Reflection: No-Spend monthΒ 

I managed to spend *drum roll* $135.63 extra this month. Broken down this looks like: Food, misc., and clothing.
Food: $64.14
Misc: $43.59
Clothing: $27.90
What an eye opener on food because I thought I only ate out like 3 times. In reality, I ate out 6 times! As per usual, a trip to get a birthday gift set me back some thirty-ish dollars. I can’t remember what I bought in terms of clothing, but that came out to almost thirty dollars.
This no-spend month has definitely helped realize some spending habits though! Instead of eating out four times per week, I ate out six times throughout a 31 day period. So ten times less than I would normally.
I will try and do this again this next month because I was still able to be social with friends, coworkers, etc. Saving is my top priority this next month. Really, I had some extra spending due to my car fixes. I count that as bills. I’m really tying to get rid of the eating out all of the time and spending on items I don’t need.
I would be left with $500 in savings but I bought a plane ticket on credit and will pay off that. No need to throw it in savings if there is debt! Also, I already put some funds toward savings this month.

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Motivation: Part 2

I’m going about this year in phases. If you know business, you know that there are quarters in each year. Phases are like the quarters, except the phases I’m embracing are short. I like working with short goals because it doesn’t feel as intimidating and daunting. 
Phase One: January.
Phase one is practicing paying attention to what is NEEDED. Do I need to go to the grocery store every week? I have found that I don’t and so far my Costco haul has been sufficient. I have still been able to be social and explain why I’m not eating out. Thankfully people have been encouraging. In phase one I have also cut out alcohol. This has helped to not impulse buy. Not constantly spending money is actually pretty liberating. I did eat a meal out yesterday. I’m not kicking myself in the ass for it though. It was $17.25 and I was hungry and the food was good. No regrets. However, if I did that every week or every other day, as previously done, I would feel a bit defeated. I also bought new eye glasses. This is justified because I need glasses every day of my life to function in the world. This was good because it was like my “shopping”
Phase Two: February.
So far January has really helped me get comfortable with not spending money on items that aren’t necessary. February is a goal of increasing the health factor. As I previously blogged about, I wasn’t paying attention to “healthy” eating for my no-spend month. I just wanted to practice not eating out and no spending money. Starting in February, I’ll be going on morning runs. I mention this now to get into a groove of waking up earlier. I’ll do the wake up 10 minutes earlier each day. My goal is a 5am run for 30 minutes, 3 miles. Then arms or legs. I love p90x ab-ripper x as part of my workout too.
Phase Three: March
Travel. More on that later. I already have my trip booked!

Motivation: Part 1

How 12 months of savings adds up!
Saving $50/month = $600
Saving $100/month = $1,200
Saving $200/month = $2,400
Saving $250/month = $3,000
Saving $300/month = $3,600
Saving $400/month = $4,800
Saving $500/month = $6,000
Saving $600/month = $7,200
Saving $750/month = $9,000
Saving $1,000/month = $12,000

I didn’t add up all the posibilities of savings, but sometimes it helps to just take a look at those posibilities.

Saying “No” is becoming easier and easier. Prioritize. If people drop off your friends list, etc because you are committing to better yourself, then so be it. Get rid of the negative, non-supportive folks anyway. With that, I’ve decided to not be tempted to take off on trips that are not necessary. This is a three day weekend and so instead of “having fun” and posting all the “fun” on Facebook, I’m laying low. I didn’t really get the concept of spending here and there and then all of the sudden someone wants to do something and I’d struggle to afford the possibility. Also, just because I have money doesn’t mean that I have to spend it. Repeat that last sentence!
This is the year to save and not feed needs with material things. January is going rather slow because 1) it’s after the holidays 2) weather doesn’t make me want to go outside sometimes 3) re-evaluating takes some energy. I want to come out of this year on top!

Needs. And a no-spend update.Β 

Food is a need.

Thank God there was harsh winter weather all weekend. This helps not spend money out! πŸ™Œ
I spent an evening with a friend and we watched Girl on a Train (πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘) and some YouTube. This made for a really cheap catch up date – FREE DATE. She’s got a really comfy place too.
Spending…
I said I was only going to buy $150 worth of food. I went well over my budget. I bought $61 worth of fresh sushi grade fish (way too much and I am basically sushied out!) I went to Costco and spent $137. Costco was a fun trip though. I bought meat and separated it and froze a great majority of it. I bought other food items too; I bought items I knew would last in the freezer. I also made a trip to Trader Joe’s. I bought my favorite night time tea, snack foods and beverages, and quick frozen meals (aka the meals I can just grab when I’m feeling lazy) for $50. I had to go into the next biggest city to take care of my car care and stopped by Taco Bell for something that could tie me over, $2. I’m rounding here. If my calculations are corrext, I spent an extra $100 on groceries. For me this is no biggie because I could easily spend that on dinner and drinks out with friends – the extra $100 – for only 4 hours of hang out. Now, I have about 3 months worth of food for myself.
I’ll admit that being responsible for my finances is a bit foreign to me. I never used to keep my fridge stocked. Granted, I use to live with roomies and so one shelf doesn’t really allow to have a stockpile. Many people on the web disagree with holding a Costco membership as a single person. I personally appreciate what I was able to purchase. I know everytime I open the fridge, I am reassured that I have food to eat. Maybe that’s what was missing – that reassurance. There’s some sort of safety (and less anxiety) in knowing I have food to eat. Actually, in a very much habitual way, I food prepped two take-to-work lunches. Like, “I have so much shit to work with!”
I feel like I spent a lot of money and I did. When the register reads that $137 is due, it was an eye opener. When I previously went shopping, $20 here and there, I didn’t really have a conscious mind of adding everything up.

In a moment of being alone with “nothing” to do I cleaned part of my place. I took two trash bags out. I wasnt feeling like I was on top of the world after cleaning. I just fet that I had done something that benefited me and was not something I used to avoid. I literally had nothing to do but feel I made a good choice. I didn’t focus on buying the healthiest food items. However, for me, it is healthy to do things I would normally avoid doing that are good for myself. 

We are only 9 days into January and so I’m looking forward to what the next couple of weeks brings. 

No-Spend Month and Budget Breakdown.

I just purchased a plane ticket and will now start in on not spending a single penny on non-mandatory items. I have to buy food, gas, and pay my monthly bills – THAT IS IT! No shopping for extras and no going to the grocery store without a list. 
Budget Breakdown…
Fixed and variable expenses.
Fixed = expenses that don’t change = rent, student loans, etc.
Variable = well, they vary from month to month.
I’ve written out all of my fixed expenses, variable expenses, and total salary. I now know how much money I should have left over. What I have failed to do in the past is put my grocery list in the FIXED expenses category. This would just fluctuate. Eating out/Entertainment would also not be in the FIXED category.
Let’s be real: I hate when someone tells me what to do! 😀 When I put limitations on things I go and do the opposite even if it is not good for me in the long run. This is what happens when I put too much of a restriction on things like food budget and Eating out/Entertainment. This is why I increased my food budget drastically. I don’t want to be in the mindset that I can’t have.
However, the no-spend month (which has been written by many bloggers before) is essential in starting off a budgeting year! So this month, I’m making no spending a priority.

Happy New Year!Β 

I was so busy with getting repairs finished on my vehicle yesterday that I didn’t write a “Happy New Year” blog. I also missed the Steelers vs Browns game. 😀
I’ve been really tempted to purchase a new car, but I’m not ready for that kind of commitment. As is the case already, I’m a pretty big commitment phobe. The current lack of car payment is what allows me to travel more. So, I spent a couple hundred dollars (and my mom gifted me with some cash) fixing my car. Personally, I think it sounds and runs better! Thanks to the honest mechanic! I have a new goal with this car which may be met this year…300,000 miles. Spending a thousand or so dollars each year is still better than a 2+ year lease or a five year payment commitment for a new car. I take time to remind myself of this during times of frustration!
Last night I had In-N-Out because it’s amazing. Since I’m home, my mother treated me to the double double mustard fried (pickles are okay) onion add chopped chilis burger – in case you wanted to know the BEST way to eat an In-N-Out burger πŸ˜‰. It was then that I thought about the past year whilst in my minor food coma…
I thought about how it took me six months to really change some maladaptive behaviors last year: to learn how to really say no (and reflect on why I felt the need to say “yes”), to learn how to have a shit ton of patience, to learn that self-care is way more important than pleasing others, and that people who want to be in your life will always let you know by way of actions – otherwise it’s best not to bother.
These all didn’t come into awareness in 365 days. Most of them were lingering over the years, but somehow I gained further awareness last year in how to stop feeding them. Every now and then I’ll snack on the past but not entertain the idea over dinner and certainly will not get into a full blown food coma over it <- I’m not sure of this analogy. Anyway, the point is that fruition comes when it comes and better that in the long run than trying to press for something to just “click”.
I’m spending 2017 completely sober of alcohol. Why? Well, I just feel like having this year be completely free of any convolution. In the aforementioned lessons learned, I know I reached those conclusions because of a new found conscious awareness. So, my goal is to be as consciously aware as possible. Haters gonna hate too!
I’m about to look for my first 5K of 2017. I didn’t run in December because I was traveling so much. I’ve also taken measurements and weight of my body because that’s going to be intresting to see how that’s going to change. I didn’t work out yesterday and I probably won’t today. Oh well. Remember the long term and not the right now.
I wrote my first journal entry of 2017 last night and it was short. Just a little chronicle of where my mind was at last night = sufficient.
Next up…a piece on budget breakdown.