June 25, 2010

$150 Challenge

As I have been working around the house this week I have been doing a lot of pondering about money and specifically how to spend less and save more.  I am being drawn back to the basics of living a more frugal lifestyle.  I bought Amy D.'s first "Tightwad Gazette" book back in January 1993 when our youngest son was a newborn.  I also have her two sequel books.  A few years later I bought Jonni McCoy's book "Miserly Moms."  I have started to re-read these books to bring me back to where I need to be with living on one income. 

I have become complacent in the last few months and have been overspending.  It's time to renew my conviction to live frugally.  It's not just saving for an emergency fund that has brought me back to the reality of our life, but it's wanting to meet other goals that I have set for our family. 

Next year our youngest son will graduate from high school.  He has a profound interest in politics and government.  He plans to major in government/history in college, so our plan is to go to Washington D.C. next June for our vacation. 

My DH comes home for lunch each day.  (He works only 4 blocks from our home.) Today we were sitting on our deck and we started to talk about the trip to D.C. and how we would be able to afford the trip.  He had been thinking about it and had a plan already put together along with having money for an emergency fund.  He made this statement "it is the day to day expenses that are hurting us."   Hmm.  That had been on my mind all this week and it felt good to hear it from him.

It is time to get back on track and back on budget.  No more running to Wal-mart to pick something up and then walking around to see what else is on sale. 

I have been following the "Trenches of Mommyhood" and the challenges that she has set forth for herself.  I have also been following "Moderate Means" and how she is being challenged to see if they can afford to live on one income sometime in the future.  I'm not alone in living below our means and trying to live within a budget. I follow these blogs, and a few others, as I don't have one other person in my life that is doing what I am doing.  In fact, I have been the recipient of a few "cheap" jokes in the past year.  I always feel as if in the end I am the one who is living her dream and the rest of them are not.  

The challenge I am making for myself is to reduce our miscellaneous and grocery spending by a total of $150 a month.  It will take some planning, but I know I can I do it.  It will be the small things that will add up to the savings. 

As we sat today sharing our lunch, my DH reminded me that one year from now our only debt will be my car and our mortgage.  It will be like having a second income.  So I will continue to make laundry soap, use rags instead of paper towels and hang clothes on the line to lower expenses.  And one year from now I will be in a hotel in Washington D.C. celebrating our son's high school graduation and living my dream.


Moderate Means said...

Great challenge (and thanks for the mention!)

If I remember right, you had a post a few months ago about finding the small ways to save that aded to decent amounts over the course of a month or a year. I really enjoyed it and remember thinking that you would be one of those peopel that would be able to go through a tight budget and find extra savings :) Plus, I've seen pictures of your amazing food stockpile!! I think you'll blow that $150 out of the water!!

Happy budgeting and good luck :)


Martha said...

Yep, Stacy, I did post small ways to save and I've been implementing them. Summertime always brings extra expenses and we have had our fair share lately. Now it is time to dig deeper and find the cash in places that I never thought about. Your blog and "Trenches of Mommyhood" really got me thinking a lot this week about a challenge for myself.

Moxie said...

Good luck with your challenge...I hope you post about it along the way! When I need to get back to my more frugal ways...I always head to the library to check out frugal books...I don't know why but it always helps me to keep it on my mind and not get sidetracked....there are SO many good books out there on the topic! I am currently reading the book Stacy recommended...Suddenly Frugal....(gotten from the library of course) My left hand sidebar lists a few of my favorites. Books on the depression era can be very motivating too! I watch the same two blogs...LOL! I'll look over my blog list and see if there are any other goodies to share with you!! One of my favorite quotes about being cheap.....it's a good comeback line too when needed...
"Cheap is counting every penny....frugal is making every penny count!"

Moxie said...

Here's a few good blogs...if you already watch some of these...then YAY!!:







And if all that isn't enough...LOL here's some good articles when you get to the point where you think there is nothing much more to do...well search buddy google for extreme frugality and live on nothing...you'll find some interesting reads:
How to live on nothing part one & two:


Hey and I just found this blog ...looks good too I'm adding it to my watch list =]


Martha said...

Thanks oodles. I follow a few of those and will check out the new ones. Appreciate the help.

Martha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the shout out! I've been loving my challenges. While June was tough in some ways it really made me rearrange my thinking about money and I encourage everyone to set one type of goal for them each month (whether it is live off $1,200 or lose 3 lbs) because having a goal just makes you more aware. Good luck!