Friday, February 22, 2008

Piggy's Not Quite Back, But Closer



So I think the challenge is almost up, yes? I think March 1.

Here's the deal. I sort of wandered from the initial intention, which was to not shop. At all. We've been doing great with a budget. Even went to using cash for variable expenses and are using an envelope system. It has made us stick to a budget and has cut spending tremendously.

But there was Valentine's Day. We get the kids a little something and a card to celebrate a day about love. And a little token from Hubs and I to each other. We sent cards to family with a picture of the kids. Such things were probably way off the shopping embargo's path. I just have to mark a special day with a little special-ness. In the dead of winter we all need a little lift. I'm talking $5 toys for the kids and a $.99 card. Just a little token.

Also, gifts. We've had some family members' birthdays come up and no shopping embargo could stop me from sending them a little gift.

What this challenge has taught me is something that I'll continue with for the rest of the year. It has put a stop to impulse purchases and to emotional spending. Throwing stuff in the cart just for fun. I'm keeping "stuff" to a minimum. I'm not using my credit card. I'm planning purchases and budgeting for it. If we have something to buy, it has to come out of our budget. It has put the brakes on retail therapy.

It is a great exercise, I highly recommend. It's not over for me on March 1st, I'll be using my new habits from now on.

12 comments:

Mimi said...

Good for you. I think I'm really going to try the envelopes next month: we have to buy a new house and move in the spring and I really need to know what kind of budget we can realistically work within.

Maybe write down what I spend money on, too? I don't know. It all sifts through my fingers. But I'm inspired by your example. I'm glad it's working for you. Gives me hope it might work for me!

Alpha DogMa said...

Even if you did buy some extras, you did get the point. Cutting down on stuff and forming new habits. I wonder how many people will celebrate March 1 by going on a shopping spree at Walmart?

Are you and OmahaPapa on the same wavelength with money? I think that different money goals and attitudes are one of the hardest things to manage in a marriage. Our cheapness binds us together. Really. Divorce lawyers are expensive!

Omaha Mama said...

The Hubs and I are on the same page. He even read the chapters of the book I got the envelope system out of. We are both not cheap by nature. We are both impulse spenders by nature. We bought our house on an impulse, the dog, the vehicles. We sort of go with our gut. By doing this envelope system, we are both learning discipline. We've both had to gently remind each other of our goals when new carpet, new cabinets, or underground sprinklers have called our name in the past two months. I agree though, you've got to be on the same page!

jen said...

you are fantastic. what a terrific, mindful, valuable thing to do.

Mama said...

I saw an interview that said women do better with financing than men. We just start later. The experts in this interview say we start later because we aren't taught about investing as young women. Men and women overspend at equal levels but men's purchases are usually called "collecting".Men repost 5% more income than they actually make and 10% more wealth. Women report $500 more debt than they actually have. Here is a good article- http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/23185598/from/ET/
I liked the part about not being perfect but stress free (whatever that means). Keep working on your budgets. It is liberating to know your finances. (Teach your children young.)

Jenifer said...

I am kind of both a cheap planner and an impulse buyer, because I can go months being really good then sort of fall off. Overall, it is my desire to keep my home (and brain) clutter-free that drives my desire to keep things out of the house.

Like you I would never skip a birthday or special occasion, but we have certainly toned them done just like you said.

I would say the exercise was a total success because you are aware of what you are spending now.

Jenifer said...

I hope Mason is Ok, the google reader thing picked up a post that now is gone...hoping all is well.

Aliki2006 said...

I have significantly curbed my spending, too. I didn't sign on for the challenge, but we re-worked our budget recently and I've become very conscious about what I/we spend. I never was careless with money, but it's amazing how suddenly focusing on expenditures makes you really aware of every little penny.

desperate housewife said...

Good for you! That is very impressive, esp. with all the after Christmas sales you resisted!

nikkis30by30 said...

I have been doing better. Getting the hubs on track has been super hard with him being on the road. I really need to get him an envelope too. I loathe getting online to check the account and there are little things like $2 at this gas station and $5 at this one and $3 at the next. He needs to get rid of that check card and start using cash only!!! :S Silly boys.

Beck said...

I think that you did an awesome, thoughtful thing. We're trying to be more aware of how we spend money, too.

Mad Hatter said...

Drat! I hadn't seen this when I left my last comment. Good work. I gave in to the emotional hit of spending towards the end but the experience did leave me more aware of how and why I spend.