Tuesday, October 2, 2012

No spend October: Intro and Update

Apparently I'm not the only one doing a no-spend October. Mallory, over at From California to Kansas is also doing it. Her rules are more straight forward: no "shopping for fun". My purposes are a little different, so I thought I would explain. 

Why Am I Not Spending Money In October?

Partially because I have become a hoarder of on-sale organic cereal, frozen veggie entrees, and soup (and not just cans, but the big, half gallon cartons that would take me a week to finish by myself. I have something like 7 of them). Partially because I am pretty well stocked in my new apartment and don't want to start buying things I don't need. Partially because I am already 95% done Christmas shopping (though, somehow I forgot my sister's birthday which is October 29th, so I'm gonna have to figure something out there). Partially because I have enough clothes that I can make it two weeks with out washing anything, but this also means that laundry day 1) sucks and 2) costs more than a role of quarters...and that's just not a workable thing. And, partially because I really want to buy a nice DSLR, which I don't need and wouldn't know how to use well enough if I did have one to justify the expense.

But, mostly, it's because I did really well when I was pregnant living on a $750 a month salary. Since then, however, I have let my lifestyle inflate and am not doing a good job with my finances. I have maxed out my credit card again (it has a $500 limit for a reason), though I am doing well at paying off the bill. I have taken on all the expenses of an apartment, and while I CAN afford it, I can't afford to screw around with my money like I tend to do. Yes, $46 for 6 pairs of dress pants at the thrift store is a good deal, but I don't NEED 6 pairs of dress pants and I sure as heck don't need 6 more pairs to have to deal with washing and ironing. 

So, here are the rules. 

1) No money on fast food. We don't eat a lot anyway, but a cheese quesadilla here and a Diet Coke almost every day there really adds up. 

2) No money on non-perishable groceries until I have used up the amount that I have hoarded thus far. I am only going to buy milk, cheese, a very SMALL amount of veggies (so I will use the cans I have) and bread.

3) No money on "stuff"...no throw blankets to match the pillows I just bought, no vacuum (mine is broken, but my neighbor lets me use hers so I shouldn't by one right now), no organizing baskets or sippie cups or anything else. 

Basically, I'm want to try the "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without". I don't see myself every truly becoming a non-consumerist like The Tightwad Queen herself, but the idea is romantic and I want to move towards that even if I don't care to ever be that crazy, I mean disciplined.

So, today is October 2nd. I did start yesterday, but I didn't write about it because I had a VERY long work day. How have I done so far?

I did a bad job yesterday and today and bought an egg and cheese biscuit from McDonalds for breakfast. The reason for this was that I don't have to be at work until 10 a.m. this year, but the baby needs to be at daycare by 8:30. So, it makes sense to sleep late, dress quickly, run out the door, and eat after I have dropped him off. However, I am getting to work late enough that I don't have myself mentally prepared to teach straight through for 5 hours (sometimes 7 if I have practice after school), so all around this is a bad idea. And I'm eating too much McDonalds. I'm thinking some breakfast burrito supplies might be necessary to curb this habit.

I also didn't get to go grocery shopping over the weekend (because I lost my wallet, which I still haven't found)  like I wanted to in order to get things that I needed to be prepared to start using the things I have. I don't have any yogurt, almost no cheese, nothing to put on the two pizza doughs I have in my fridge, etc. So, that is also on my list of things to do today. 

But, I went in Big Lots this morning to buy juice (Seriously, they have organic good stuff mixed in with all the crap, for super cheap prices) and only walked out with juice and a bag of veggie chips. I have a list for my shopping today and plan to stick t it. I also only have so much cash since my debit card is MIA, so that helps too. I really need to go back to a cash budget system. Maybe that will be my November goal.

So, I think I'm making progress, but I've still got a ways to go. And that's okay.