Sunday, January 4, 2009

Done in by a Donut

Okay - so a donut is not so bad.

DH took DS to pick up his horn from the repair shop (on the approved list) and to spend a Christmas GC at Best Buy (that's fine too - it's his money). He stopped at the grocery store for eggs and fruit (both approved) but the first not approved item of the month slipped through - a .70 donut for DS! So now we are .70 in the red. Oh well it could be worse.

I am tracking my expenses on a spreadsheet and learning about Google documents at the same time! You can follow along by clicking on the first link listed under My Blog List.

It's much easier not to spend if one doesn't leave ones house, and with all the snow and cold we are getting, that part is easy! No spending by me yet this year.

One of the assignments of the FTJ Bootcamp is to create a Net Worth Statement so you know exactly where you stand. I still need to work on this, which I should be able to do pretty easily with Microsoft Money. This shouldn't be too scarey, as we have worked hard to have no debt but our mortgage. Of course looking at our 401(k) balances will be frightning of course. I just don't want to know.

I actually have started using Wesabe as a much more user friendly real time way to keep tabs on my finances. I would recommend it if you are looking for a good online finance tool.

Here's to frugal living!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Forget the Joneses - Days 1 and 2 Approved Spending List

Happy New Year!

It's Day Two of the 20-day spending freeze and so far so good. I went with a friend to the fabric store yesterday and I purposefully left my purse at home so I wouldn't even be tempted to buy anything. I'm not doing much sewing right now but I didn't want to take any chances. We spent a long time there, and it was great fun helping her look for the perfect fabric for some home dec projects she is planning, but it also felt very good to walk out the door with empty hands. I have not often left a fabric store without buying at least one thing. Victory number one!

The first assignment Kim has given us as part of the Forget the Joneses (I'll call it FTJ for short) project is to make a list of those things you are giving yourself permission to spend money on. What you put on your list is up to you, but of course you get out of this what you put (or don't put) in to it.

Here is my initial Approved Spending List. Kim tells it that it is interesting to keep track of what you add to your list as the time goes by. We'll see if my list gets any longer.

Groceries: Milk, eggs, fruit, produce, cat food, butter and the only bread my son likes, if we run out of the loaves I have in the freezer.

What I won't be buying is my usual stockpiling purchases, even if it is a good deal. I also will not need to buy any toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper supplies, etc. I have a freezer full of food, shelves overflowing with stockpiled canned goods, and lots of dried beans, pasta, etc. I bake my own bread and have plenty of flour and yeast. I'm just not going to look at any of the CVS and Walgreen deals for awhile. I'm normally a pretty bit couponer but it won't hurt me to take some time off from doing that - I think I will enjoy the break.

Eating Out: We are allowing for our weekly Domino's Pizza for Family Movie Night, which we do every Friday night. We do the take out special and it is only $10. I also will allow no more than one Taco John's stop for DS per week. We only do this on "Taco Tuesday" and spend only about $5.

Wine: DH is pretty much onboard with this - I think he is mainly humoring me, but he doesn't spend much anyway. I told him he was allowed one "so good he can't pass it up" wine deal for the month. We are pretty serious "winos" and stocking the cellar is one of our primary "entertainment" vice. We don't eat out much at all since DS is such a good cook, as are our friends, and we mainly eat at home or at friend's houses.

Bills: Of course our regular bills will be paid. I do auto-pay for most of our regular expenses. It's one less thing to worry about and it helps me from paying late fees because of a late payment, not because we don't have the money but because I forget to pay the bill.

Gas: We will fill up if necessary, but DS and I only buy one or two tanks of gas a month because we don't drive very much at all. DS works just a few miles from home and I work at home, so we have no commuting expenses to speak of.

Miscellaneous: DS has his French Horn in the repair shop and we will need to pay for that repair. We will be paying for his weekly music lessons. He also will need a pair of black pants and a white shirt for his first band concert later in the month. We will also still attend our monthly American Wine Society wine tasting. Other than this, I can't think of anything we will "have" to purchase. I'm really not too much of a shopper, so this should not be too hard. I guess I should add postage to this list in case I need to mail a book as part of my Paperback Swap. I told DS he could spend his money or gift cards, but that I wasn't going to buy anything for him. Again, this is usually not a big deal, and especially with everything he just got for Christmas he should be in good shape for quite a while.

So that's the list. I may have forgotten something, but hopefully it won't change too much.

Stay tuned.......

Monday, December 29, 2008

Forget the Joneses Bootcamp on Mommysavers Forum

Happy almost 2009!

To ring in the new year I have been thinking about attempting a "no spend" or at least a "low spend" month in January. The idea is that you attemp to cut out all discretional spending for one month in order to get a handle on your spending, save some money, and maybe even cut down on new clutter entering your house while using up what is already there.

While looking for kindred souls in cyperspace I found the "Forget the Joneses Bootcamp" hosted on the Mommysavers forum. Not only do participants go on a 21-day spending freeze but they also complete various assigments created by Kim (Ms. Mommysaver) to help identify spending habits, distinguish between wants and needs, etc.

I'm going to use this blog to track my progess. Feel free to join in or just follow along with my success (or not).

Here's to a frugal 2009!