27 February 2008

Just stay home.

As part of my attempt to save money on gas, I haven't been going out to stores, or out for lunch unless it's absolutely necessary. This has actually resulted in two-fold savings- I don't need to purchase gasoline nearly as often (which is good, considering it's 3.20 something a gallon here now) and I haven't been shopping. The whole mission of stores is to make you want to buy things. They do psychological studies to figure out what it going to make you feel happy, secure and rich enough to buy something that you totally don't need. I recently experienced this when I went to the Gap and found myself purchasing an obscenely large green tote bag for like 40 dollars (although I did pay with a gift card). Obviously said obscene bag has since been returned, but seriously. The bag was bigger than me!

So, in conclusion, don't go to the mall. Or Target. Just stay home.

24 February 2008

A case of the "I wants"

I remember there being a Berenstein Bears book about this- I think it was called the "gimmies"- but I'm calling it the "I wants." There are so many things out there to want, and it's really challenging to not act on those impulses. So right now, I'm going to let it out.

I want:
a house
a hybrid SUV, like the Toyota Highlander or Mercury Mariner
new living room furniture
a redone kitchen
a second bathroom
a finished basement
bunk beds for the kids
umbrella for my picnic table
rainwater barrels
a new clothesline
a decent pair of black high heeled boots
whitened teeth
the You Grow Girl book
clothes, and more clothes
a trip to the Cape
a slipcover for my couch
gardening supplies
a wall-mounted flatscreen tv for my room

That is all (for now).

23 February 2008

Getting Better at This OR It's Okay to Go to Target

I want to honestly portray the challenges in the YOFL. Basically, I spend 50% of the week feeling like I'm kicking ass, and the other 50% of the week wondering what the hell I was thinking and trying to figure out what we're going to eat. For example, it's Saturday and I've technically already spent this week's grocery/gas budget, but we need food and gas. I have two options- "borrow" from next week's budget, or decrease the amount I'm paying to a credit card this week. I decided to do a little of both. Typically, I would just run out and buy what I need, and decrease the credit card payment, and honestly, what I'm supposed to be doing it just not spending any more. I realize how unrealistic this is, though, so I've found a middle ground.

Which brings me to my trip to Target. I went in, looked at clearance stuff, looked at CUUUUUUTTE Easter plates, looked at 75% off Global Bazaar items, and went home with: 2 cans tuna, 2 boxes Annie's mac and cheese, one bag individually wrapped colby cheese pieces, 1 loaf bread, 1 frozen cheese pizza, 1 can sliced olives, 1 can mandarin orange segments, 2 bags of cat food, 1 easter egg dye kit, 2 $ spot puzzles for Easter baskets, a Method air freshener pill, and a sham to match the duvet I bought myself a few weeks ago. Total: $30!

What this means (at least this is what I think) is that the YOFL is changing me. I'm valuing my money in a different way. I'm choosing things that I truly need or want, rather than accumulating things for the sake of having them or buying them. I'm carefully choosing what to buy or not buy in a given week to not go over my budget, which is why it's getting easier. And it feels really, really good.

21 February 2008

It never hurts to ask (unless you have a sore throat)

I had to run into the mall yesterday, to return the aforementioned 103 dollar pair of "insanity pants." That I did, and while I was walking out, I noticed the top I purchased that day, which I decided to keep, was on sale. I walked back to the register and asked the snobby clerk if they do price adjustments, which they did, so she adjusted my price and I got back $12.xx. Not bad, for minimal effort. I'm wearing the top today, I've already gotten some compliments on it.

17 February 2008

Stubborn like a mule, OR Hangin' Tough

I'm really sick. I have a bad cold. I sent my kids off to their dad's house because I honestly couldn't talk. But does that stop me from living frugally? Hell no!

CVS has a pretty sweet huggies deal going on right now. There's a nicely written post about it on Rebecca's Bargains. I'd link it, but I'm texting this post. So I ran out this morning and stocked up on diapers, razors and make up. It nearly killed me, but I got 4 packs of diapers for free. I love CVS.

So back to being sick. I want soup SO BAD right now, it was all I could think about today. I should have gotten some at CVS, but I can barely speak, nevermind think clearly and plan ahead. So I thought I might order chinese, and get some soup. I looked at the menu- minimum order was 12 bucks, plus tip. Not frugal. So I looked in the pantry and saw tortellini and chicken broth- essentially wonton soup! I threw some carrots and peas in, and I'm watching it cook right now. Now THAT'S frugal living.

12 February 2008

hottie from hottingham

This post has nothing to do with that title but it just makes me laugh so much... I might be the only person who looks forward to payday so they can pay bills. I actually really like to pay bills, balance my checkbook, read financial mags (Money, Kiplingers), reditribute the money in my retirement accts as need be- you get the point. Its unfortunate that I realized all this well after I ended up with some cc debt and a husband with a penchant for maxing out my credit cards. Luckily I'm only 29, so I'm hoping that by doing this YOFL, I'll be resetting the clock on this whole financial responsibility thing. And maybe be a hottie from hottingham, lol.

09 February 2008


I went to Banana Republic and spent 165 dollars on an outfit. I'm not entirely sure why, except I was excited about a big meeting I was going to the next day. Regardless, after I got home I realized the pants were too long so I can return them, which I was grateful for. I'm keeping the top, though- its beautiful and worth the 58 bucks.

Its hard to have a new job and not really be able to enjoy the.income. I really need a whole new wardrobe, to be honest. The pants I ended up wearing were from college- almost 10 years old. But after 10 years, what's another year or two, I guess.

Within the next month, I'll have paid off 3 store credit cards. None of them amounted to much, but three less monthly payments is awesome. In addition, I did a balance transfer to get rid of my smallest, but highest interest rate, card, and will begin agressively paying the card I transferred it to this month. And finally, I came up with a savings plan, and will begin that this month as well. So, there is a lot going on. By March, I think I'll be seeing a difference.

06 February 2008

Ebb and Flow

I'm a single mom. I have two children under the age of 4, and every morning I get up WELL before the crack of dawn to shower and get dressed before the kids wake up and need breakfast, diaper changes, clothes, etc. It's tough. But lately, it's been getting a bit easier. I'm not as late to work as I usually am, and I've actually been making my own lunches and maybe even eating some breakfast before running out the door. The kids have been happier, I have been happier, and we're doing it.

The same can be said for the YOFL. I have money in the bank, now, and food in the pantry. Tomorrow is my day to fill up the car and I only need about a half a tank. Somehow it's getting easier, and it's amazing. It's only February 6th now, and I'm seeing a difference.

02 February 2008

getting it started

I screwed up. I don't have the money to pay off that bill after all. I have 3/4 of it, but that sucks. I'm so disappointed! I just keep reminding myself that I still came up with an extra 500 dollars this month, and that's something to be proud of, regardless.

Another thing to be proud of is my CVS trip for today. I got 3 jumbo packs of pull-ups, 3 jars of ragu, 2 jars skippy, I lipton green tea. I used a 5 off 30, a 4 off 20, 8 dollars in manu q's and 18 ecbs so my total was 1.64, and I paid with a gc, so free. I also earned 8 ecbs, so not too shabby!

So, yeah. Not as great as I had hoped, but good. Good enough for Feb 2, too. Like CVS, you have to put in a little at the beginning to get it started.

01 February 2008

hurry up and wait

I'm waiting to pay off a credit card. I have the money, but I have to make sure a check clears first. It really feels wonderful, though- this is exactly the feeling I was hoping for on wednesday when I was feeling sorry that we had no fresh food to eat.

I'm having a superbowl party on sunday, to celebrate my new job. I paid for the groceries by coinstarring my change jar to the tune of 60 bucks. This is kind of the essence of the YOFL- mindless saving that results in fun stuff without blowing the budget or using credit cards. I'm wondering if its going to keep getting easier, since its been so successful. I really cant/shouldnt complain, even if I DO have to wait that check out a few days.