Thursday, March 20, 2008


Well, I've been busy getting my new jewelry website up over at Etsy (see sidebar), so I'm a little behind in posting. Here's what's been going on:

21 Day Spending Freeze
Today is my eleventh day of this challenge (more than half way - yeay!). It has been going pretty well. Yesterday was the hardest day yet. I went to Target to get stuff for the girls Easter baskets and I was tempted by a lot of other stuff! I really wanted to get myself something new to wear on Easter. I even tried on a couple of things. I liked them and would have made a purchase if I wasn't participating in this challenge. I knew that I "wanted" them, I did not "need" them. Small victory! As I was out and about doing all my errands, I really wanted to stop at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee. It was cold and rainy out and my urge was strong. I managed to wait until I was done all my errands, and I went home and made myself a cup of coffee at home. This delaying gratification isn't easy!

One thing I have learned is it is a lot easier to avoid buying stuff if you stay home!

I did give in to my daughters though. My oldest wanted to go for a walk with several kids from the neighborhood to a nearby corner store. I gave in and gave her $3 to buy a candy for her and her two sisters. (I'm finding it easier to delay my own gratification than to make my children delay theirs!) I did resist their begging to stop at McDonalds for dinner on Monday night. It was very tempting, but I said no. I even explained about the 21 day spending freeze challenge and explained how it could be good for our family, the environment, and the world, if everyone lowered their rate of consumption. They seemed to "get it". And one of my daughter's even wrote a great story about how not buying stuff could help the earth. :)

Tracking Food Spending:
This has been going pretty well, BUT I need to go to the grocery store today to get food for Easter dinner. And truthfully, in spite of the large (and expensive) last trip to the grocery store (that I thought would last us pretty much through the rest of the month), we do really need more food for lunches and dinners. I'm hoping not to spend too much though. We will surely go over our $500 food budget this month, but a lot of it has been "entertainment food" and I think that would be better budgeted under our "spending money" category. I'll tally it all up and analyze at the end of the month.

Snowflakes: I sold another item on ebay and earned another $7.50 for the debt snowball. I'll have to total up all the snowflakes at the end of the month. I think I did pretty well.

One big "oops" in this category though - we received a check for $460 from our Flexible Spending Account (pre-tax medical). This should be a great big snowflake, but we need to put it into our regular budget as we are falling short this month. Part of the reason is my husband's commission was $250 less than we expected. The rest is for misc. unbudgeted expenses that I'll have to analyze more.

Museum of Science Trip:
We had a lot of fun when we brought the kids to the Museum of Science on Saturday. But we did spend a lot more than we expected. We had one free pass and 4 passes for $5 reduced fee, BUT, it turns out, to use the "free" pass, we needed to pay one full price ticket. So, the basic entrance for my family of 5 cost us $32 (instead of the $20 I was expecting). We had planned to do two "extra" attractions, but because of the high costs we decided to do only one (3d shark movie) - this cost another $17. We checked our coats, which cost another $5. We got ice cream and drinks, which cost us $16.

The trip on the commuter train cost $21 round trip (this was more than I had expected since kids under 11, all of mine, ride free). Then we had to take the subway which cost $8 round trip (also more than I had anticipated since the kids ride free).

Then we stopped for dinner in town (which we had planned) and that cost $60.

So, if I'm adding correctly, this day cost us $158. (I guess that's not sooo bad for a family of 5, but I thought it would be less.)

Anyway, that's where things stand right now.

I am participating in the "Forget The Jonses Project" over at the Mommysavers forum. (You can read about how I have been doing here.) I am also part of the Snowflake Revolution (check it out).