Thursday, February 7, 2013

'Cause We Are Living In A Material World, And I Am A Material Girl.

I didn't leave my house last month, except to go to the grocery store or church, with very few exceptions.
All work and no play makes Mandi a dull boy.  Or girl.
I'm glad January's over.  Let's not be that dull again. - I'll do a lot of things for money, but I draw the line at working
Allow me to sum up my "SPENDING CLEANSE", January edition.  Yes.  We're talking money today.  Do ya mind?
-I did not buy any clothes for me.  I did not step foot in a Target or Walmart, I did not purchase unessential items from Lowe's/Home Depot, I made no entertainment (movies, books, music, etc.) purchases of any kind, and I did not pay to eat out (with one small pre-pre-planned exception).
And I did not mop my floor for the entire month, all in the name of saving!!!  There's nothing I won't do to stay true to my goal!!!
(Just nod your head.  "Yeah. . . seems legit.")
In a nutshell, I met my January goals.  Told ya it was dull.  Sheesh.

I gave myself a little star like I was in pwee-school again.  A star for every day I didn't spend money. 
That's not a whole lot of stars, is it?  I tried.  But this is good for me, I swear!  It makes me appreciate stuff.  I feel in control, again.
Whilst running in the frozen hades is that is my town the other day, I thought to myself,
"Self, what am I trying to accomplish here?  What is the point of this?  Am I just trying to punish myself?  What's the goal?"
Well, I'll tell you what's the goal.  I've thunk it through. - I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching my car into reverse and driving away from the accident.
Let me tell you something first.  When we paid off the "other house" years ago, I felt a strange combo of happiness/disappointment.  I enjoy a goal, and that was a big goal.  When that goal was over, I felt a sort of emptiness.  Apparently, I thrive off of having a bigger goal in sight.  I just do
So I came up with my plan, wrote it down in my journal, and in my excitement, I just had to share it with the hubs.

I says,
"I want to see our savings grow, and never just dwindle.  Ever again.  I want to save a big amount of money this year.  Not including what's in savings now, I want to attempt to save 50% of our salary.  I am serious.  I want everything I buy to be intentional.  I don't want to nickel and dime us to death anymore.  This means things that need to be returned get returned.  This means throw away crap that clutters our house doesn't get bought in the first place.  Rebates get sent in.  That sort of crap.  Main word, here: 'intentional.'"
Honestly, I expected this kind of reaction from the hubs:
"I have never thought you were more hot then right now.  We should make out."
But instead, to my surpreese,
he had the facial expression combo of "Oh great", "Oh boy", and "Here we go. . . ".  It's the same one he gets when I announce I'm undertaking a massive project.  And then if I had to sum up what he said in a nice little package?
"So you're saying this year is going to totally suck and be boring and I can't buy anything I want all year?  Great."
I knew what he was thinking.  He's thinking that he's already got a new motherboard and CPU picked out for his computer and now he can't have it.  Because that's all he ever wants and all he ever buys. 
So I reassured him that he can have his computer crap, and that's not what I'm saying, and this is about my spending, and no, I will not be overly, freak-out disappointed if we don't save up to my goal.  Promise.  Pinky swear.  Cross my heart.
On another note,
I find it mildly amusing that my homeboys are picking up on their lack of hamburgers and fries.  They're like, "We NEVER go to Taco Bell! I haven't been there in like, years!  Yeah, or Subway!  Or Arbys!"
That's right, kids.  I'm the meanest mom, ever.  They made me sign a contract before I could take you home from the hospital.
Source: via Mandi on Pinterest

Not only do I have specific year-long goals, but I've got a few ones for February, too.  So, you know, if you, like, wanted to join me on this spending cleanse 'n stuff. . . this is what I'm working on and we could like collaborate. . .
(complete silence.)
Or it could be just me.  No prob.  I'm a bit of a loner, anyway.

OH!  Speaking of February, this month marks the first official time we don't have a mortgage to pay.  And let me just tell you, I am totally blown away by how absolutely difficult, impossible, and a bunch of total buttheads our mortgage bank has been, since requesting a pay-off.  But the issues I've had with them in the last month could be a post all on it's own, and I don't feel like getting all fired up right now.  Moving on.
-No clothing purchases for moi
-I am officially, and very carefully, lifting the Lowe's ban
-Any eating out will be done rarely and with "extra" money (i.e., gift cards we have around.  Serious.)
-Attempts will be made to get one monthly bill cost down
Just so you know, I have put a lotta work into getting a monthly bill down.  And it's hard.  Called on my internet/tv bill twice.  I was totally willing to give up our already BASIC cable tv, and since it's bundled, it wouldn't have brought down my bill more than like 2 bucks.
No college football next year so I can save $2?  No can do.
This is where you all get a good laugh at my expense:  there was nothing I could do to bring down my cell phone bill (I do not have a home phone.  Just my cell FYI), except for one thing:

-Not get new ringback tones and stop paying the measly fee to have them.
I know.  Pathetic.  It saves me a ridiculous $20 for the entire year, but I did it anyway.  Now you can't hear Blue October or Safetysuit while you wait for me to pick up (which I rarely do pick up so you got to hear a lot of music).
So?  That's where I'm at.  I stumbled upon the blog "And Then We Saved", and I'm really digging it right now.   I'm staying strong.  Got the eye of the tiger, and so forth.


Katy Li said...

lol! don't hate on ppl with 3rd nips ok? some of us were made to have litters.
I just found your blog and guess what ? you're my new best friend! I was just thinking about buying sheets of plywood and ripping them down into flooring, but then the price of the nice birch plywood is 40 bucks/sheet. When you painted over all those knots, do they bleed through the paint and look like sh**?
Inquiring minds need to know. stat.

Katy said...

oh SIGH, i meant to leave the above comment with my blogger account, not that stupid other one I use for work purposes. heh

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement/inspiration today. I have had a lot of great aspirations lately, but zero motivation. I'm definitely finding it helps to have a plan. :) One thing my husband and I did last year to try to save money was to switch our cell phone plans to Straight Talk from Walmart. We were both on Verizon and still had a little ways to go with both or 2 yr. contracts. We did the math and we were going to save money by paying early termination fees and buying new smart phones rather than staying with Verizon. I pay $45/month every month (hubby pays $40) and have unlimited talking, texting, and data. Our service is good and I haven't had any problems for over a year and have saved a TON of money vs. Verizon. Hopefully that is helpful information and not just droning on and on like an infomercial. Keep up the good work!

Samantha said...

Here in the UK people are always advised to call their providers for telly/internet/phone and threaten to leave and ask what they can do for you. We've done it a few times and had our bills halved for 6 months or given one part of it for free so that they'll keep you. The trick is to go through to retentions and say you want to leave. Normal customer services don't have that kind of power to give discounts. Is this the same in the US? Would it work for you?

Don't actually leave'll have to go back otherwise lol!

Bethany @ A Fish Who Likes Flowers said...

First of all, I just have to say thank you for always writing posts that make me giggle and snort. Today I'm having a low day and reading your post has been a highlight.

Secondly, good for you for accomplishing your goal for January. Your goal for the whole year seems huge, but I'm sure you'll accomplish it.

Thirdly, seeing your idea about wanting to get others on board with your reduced spending made me think of something I saw on Instagram. A Drop n Swap - it's kind of like a garage sale, but people bring things and pick out things for free and whatever is left over gets donated to charity. There's an idea you can get on board with.

Wow, didn't mean for such a big comment, but I know you'll forgive me.

alesa said...

Thanks for the inspiration on getting my spending in check. I am realizing that I spend a lot more than I think. I am stealing your goal for February and going to try and purchase only groceries and the necessities. Can't wait to hear how you do on you goals.

Kimbo West said...

Sorry if you are a loner.... Cause I'm with you. I was at the new downeast store with four shirts in hand trying to decide which ones I wanted the mostest.... And then the thought, what would tremayne Do popped in my head... And I put them all back and left the store. My husband hates the new cheap me bytheway. I'm apparently no fun... Which brings me to the question that maybe money really does buy happiness.?

Joanna said...

We're on the same wavelength. Yesterday I said to the husband, "Husband, we need to stop spending so much money. On nothing. Not only that, we need a goal. A big one." We could definitely be spending a whole lots less. Maybe we'll pay off our mortgage early too. That would be a good goal to work toward.

Lorilyn Crum said...

Oh I'm in! I'm in! I've been thinking about it a lot and definitely don't want to work full time when I'm done with school, which means we will have less money but I'll actually get to raise my kids, which is much more important than having money to me. Since you're the only person who reads my blog, you can check out my February goals when I set them :)

Shirley Moore said...

Oh, you do know how to make me laugh! Even at the expense of coughing up a lung. (Yep, got the allergy crud)
We should be able to pay off some major items when we get taxes back, then we are determined to put all the monthly money on the next item, and so forth. I'm so very tired of living under the cloud of "Let me see if I can squeeze another monthly payment in there". Thanks girl!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

It sounds like you did pretty good, Mandi. I think of it like a diet. If you don't allow yourself something {like ice cream on Sunday or half a King size Hershey Bar on a Wednesday}, you will most likely fail because you are going to feel deprived. I have put myself on a spending freeze, too. I haven't been in Hobby Lobby in 3 months and the fabric I buy for when I make stuff for my Etsy, I go to Joann's and have a coupon AND just go to the fabric section then check out.

However, I have allowed myself to go into Goodwill when I'm dropping things off. I do buy stuff to make over for my Etsy, but I usually buy a little something Home Decor related for myself. Same with the local antique mart. I went in the other day and gave myself a cap of $17.00; I spent $11.00. I will end this novel by also saying I'm using cash a lot more, too. I find you think about what you are buying more when you have cash leaving your hands rather than handing the plastic over.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

The stick up your butt….oh that was a good one!
I LOVE that you are doing this spending cleanse and am in awe of your 50% goal. Can't say this is the time for me to join you what with us going to the land of $5 waters for 10 days, but after that - I'll surely be in wallet lockdown right there with ya. Good luck and let us know how you progress. It's so good to read about someone saving and living below their means in this crazy society we live in! (Myself included in the crazy part of course.)

COTTAG3 said...

Congratulations achieving January goals! If you really need a huge goal to achieve, feel free to pay my mortgage off. We didn't grow up, act like adults and even have a mortgage until later in life so we have a ways to go. We don't waste a lot of money but we'd be millionaires if Target was never invented.
Stay strong on your yearly goal! I'm rootin' for you.
Oh, and can you send some of that snow and cold weather you hate down here? I'm sweatin'. It's been in the 70's the last few days. Hey, I know what, let's trade houses!

Lori said...

and if anyone popped over to that other website, you see where Mandi got some of her art work for this post. Great job. What is your trick for presents, wedding, baby showers, birthdays???

Zefi said...

Mandi, once again its like you're in my head. We had that same conversation yesterday morning on the way to work... Its a never ending struggle I never seem to find ways of winning.

Stephanie said...

I totally nodded my head when you said to. Ha! I think your goals are great. I think they're even greater because you follow through! That rocks. And the stars rock. And my kids totally do the whole "We never, ever..(insert whatever sad deprivation I'm causing them)..!!!!" after not having done something for a whole week. Drives me looney.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Got my eye on a tiger myself. I want to pay off one bill that has been just hanging on. By the end of the year!! Yes!!
Good luck and I am with ya

Jackie said...

I set personal financial goals for the last few years. One being paying off my student loans early. Took 6 years and 8 months to do so. It helped that I got a way better paying job. Last year I did the whole "save for emergencies" thing. So this year my goal was to round up the emergency savings and hopefully build a craft studio for all my crap. Some of my money this year will apparently go to the Physicians and Dentistry fields. And then I finally got a contractor to tell me how much my project would be and I was disappointed, it's a lot more than I thought, or have saved up. Back to the budgeting drawing board.
It's good to have goals, you feel so accomplished when you achieve it, no matter how small it is.

Hippymom83 said...

I'm suffering the same battle at my house, and I totally feel ya'!! Only my hubby is EXTREMELY resistant to not be able to buy every "collectable" [oh, please -rolling my eyes] toy [ie: Transformer or He-Man figure] that he sees. You'd think I was asking him to give up BREATHING or something! Jeesh! And for the record....I couldn't save on our TV/Internet bill either. Comcast has no respect for their LONG-TIME customers! Won't cut me a deal at all! So I totally feel your pain. :( Does anyone out there have a satellite TV plan with internet? And if so, how well does the internet work? Is it fast and reliable? I'm thinking of switching, but don't want to find out the hard way if it sucks. Any feedback is welcome. :) :)

Unknown said...

Just HAD to comment on the cable thing. Don't call to get the best savings. Instead look up the sign up deals for competitors in your area and then WALK IN to the cable office that you are currently with. Let the people know at the desk that you are wondering how you can lower your monthly amount they will give you a number and at that point let them know what the competitors are offering. Saved us like $50 a month for 6 months sadly it is time to do it again, seems they can only offer deals in 6 month increments

Emily said...

It is awesome that you are trying to save money. I am not good at it. I do good for a week then I go CRAZY! Good for you! Keep it up!