Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rule #12: When It Stops Being Fun, Break Something

Yesterday, I outlined the basic plan for the next forty days - stop unnecessary spending. It would be great if that was all the direction I needed. But without specific boundaries and limits, pursuing such a broad goal would be a futile as deciphering furniture assembly instructions from Ikea (seriously, who makes those?).

The Rules
  1. Identify if items are needs or wants. Needs are defined as items essential to personal and/or household function. Examples include food, stamps, gasoline, cleaning supplies. Needs may be subjective in nature. For instance, I consider Molly's rawhides a need because sometimes she needs a distraction while I pay bills/work out/take a nap. Rawhides are essential to our household's sanity. Wants are defined as items I can live without (no matter how good the sale is).
  2. No credit card use. One credit card may be given to the hubs for emergencies but he must hide it and not tell me where it is.
  3. Pre-planned functions such as dinners and happy hours are acceptable as long as a budget is set and paid for in cash only.
  4. Food shopping is permitted; However, a list must be made in advance and only items off the list may be purchased (again, no matter how good a sale is). Coupons & sales must be used whenever possible.
  5. Non-essential items for the home (paint, frames, furniture, etc) must be approved by the hubs before purchase.
  6. Pre-existing gift card purchases are okay as long as I remain within the limits of the card. No buying a $20 item with a $10 gift card.
For every week I can go without spending needlessly, I may purchase one small item (under $10) for myself. I'm hoping these little rewards will keep me on track. I know full on deprivation will only lead to a spending binge that I will feel bad about and knock me off the wagon completely.

I did not set a specific savings goal because ultimately I want the next five weeks to be about reflection and change of my current habits. Any money saved is good, in my opinion! During the forty days, I will be reviewing my financial situation in depth and seeing where I should be spending less and saving more. I'll be using a variety of different resources, but notably Dave Ramsey's Seven Baby Steps and Total Money Makeover (mostly because I already own the TMM workbook).

Tomorrow, we'll dive into the nitty gritty of how much I owe, to whom, and how the hell I got myself here.

Day Two Spent:
Drs. Foster & Smith: $25.98
(Aforementioned rawhides - 5 lb. bag @ $19.99 + $5.99 shipping)
Tip & Slots @ Bally's Casino: $40.00
(Budget: $60.00)
Day Two Saved: $20.00!


  1. Totally agree on needing to not completely deprive yourself! It's kind of the same principle as trying to eat a healthy diet: Little indulgences here and there keep you from eating an entire carton of ice cream in one sitting. ;-)

    And this is down the line a bit, but when you do start thinking more about savings, automatic transfers scheduled for the same day you get your paycheck are a lifesaver!

  2. Yes! Auto-saving is definitely on the horizon. I'm going to start reeaaally small first and work my way up.