Saturday, January 19, 2013

That Pretty Much Sums It Up.

Thousands of people asked me about my resolution to stop spending money and what it entailed.

And when I say "thousands", I really mean one.  But can we talk about it?  I want to talk about it.  I need to talk about it.

I have dubbed this year's resolution:

"The Great Spending Cleanse of 2013".
Allow me to liken my feelings about not spending money to this e-card about diets.

Yep. That pretty much sums it up.   After, like, 3 days, I was all,

"Man, I am doing good.  I haven't bought any clothes, eaten out, or purchased anything from Amazon in like. . . 72 hours?  72 HOURS?!  You've gotta be kidding me."

I'm still determined, though people!  "I. . . will. . .triomphe!!"  (name that movie).

Let's get down to the bottom of what I'm talking about.  Brass tacks.  Specifics.

I'm kinda taking this month by month, but January's rules were very specific:

-Zero clothing purchases for me
-Zero money spent on eating out
-I will not step foot in a Target or Super Walmart
-I will not step foot in a  Lowe's or Home Depot, with the exception of home repair emergencies
-Zero book, music, or entertainment purchases of any kind (I still have Netflix, no one feel sorry for me).

Basically, in a nutshell, the only money I will be attempting to spend is on utilities and groceries.

How have I done so far (with several days of January left)?

So far, I have kept all these promises.  But I have stepped foot in a Lowe's and a Home Depot.  But it was to return materials from the "other house".   And to pick up chlorine for the flot snub, 'cause I was out.   That was a home emergency.  Sshhhh.  It is.

You know what I've learned in not three weeks?  I really, really, ree-hee-heally like to eat out.  I heart a burger.  With fries. 

You know those Carls Jr./Hardees commercials where the actors are like frenching with their burgers?

Well, I don't do that.  But I really like a burger.

I also really like pizza.  And anything not cooked by me.  And I cannot believe my neighborhood Chinese place is staying in business without my usual weekend order of Hot 'n Sour soup, Mongolian Beef, and Pon Pon Chicken extra spicy.

(Do not look in my cabinet and count how many containers I've kept from Hot 'n Sour soup.)

So why am I doing this to myself?

Because I felt totally, completely, out of control.  I think in my middle age years, that I'm becoming a control freak, and I could not handle this feeling of money slipping through my fingers in every direction.

--This means I'm not even looking at the email for Downeast clothing clearance or the One Sale a Day! Flash Tool Sale!! email.  Gets deleted. 

--This means that I have cooked at home sooooo much that all I do now is scrub pots and pans.  That is only the smallest of exaggerations, I swear.

--This means that I am home a lot.

--This means that I am the energy police.  I believe lights shouldn't be on during daylight hours.  After I scrub my pots and pans, I then walk around the house turning off all the superfluous lighting that is on in the house.  And then, I start the process  of scrub/light shut off all over again.

--This also means that I don't believe I have to continue this hardcore for ever.  I will slowly, carefully, ease up over the months. 

--This resolution is good for me.  I don't now stare in an overflowing closet and go, "I have nothing to wear!!"   Because this is IT, people. (And this resolution I hope to continue for thee.whole.year.  Think I'm crazy?  Ask my husband.)   And in this not-three-weeks, I've worn a lot of stuff I haven't worn in 6 months, and appreciated it, too.

--This little resolution of mine is also really good for the entire family.  I swear, my kids don't appreciate their happy meal like they should.  And no amount of Jeffro's and I's lectures of,
"do you know how many happy meals I got when I was a kid?  NONE!  And if we even went out for fast food, we got a burger and WE SHARED OUR FRIES WITH OUR SIBLINGS!"  helps our kids appreciate the things they do have.

You know what makes me sad?  My kids were too young to remember that their parents sacrificed big time to feel just a little more financially secure.  All they really can remember is the last few years, when their mom would walk through a grocery store saying yes to just about everything they threw in the cart.

"5 pound bag of gummy bears?  Ooookay.  I guess.  Strawberry syrup?  Popsicles??  Bubble gum?  I guess so . . . but that's it, you guys! "

Mom was a pansy, kids.  But now she's strapped on a set, and she's manning up.


Holly said...

I feel like i want to bake you some cookies or something. WHY CAN'T EVERY THING JUST BE FREE?????? It's hard to be a financially responsible adult. Send me your address and I'll send you a box of cookes, or screwdrivers, your choice.

COTTAG3 said...

It's a little hardcore to give up EVERYTHING at once but good for you for recognizing what you need to do and doing it now when money isn't the real issue here. I did the same thing about 10 years ago when money was the issue and I was forced to do it. Our money issue was temporary but my changed ways lasted and I am more frugal than I was before (some call me cheap). Except when I'm in a Target, I can control my spending fairly easily. This all means too that my child is not spoiled rotten (spoiled, yes, but not spoiled rotten).

Layne Bushell said...

I have another cure...but don't recommend trying it. First fall down your stairs and smack your head at the bottom so hard that you've felt your brain and your teeth all shift 5 inches. Then get progressively worse and go to the doctor when he tells you that you can't drive, walk, exercise, or even watch tv for a month. That'll sure cure your spending. I think we went 4 whole days this week with NO purchases. Like I said, I do NOT recommend it. It sucks. But it's been good for the finances..... :)

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Okay now that I have the back story…..I'm with you on the "cleanse" although I'm admiring how far you're willing to go. Are you seriously not going to eat one burger out this entire year???? I think you need a big day on your calendar that you can look forward to every time you're washin' the old pots & pans. I keep saying I don't need stuff, I'm not a shopper anyway, etc. but my "thing" is purchases for the house. Somehow I always justify it but truly how many of my house purchases at Lowes are necessary? So hard but 1000x worse is debt - blech! You are my superhero.

Anonymous said...

We went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and bit by bit, we are buckling down in every avenue of our life. My husband was pleasantly surprised to be able to purchase a brand spankin' new snowblower 2 months before Christmas with...wait for it...good, old fashioned CASH! Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about! And we are going through a super decluttering of our entire house, and it is feeling mighty fine, I must say! You are working SO hard, girl! Keep it up! Your bank account is going to be SO happy! And your husband, probably happier, lol!

Kimbo West said...

I entirely love this post toooooi much. I spend waaaay to much on crap... I remember asking for a little caesers pizz for my birthday one year... Cause eating out was a treat. My kids are spoiled rotten. I'm going to try to be like you... And I'm only saying this because I went to Ross twice last week and spent all my moola so that should hold me over for awhile.

SueAnn Lommler said...

I have strapped them on myself!! But not a successfully as you! Sigh!
Feb. is a new month and a new resolute self will return!!

Lorilyn Crum said...

This is my secret to not buying clothes: "I'll buy it when I lose 5 lbs".

Jeannine said...

I so need to do this too.. at least with the eating out! It's so much easier to just decide not to bother with cooking tonight, but $30 later and all I got was McDonalds, and it gets a bit ridiculous!!
I'm rooting for you 100%!! And boy howdy, I think we must have the same kids. They just don't understand what "sacrifice" means...

Nat and Holly said...

I SO need to do this!!! Will you post your Feb. goal so I can try to do it too??

Ashley said...

Good for you!! Good luck!

Suzanne said...

Ummm...everyone is cutting back and being all mature and responsible and I'm just over here being completely entertained. You are a witty lady. I found you thru your wainscot post via Pinterest ...for which I thank you. Personally my goal for this month was to nap daily...but chasing the remodel has totally thrown a pea in the mattress.

Becky Home-ecky said...

Oh, this was my goal for the year too! And then our 2nd car broke and now I'm stuck at home and sister! I haven't been anywhere or spent anything extra and I'm under budget for the month! I love it!!!! Except I'm slowly going crazy at home all the time!!!

And sometimes I think of last year where I was like, hey I'm going to buy some pants and then I just went and did it.

Gosh, I miss that.

Good luck!

jackie said...

I met my money/budget goal last year so I set another one for this year. It'll be tougher since my son and I both need return visits to the dentist. By return, I mean expensive. Good thing I saved up for it last year.
I followed your comment over on A Girl and a Glue Gun post. Loved reading your stuff that I joined your followers.

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