Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, Shoppers!

It's a New Year...time for new resolutions and all that. I don't really make resolutions, but I do enjoy a good challenge, and I think I've found one. Thanks, Paige of Cheap & Sweet for posting about this!

Sara at Learning the Frugal Life is doing a 31 Days of Nothing (no spending) challenge.

These are Sara's rules, but she says we can change them to suit our needs:

1. The ultimate goal is to spend NO money except for necessities. For my family I consider necessities to be gas for work and appointments, monthly prescription medications, groceries (although very minimal, more on this later) and our basic bills and utilities. Necessities may mean something different for your family.

2. There will be no consumerism. My hope is to stay out of the stores completely. No new clothes, books, or any other impulse buys. No shopping the deals!

3. Groceries. I am allowing $25 per week for grocery shopping or $100 per month. I really just want to stick with eating from the pantry and freezers as much as possible. We will need milk for the baby, as well as fresh produce so I am setting money aside for those things. We should be good on most other items because our freezers and pantry are very full. I usually budget $500 for the month.

4. Zero money spent on entertainment. No eating out, we will cook from scratch and eat at home each day. No money spent on movies or impromptu ice cream cones. We usually budget $150 each month for entertainment.

5. Allowance. Everyone is giving up their allowance for the month. There will be no money in our pockets tempting us to spend it.

6. My gas budget is up in the air right now. I need to actually keep track of what we are spending so I can get a more accurate number. For this month though, I want to just try and stay home as much as possible. Combine our errands so that we aren't making multiple trips each week.

7. Get back composting, recycling, and shutting off. Our compost bin has been missing so scraps have been being tossed in the trash which makes me crazy. We are great at recycling but the bins need to be cleaned up. My family has gotten extremely lazy about shutting off lights and unplugging items when not in use. This is going to be enforced more.

8. Cutting back on water usage. Our water bill has done nothing but climb. We use alot of water. Mainly because of long showers and children playing in the sinks. Showers will be timed and sink time monitored to make sure we aren't being wasteful.


This shouldn't be too hard starting out, since last month was a spendfest, there's not much really left to buy.
Thanks to my husband's hunting, the freezer is pretty well stocked at the moment, as is my Stockpile.
It's cold out, so I go out as little as possible, which saves us on gas.

We hardly ever spend money on entertainment anyway - other than our satellite tv and internet bills - so that shouldn't be a problem.
We did eat out quite a few times last month, but man, December is a whole nother thing. We're not usually eater-outers, so it won't be hard to go back to not eating out again, with the exception of J eating out at work.

They cook at the fire station, but when he works at the Urgent Care or on the Ambulance, cooking or carrying leftovers isn't as easy.
He's carried leftovers to the UC before, so maybe we can plan better for him to keep doing that, but as far as when he's on the ambulance it's not going to work at all. Sometimes they don't even get back to the Office for the whole shift. They have to grab a bite where and when they can and eat on the go.
So I guess that's going to have to be a necessity.

I just thought of another necessity - building supplies for our home renovations. I need to decide on what projects we'll be working on and budget out an amount for that.
I know there's at least a couple of projects we could work on that wouldn't cost anything, and a good many unfinished projects that we could finish with a little more supplies.

I would like to sell some stuff from around here to offset a little of what we do have to spend, but the problem is, nobody else seems to want it either.


Link up at Learning the Frugal Life and check back on Fridays to see how everyone is doing and share how you are doing, too.


~Sara said...

So glad you are joining in on the challenge! I agree with you, the beginning of the month won't be too hard since we are all content from the holidays. I always find it harder towards the middle and end of the month when I get tired of cooking and staying indoors. That is when I need extra motivation! Looking forward to reading your progress.

Melissa said...

Thanks, Sara!