddities make me a freak in today's culture but I'll embrace them for as long as I can. I could write a very long post about why I like not having a cell but I'll refrain and just state that life is really more peaceful without one. When people hear that hubby and I are sans-cell you can see their blood pressure rise a bit. It's as if the sky will suddenly fall right then and there because we're left in such a susceptible state. "What will you do in an emergency?" I can't tell you how many times I've heard this asked. My answer is always, "I'll do whatever would have been done before cell phones existed."

While driving to work this morning I heard an incredibly loud noise, spent a few seconds wondering if a jet had just landed a few feet from my vehicle, and quickly determined that the sound was in fact coming from my van. I pulled to the side of the very busy highway I was on and opened my door to see that a back tire had blown out. I went to the trunk and dug out the jack trying to be a big girl and take care of this "little" issue myself before I considered how incredibly dangerous changing a tire on the side of a busy highway would be coupled with the good chance of getting frost bite in my fingers while I tried. Plus my van is one of those that houses the spare on its underside and I've heard that often times its practically impossible for even mechanics to remove those suckers. It took all of three minutes for me to decide that I needed to walk to a phone (just like people always did before cell phones were invented).

I'll take this opportunity to say that my mother is thee most faith filled person I've ever known, almost to a fault. When I was growing up she refused to ever lock our house or cars when we were absent because she said, "the Lord will protect them." But there was always a clause, "and if anyone robs us then they need what was taken more than we do." If it's even possible I believe I've inherited some of my mother's faith in God. When it comes to the cell phone issue I am steadfast in proclaiming that, "the Lord will protect me." But "if something out of the ordinary happens I know He'll also orchestrate events in my favor." How strange that sounds.

I walked about one whole minute when someone stopped to ask if that was my van back there and did I need it towed out of the snow bank. I said, yes and no. "I've a flat tire." I was then offered a ride somewhere and even though I'd normally decline ever getting in a car with a stranger I also didn't want to walk about 2 miles in the 10 degree weather. After being dropped off at the store that I knew had a payphone I felt almost happy to be without a phone. There's something to be said about a stranger taking time out of their day to help out someone in need. I felt really very blessed. (I insist that everyone refrain from "what ifs." You could drown when you go swimming. You could have a heart attack while walking down the sidewalk. You could slip and fall at any time and break your neck... no need for what ifs here)

I'm horrible with phone numbers and I couldn't remember any but I looked up my mom's place of employment and hoped she would answer the phone. I put that 50 cents in the payphone and she picked up on the other end. This is 3 small miracles in a row. First: grabbing the 50 cents this morning. Second: a kind stranger helping me out. Third: my mom actually being at work and answering the phone. She called my car insurance company and asked them if I have road side assistance. They said yes and gave her a tow truck referral. She then called the tow truck driver and he said he'd pick me up from the store on the way to my stranded van. He was supposed to change the tire for me but he said there was very little chance of him getting the spare out from under the van so he suggested that I get a tow to a tire place. Okay. He billed my insurance company directly so there wasn't a penny out of my pocket for the tow. (because I have road side on my policy I don't have to pay anything for the tow. it's just part of the policy)

The tire guy looked up my tire and said they didn't have any that size in stock. I asked if he could please just put the spare on. He said, "IF we can get it out from under the van then yes we'll put it on for you." Come on, who's bright idea was it to stick a spare tire underneath a vehicle? They said it was (yet another) small miracle that they could get it unlodged but that the spare was shot; that it had been under there for 15 years and though it clearly hadn't ever been used it was ruined by weather. He then told me that he would see if they had a scrap tire he could put on for me.

He came back later and said the van was ready and that I was all set. I followed him to the counter to pay and he said, "no really. you're all set." WHAT?!?!?! A free tire? I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not legal for a tire place to put an old tire on someone's car. But he didn't even charge me for labor (and if my suspicions are correct then he also broke the law on my behalf). I'm going to cheat a small bit and not count the 50 cent phone call and say that this was possibly the strangest NO SPEND day ever!

I went to work after a morning of tire trauma and honestly all day I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy. There was a little bounce in my step as I beamed from ear to ear all day. I've said for YEARS that if the car were to ever break down I'm certain the Lord would take care of the situation. If that didn't happen today I don't know what did. I'm considerably more joyful at the moment after having my tire blow out this morning than I would regularly be on any normal day. I also find that while one works adamantly to not spend and to save money it's much easier to find shear delight out of things like I experienced today. I got a FREE tire! Granted it's used and worn and I'm going to have to replace it but in the meantime WOW!!!

I must say a prayer of "thanks to God for taking care of me today," and offer a hearty thank-you to each kind soul who crossed my path today and chose to be helpful.

Average daily spending this year: $15.05

Shoot, I forgot to add that the tow truck driver told my mom that I would have to wait an hour before he could get there but he showed up after only 15 minutes. He said that he actually re-routed and came to help me out before the job he was currently heading to because he knew I was standing in the parking lot waiting for him. Honestly every single person I encountered today went out of their way to help me out. It was an incredible day... who would have thought that the day my tire explodes would be one of the best days I've had in ages?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Average daily spending this year: $15.05

Bah, I went over budget. I think I can get back on track sometime within the next 358 days, hehe. Yay for the new year.
Time for sleep here, and blankets; lots and lots and lots of blankets.
It's about 3 degrees F outside and the windchill is around -20F. CHILLY!!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Accidental No Spend Day

I forgot my wallet when I went to work and there was NO possible way I was going to venture back out once I arrived home. I called into the office today while I was working to ask a question. The business manager I reached actually said, "why are you at work?" I was like, "um, it's Monday. I'm supposed to be here." He said pretty much everyone else called in absent because of all the snow.

Anyway, I did not spend any money today.

Average daily spending for the year: $12.43


The snow is almost up to my knees (much higher in drifts). Our outside glass door has snowflakes frozen all over it (the photo is a close up of this spectacle). My pups bounced around in the backyard this morning like dashing bunnies hopping bush after bush, only there were no bushes to jump over. It almost seemed like I was torturing them as the neighbors were all snowblowing pathways for their much larger canines. I'm certain mine enjoy the game and exercise however (when I do shovel for them they just escape the path and run through the deep snow). The entire world is white and chilly and the people are frazzled. This is my kind of winter! BEAUTIFUL!!!

*sending thoughts of snow your way pieliekamais. Maybe our arctic blast will find a path to you.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snowy Sunday

Did someone say extra income... oh yeah, that was me. I posted three items to ebay today. All new, never used and sadly they've been sitting around my house for far too long. There's a good possibility that I have a horrible procrastination problem. No matter what they go for (if they go) that's a little extra income for me.

I'm at 3 NO SPEND days for the year.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
-Lin Yutang
The Nester has posted her word for 2014: slow. Carrie is focusing on living in the moment this year. Hawaii Planner is hoping for a quieter more relaxing year. I like the desire for peace and serenity that appears to be floating through the blogosphere. In truth I intend to work my butt of this year but at the same time I'm striving for balance. While I focus on excelling in 20 different areas I want to take a TON of time out to enjoy right now. I like that: "there is a noble art of leaving things undone." I might need to tell myself this often while I debate whether I should straighten up around the house or sit down and color a picture with my son.

Today was NO SPEND day 2 for the year.
Logging into facebook only every other day is actually quite easy and enjoyable.
I've thus far found 23 things to get rid of (20 to go from my Christmas sweep).
I haven't bought any non-consumable/ non-grocery items/ stuff yet this year.

Today's lovely: Taking a shower. There's just something wonderful about being clean (something that often evades me).

Friday, January 3, 2014


I purchased some groceries on the way out of work today. I'm a bit under my $15 a day goal so far for the year (I know we're only 3 days in). So far so good. I should have a NO SPEND tomorrow and Sunday. That'll put me at 3 in the first week.

I am tracking my "stuff" purchases again this year (I did that in 2011 and 2010). It's a very simple procedure yet kind of difficult to explain. I think the best way to describe my definition of "stuff" is something that won't get used up. Things you buy on a regular basis: gasoline, food, toilet paper, soap; these things aren't included in a "stuff" purchase. Shoes, pants, a photograph, a toy; these are "stuff." Can someone think of a better way for me to explain this? In the past three days I have not purchased "stuff." I'm giggling now. There has to be a better way to explain this. In truth I like keeping track because I generally purchase very few new things. It's neat at the end of the year to see that I only made 57 purchases or however many. Especially when at least 15 of those things were gifts, 2 were new articles of clothing for work, and so forth. Yes, I'm strange. It's the little things that keep me going.

Average daily spending this year: $14.31

Today's lovely: There was a ferocious sunset this evening. As I was leaving work a very small portion of the sky where the sun was dipping into Lake Michigan was a strong warm solid magenta. It was almost too strong and too solid to even look real. It quickly faded into the violent grey clouds around it. They were those mean looking dark grey cotton ball storm clouds. So much intense beauty, like the most lovely dark pink rose sitting right there in the middle of all that anger. It was a wonderful moment for me because I didn't long to capture it. I didn't wish my camera were near by. Rather that moment captured me/ moved me. I was happy right then and there. I noticed the miracle of the sky right then and there. I was thankful to be alive right then and there.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January stock up results

Stock up money $93
Toilet paper
Laundry detergent
Dish soap
Bar soap (bath soap)
Dryer sheets
Dog food
Dog treats
Cat litter
A furnace filter
Gallon of Organic Milk
$4.86 left over

I'm thinking and hoping that all of the above will at least last for all of January. These items are generally my budget killers so hopefully having bought them all at the beginning of the month and in larger quantities than I normally buy now I'll be able to stick closer to $15 a day.

I NEVER buy dryer sheets but our house is getting really static-y with the frigid temps outside and my sons fleece PJ's are giving him countless little shocks. I had hoped to have more left than $4.86 (for gifts later) but I splurged on a new furnace filter and dog treats (that I'd forgotten we ran out of).

I also picked up a few groceries today. I'll do actual grocery shopping when I finish up work tomorrow. I spent $9.57 on food just for Abe. Including him in the daily spend this year is going to be challenging. I'm nervous but at the same time I'm ready for the challenge... I think.

$12 a day first annual fund raiser (update #2)

First and foremost a big THANKS to those of you who've donated thus far. I'm so touched by your kindness. Truly, there aren't even words.

I've decided to change the deadline on the fundraiser from the last week in February to Sunday the 12th of February. A short while back my sister received an e-mail from the ministry in Guatemala that runs the feeding programs in the mountains and that we've built the widow homes with. There is a team going to Guatemala in February that needed additional people to go with. My little sis prayed about the opportunity and has decided that it was meant to be so she will be returning to Guatemala for her 3rd time in February. The team will be building 6 widow homes and installing a safe cooking stove in each of them. The people living in the small homes in the mountains cook over open flames and smoke inhalation aside it's easily to get burned, for children to come in contact with the flames and it takes MUCH less time to cook on these new stoves.

Talk about interesting timing. This sudden trip opportunity coincides almost exactly with when I'd planned to make the donation to the family. I'm pretty sure that I'd rather send a card and check with her so that it's more personal (as opposed to all electronic communication). I haven't told the family that I am raising funds for them. It will be an unexpected gift.

I will be collecting donations until Sunday February 12. 100% of the donations will be going to the family. And I believe your donations will be traveling roughly 1300 miles with my little sis on February 14. (unless the dad is not working with the ministry at this time... I'll have to contact him before hand and make sure he'll be there)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January Stock Up

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.
-Henry Ford
I'm planning to spend an average of $15 a day this year on everything I purchase. I think I can, I think I can...

As much as I wanted to stay under $14 a day for 2013 I ended at $14.04. Not bad, but this didn't include spending for the little guy so I know I was WELL over $15 a day in 2013. I'm excited about this new goal. I'm excited about growing more and paying off more debt. I'm excited about maybe actually getting some money in savings for longer than a week. In truth the budget doesn't look great right now, there's very little cushion, there's not much room for savings or debt payoff but a long road lies ahead. I guess I'm looking for buried treasure. Arghhh

One of my new approaches is to take an average of $3 a day at the beginning of the month and stock up on some of my least favorite things that always seem to ruin my budget. Ideally I'll plan out gifts for the month from this money as well.< Look at me, growing up and planning household supplies ahead of time.>

On the list for the January Stock Up
Laundry Detergent
Dish soap
Dog food
Toilet Paper
Bath soap
Organic milk for Abe
A Birthday gift for my Mom (although I intend to make something)

I've $93 to spend on the January stock up but there are several birthday's in May so I'm going to try and reserve some of the stock up money for then. Results later.

It's looking like I'm starting January with my first NO SPEND day of the year. This is the longest streak I think I've had. Being a hermit is looking like a pretty beneficial occupation. (I have to go back to work tomorrow though)

Today's Lovely: I'm sitting on the couch watching some random thing on TV, almost not even watching it. It's just on. I look over at my son who's sound asleep next to me and then to the other side both my dogs are snuggled up together beside my leg. (It's FREEZING outside) I've a warm cup of coffee in my hand. I look around the house and think in a moment of all the cleaning that needs to be done. But instead of that usual feeling of, "ugh," overwhelmedness and dread I realize that I'm enjoying a truly beautiful, warm and cozy piece of time. I can't believe how often I miss the appreciation for these moments. I'm glad I caught that one, just surrounded by love, warmth, and serenity. Lovely!

Happy New Day

Most everyone right now is spending time looking back and looking ahead. We're thinking about what we've accomplished, where we've fallen short, and what we might do in the days and months to come. Reflection and planning are such important parts of life; seeing what great strides we've made, recognizing where we've fallen short, planning for better successes. But might we keep in mind to look at now, to see beauty all around and to be thankful for this wonderful moment. Sadly aspirations often lose light and strength as the new year passes by. I think we can continually fuel the fires if we remember to pause and see the good right now.
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
-Henry David Thoreau
Listen for your music and don't be afraid to dance because I wonder if stopping to dance might not be what keeps you going in the long run.

Happy New Day Friends
It is a fantastic one!
And Happy New Year Everyone
May it truly be the best yet : )