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Archive for September, 2009

No Shopping for a Year???

September 29th, 2009 at 01:36 am

I was fascinated by an article I read, about a family that tried a no-shopping experiment for a year, buying only necessary depletable items like food and household items and some toiletries. The whole family was on board to do this.

I didn't get too many details, but I think I do this already, just not to the extreme that they did it. Plus, my family would not be on board at ALL!

Already, I don't go out to eat often. I've been out 4 times this month due to farewells at work and birthday celebrations for close friends. An unusual month--I usually don't go out for months at a time.

I don't have a cell phone, I don't have any fancy electronic equipment at home, I don't buy DVDs or CDs, I don't do any recreational shopping at the mall or at any superstore (it exhausts me), I don't wear a lot of makeup or perfume, I do my own hair, I don't have a computer right now that needs things, so I'm not spending much money on those sorts of things.

But are there other areas where I can test this experiment? I don't buy new clothes a lot like several of my friends, but I do shop at thrift stores for a wardrobe boost. Can I go a year without buying new OR used clothes?

Or can I skip going to the grocery store for a week and just use what's in the pantry?

Or can I do all my errands during the weekdays that I'm driving to and from work and not drive on Saturday at least 2 Saturdays a month? (No-drive days was part of my $20 challenge, but I don't think I've had any no-drive days this year.)

Can I do more baking and make my own snacks and bread?

Has anyone else tried this for a year?

Money Talks

September 29th, 2009 at 01:06 am

I've been lazy and unmotivated about the budget and tracking lately.

It could be the time of year. Or the fact that I've had a lot of money go out (new refrigerator, dental work, the insurance was due, the kid's laptop was repaired). Or the fact that there are now 2 people at home who are not on the same financial page as I am (the kid and the spouse) and that appears to drain me, even though I'm trying not to let it. (I got accustomed to the kid being away at college.)

Also, without a computer at home I haven't been regularly reading Savingadvice to keep myself motivated. I'm reading a lot of entries today in an attempt to get inspired and motivated.

I also feel like groceries have gotten out of control, but haven't tracked the amounts I've spent in the past few weeks. I'm hoping it's just my imagination.

The kid has asked me to buy him a gym membership for Christmas (a year's contract). I'm considering it, but I hate contracts. And a year contract is expensive by my tastes. But the kid will be happy with this one gift (I think) and he can use it all year and I won't do any further Christmas shopping for him, which will simplify things for me. (Except I might still buy him socks and underwear... what's Christmas without new socks and underwear?!) We'll see...

My new pay with my new job has stabilized and I have about $35 each paycheck that I want to add to savings goals. I haven't done anything about that yet either, but I need to work on that (on payday!) so that amount doesn't get absorbed into other expenses. I was going to add it to retirement, but think I'll split it between retirement and my Freedom Account. (I sound like I have a million dollars coming to me...I'm always trying to divide a dime!)

Just feeling sluggish about all things financial, but still grateful to read everyone's blogs for inspiration. Maybe if I balance the checkbook tonight, I'll find some motivation and discipline...

Home Care - New Refrigerator

September 22nd, 2009 at 01:23 am

Spoiled milk is gross!! We just replaced our most basic model increasingly luke-warm refrigerator with the most basic model we could find (freezer compartment on top)--no ice maker, no water, just a refrigerator. We found one for $399 plus delivery and removal costs, which we felt was a good deal. Actually, it was a great deal, since at home our refrigerated food (and milk) was spoiling and our ice cream was melting as we shopped.

But why did our refrigerator only last 11 years? My parents have a refrigerator that is 40 years old or nearly my age. It's old and worn (the refrigerator, not me), but it still works great. Their milk doesn't spoil. Their ice cream stays frozen. How is this possible?? I'm so jealous!! My household owned our 'old' refigerator for all of 11 years and it just conked out. And who likes shopping for refrigerators on their day off work??

It must be true...They just don't make some things like they used to...

News about the Kid

September 15th, 2009 at 01:03 am

Well, this has been an interesting summer.

Because the kid lost his scholarship, he waivered this fall semester about going back to the university he attended or remaining home with us and going to a community college to make up his credits and his GPA. (A decision made by him at the VERY last minute of registration. He failed every single class last semester.) Anyway, after a deep discussion of money, he's more mature about this then I expected he would be and despite my disappointment in all the wasted money, we are getting along pretty well. The bad news (besides the waste of money and the GPA) is that he's eating all my food and leaving all the lights on. The good news is community college is WAY more affordable then university.

Of course, his being home, means there's a transportation issue. His original plan for the summer was to work to earn some money to help purchase a replacement car for the car he totaled last September. He made some effort to look for employment, but not a grand effort as he was without transportation. Summer passed us by and no job.

He continued to think that I would purchase him another $3500 to $4500 car, that I would give in. We did go out to look at several used cars--I want a black one! he says or, Oooh, how about a Mitsubishi Gallant, he says, or How about an Acura Integra, he says. For a minute, I almost caved in, just like he thought I would. But Savingadvice friends, you'll be glad to know I didn't totally cave in.

He had $1000 in his savings account and I originally offered to add $1000 to whatever he saved from the 'summer employment'. (The $1000 in his account was there at the beginning of summer from previous income.) My spouse asked our mechanic if he knew of any used cars for sale and our mechanic happened to have a 1991 Honda 4 door hatchback Civic with a rebuilt engine for $1,400. We bought it. It's white and old and with a little rust, but I'm happy with it.

When it was in our driveway, we told the kid. He wasn't happy with it, because he's more concerned about appearance then anything, but I think he'll live. If he doesn't drive it, he can always walk. If he doesn't want to walk, he can try to catch a ride with someone or catch the bus if he can ever figure out our confusing bus routes. I feel fine about it all. I was finally making some progress in my finances and I just didn't FEEL like going backwards by $3500 or so. I realized I needed to take a stand for my finances because I'm the ONLY ONE WHO'S GOING TO TAKE A STAND. And I did it.

Thanks to all my savingadvice friends for your support!

Aug 2009 Challenge

September 15th, 2009 at 12:59 am

Late again with the update but here goes...For August 2009...

$130 in paycheck allotments

$180 as my automatic transfer on Aug 20.

$29 leftover dollars and coins from allowance and grocery money

$8 refund check from doctor's office for overpayment of copay

$210 deposit from excess from Aug budget

$100 birthday gift deposited

$35 not spent ($15 not spent at restaurant because friend treated me, $15 not spent at restaurant because I previously won a $15 raffle doorprize gift card for that restaurant, $5 not spent for son's fast food when someone else treated him.)

$15.10 interest/dividend deposited

Wealth acct/Money mkt balance, $11,505

Savings toward extra mortgage payment Aug 30, $740

Total in account August 30, $12,245