Monday, September 8, 2014

This Momma Makes...the Money

Today is day 1 of our family's new journey...but day 7 of our "Living Well Spending Zero" challenge over at the LWSL blog...http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/31-days/livingwellspendingzero/.

First--on our family's new journey. Today is the beginning of The Mister's career change journey. He will start the accelerated IT program at the career college on October 13 but for the next few weeks will getting ready to be a full time student and looking for part time work. That also means that today is the first day I am the official sole breadwinner of our family and thus the inspiration for the 31 Days of Spending Zero challenge. Hopefully the sole breadwinner thing won't go on for too long, but we are assuming it will for a while.

Now--it's day 7 and Ruth over at LWSL (link above) has given her readers some points of reflection for the end of the first week. I should say that I am a couponer and we are preppers-lite so we have a pretty substantial stockpile of most things. This first 30 days will, in reality, not get too hairy as far as pantry food or household goods. I should also say that we aren't doing most of the daily activities because my online QA classes started last week and I just don't have the time.

Q: What was the scariest part of starting this challenge?
A: Nothing really, like I said we have a pretty good stockpile so we are excited. We need to rotate our stock so this is a great way to force ourselves to do it.

Q:What is the one thing you are most excited to get out of this challenge?
A: A change in our spending habits. We have been the easy come easy go spenders for too long. We find ourselves in a position now where we want to minimize and downsize. It is no secret that my dream is to be a stay at home mom. Part of that is The Mister's education and career change, and part of that is learning to live with less. (Why am I still pursuing my Master's? That's for another discussion!)

Q:What has been the biggest struggle for you this week? Where have you been tempted to (or where did you) cheat? What are you most worried about looking forward?
A: There were a few rules we are playing differently. Bobo is only 2 1/2 so we decided that we would continue to buy his essential foods--yogurts, milk, granola bars, fresh fruit. The things we know he will eat, because he isn't always open to reasoning that, for example, we only have oatmeal for breakfast because we are on a spending freeze when he wants a "lanola bar" (though for a 2 year old he is surprisingly reasonable). We are also allowing eachother to spend any loose change we may have in our consoles, purse, wallet, etc. but once it hits a piggy bank or jar it is off limits. So we pooled our quarters and bought 2 hotdogs at Costco on Saturday. Cheating? Maybe. Technically it was pocket change though. The Mister bought a premade pizza crust at the store so we could use the pizza ingredints we already had for a quick dinner, instead of waiting till we could make one from scratch. Cheating? Maybe. But our grocery bill was less than $15 last week so I still count it as a win.  Looking forward I'm worried about the temptation the next three Saturdays will bring. We have a very social month coming up.

Q: What has been the most surprising thing about not spending this week? Did you have any "aha" moments? Any funny moments?
A: I think the biggest thing has been sticking to my list. I actually went into Target today on my lunch break and ONLY bought diapers and wipes, in the size packages I intended to. (Bobo goes to daycare, so making wipes is not practical--otherwise yes I'm sure we could have made them.) The "aha" moment I guess is that I can go into a store and not buy anything we don't need. It sounds funny, I know. I am a compulsive clearance rack shopper, so just the simple act of not buying anything marked 70% off on a trip to Target is huge. I'm always adding to my gift closet or stockpile. I can't say there were any knee slappers this week. Ask me again after I run out of conditioner and try to make my own though... :)

-A