At the beginning of the year I picked a one word goal that expresses what I want to work on this year. It’s time for my monthly accounting.
Am I less? Have I spent less? Do we own less?
We did ok in the fight against clutter. A trip to DI took several bags and boxes of stuff that we decided we didn’t need. A friend was also doing a clothing drive, and we contributed three large garbage bags to her stash, but once the Christmas clean up was over I haven’t been as good at getting rid of things. Ryan has cleaned up his office and gotten rid of a significant amount of junk, and I did some serious work in my office clean up as well.
It’s fun when we can actually give something away. Last week I went to help a young mother in our ward who is going to be on bed rest. She needs help taking care of her two little ones, and before I went, I grabbed a stuffed monster out of our ‘donations’ bucket. The kids might enjoy this, I thought. Sure enough, it was a nice ice breaker to give them that monster as something they could play with, and maybe it helped make me not seem such a stranger. I go again tomorrow, I’ll have to find some other toy that we were going to get rid off.
Less me. Well, I seem to have lost about five pounds this month. Trouble is, I gained back four of them. Sign. So I failed at that this month, enough said.
Spend less. We have been working on our budget for three months now. It’s not hugely restrictive, but it IS a budget, and we aren’t used to working within a budget. I never realized how much I was spending when I went to Walmart or the grocery store, but those seemingly little purchases were really adding up. Now I stick to my monthly household budget, and when it’s gone, I have to dip into my personal money (there’s not much in there, and I certainly don’t want to use it for groceries). I’m learning to shop the sales, use coupons, and only buy what we NEED. We still have SO much food in our pantry and storage that we’re not every going without, but we are trying to use what we have. And only one trip to Costco per month. There’s no running for fast food, either, unless it’s planned. One of the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve not stopped for lunch very much. I do have a few lunched out with girlfriends, but I only hit the Wendy’s drive through once in January, and when I did, I had a coupon. So, that’s progress.
Well, at the beginning of February, we were able to pay off our car loan. If we had continued paying only the regular payment, we wouldn’t have had that thing paid off until well into next year. But now it’s paid off and we can put that money toward a different loan. I am really pleased with our progress so far, and hope that we can continue this budgeting thing.
It’s fun to see how many things we can do for free, or little cost, too. I’m always working the radio contests, but there are other things as well. A friend on facebook posted that she had comp tickets to her show that night, and because we didn’t have plans, I was able to take my daughter to the show for free. Studio C taping was free. Lady Antebellum concert was free because I had won the tickets. So we can see how far we can stretch that entertainment budget. No, we’re not crazy budgeters who live on $100 a month for groceries (although I have tried that and it was almost possible), but we’re not going to be shelling out for the expensive valentine’s candy, either.
So, it’s a good start. Except for the exercising thing, I feel pretty good about our progress. And, it’s a new month!