Pennies Saved

What is it with being tempted to go out to eat at lunch?  I don’t get those same temptations at dinnertime.  My friend, Melanie, who lives in the Opera House lofts downtown, invited me to grab some Angelo’s (deeeee-licious) and come up at lunchtime to chat with her.  I almost caved and got a veggie pizza to go for the two of us. Instead I made homemade chicken salad last night with the leftover grilled chicken breast and added grapes and walnuts.   Saved $15.  (I also saved around $2.50 on little plastic baggies for sandwiches by simply taking the bread bag and keeping the chicken salad in the Tupperware container, which is better anyway because a ready-made sandwich can get soggy when you make it the night before…)

I did, however, buy something that wasn’t a necessity.  But I didn’t delude myself into thinking it was a necessity, either.  I purchased a magazine subscription to Mother Earth News, “the original guide to living wisely” (a tagline which doesn’t do itself justice – very cool, “do-it-yourself” guides to gardening, making furniture, raising chickens, homesteading, reducing carbon footprints, etc. etc.

BUT – before you think that I’ve ruined the challenge – the subscription was a mere $10 for a 6 issues.  These magazine are normally between $7 and $9 per issue off the rack.  By buying the subscription, I actually saved between $32-$44 on a magazine I usually buy anyway.  (If this doesn’t convince you that I didn’t cheat, maybe I can get myself out on a technicality – I bought online so I didn’t “swipe my card.” I’ll have to go back and re-read my resolution.  Was it that I wouldn’t spend money or I wouldn’t use my debit card? Hmmm….)

Cast your vote for whether I cheated in the comments section below.  You probably won’t hear from me again til Monday, though, since we STILL don’t have home internet.  (Which is saving us between $20-$40 this month, by the way….)

Piggyback Rides

Thanks to a few timely dinner and lunch invitations, I still haven’t swiped the debit card for any purchases other than gas two days ago.  I’ve paid a few bills of course, but the bank account has finally reached an even keel. 

Gross-looking Goulash...

Adam and I were due to have dinner with Matt and Sheri long before my resolution, so it was just great timing that last night was the night we finally got together!  “Pantry Goulash” dinner night was delayed for one more night, and I’m sure Adam is thankful for that.  Though I usually make it a point to bring something to a dinner party, I didn’t run out to the grocery store to make sure I brought something because Sheri insisted that she didn’t need anything (+10).

Then my in-laws invited us out for lunch at my most favorite restaurant, Spicy Thai.  I am such a regular in there and always get the same dish, so Shirley always calls me by name and just goes ahead and puts in my order when she sees me. Pad Thai chicken, three pepper spicy with vegetable soup.  YUM.  Parents picking up the check: +$20 (counting Adam’s and my lunch plus tip)

I also resisted the urge to have my new car washed today (+$5).  Instead of buying the next book on the list for the book club, I swung by the library to pick up a copy (+$20).

So, today I fed the pig: $55! 

Added to yesterday’s total, that means I have $60 more in my bank account than I would had I not challenged myself to not spend anything for 10 days.

Stay tuned!  The weekend may prove to be a tough challenge…

Today I Fed the Pig…

somewhere around $5 by bringing lunch from home.  It was tough too, because Adam tried to sway me by suggesting a weakness we both share: El Durango.  But I resisted.

By the way, I know these updates would probably make more sense if I posted late at night, after I’m in for the evening, but we do not have internet yet at the new house. (AT&T offers internet to the people who live across the street from us and behind us but aren’t sure our lines are updated to handle DSL …)

Anyhoo, I had to get gas yesterday (yes, I see the irony of expecting to last 10 whole days on a quater of a tank and I didn’t even get through one) but my father needed me to drive him around yesterday because his truck was in the shop. 

Summary of the first 24 hours of the challenge:
-$25 for gas
+$5 for bringing lunch  

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update!

This Little Piggy Stopped Spending

Feed the Piggy

I have decided to not buy anything for the next 10 days.  10 days may sound measly, but think about how often you swipe your debit card in a 10-day span.  I can tell you, just over this past weekend, within two days, Adam and I swiped our card 10 times.  We were working on and organizing the house, so there were two or three Lowe’s trips, a craving for McDonald’s, and a few trips to the gas station and a trip to the grocery store.

So going a full 10 days without swiping the card a single time may be a challenge, but that’s why I’m posting it publicly.  To hold myself to it.  No matter how much like a necessity something seems, I’m going to hold out.  Out of paper towels?  We’ll just have to use the leftover napkins from our wedding or rags.  If we run out of potatoes, I suppose we’ll eat rice.  When I reach for my favorite tube of mascara and find it almost empty, I’ll just have to forego “putting my face on.” 

I’m tired of thinking about things as fundamentals when all they really do is make life a tad bit easier or more pleasant.  What this leads to is low funds in the bank account and a cluttered house full of crap we hardly need. 

Take our trip to Wal-Mart the other day.  Adam and I were buying “essentials” for the house; things such as curtains, hardware, a new doorknob because the old one stuck badly, etc., etc.  And we talk a walk down the kitchen gadget isle.  And for some reason I pick up a mandolin slicer and think I “need” it.  About how much easier making dinner would be with this item. 

I get it home and break it out to make thin slices of veggies for the home-made pizza.  And yes, it works… not amazingly or anything, but it slices.  And then I realize it’s more trouble to clean than it really helps with the slicing.  I clean it well and put it aside to take back to Wal-Mart.  But by this time I’ve lost my receipt so I’ll just have to swap it for more crap. 

So, no more impulse buys.  No more talking myself into “needing” something.  We’re going to eat every bit of food in the fridge and pantry before I go buy more groceries (maybe I’ll come up with some interesting recipes along the way to share!), I’m going to use every last bit of make-up in my overflowing basket before I go buy more, and we’re going to have to make the best of broken hinges, scratches on our brand new cars, or our tv sitting on a coffee table instead of a “media center.” 

Let’s see if I can make it.  It shouldn’t be hard, right?  “Love is all you need…” and maybe a little gas for the car, too.  Let’s be realistic.  So one purchase of possibly only $10 in gas, just to get me through.  I already have about a quater-tank, so if I cut back on my driving, maybe I’ll make it the 10 days.

PS – I’ve googled “No spend challenge.  Lots of items came up.  If this 10-day experiment goes well, I may possibly adopt the 30-day challenge like the one described here, at Heart & Mind blog.