When I was growing up we gave more thought and attention to the new year than we did to most other holidays. I’ve heard my mom say many times that the new year is a chance for a fresh start–a chance to make good on a brand new set of goals. I’ve spent most new years following the family tradition, and this one is no exception.
This year Fred and I are hoping to find out just how little we can live on. We’ve had years when we were forced to live on very little and years that included a bit more feasting than famine. We’ve gotten out of the habit of doing the most we can with the least possible. Instead we’ve found a balanced middle ground of living within our means, but not significantly under our means. While this means wer’re not going into debt, which is good, we’re not savings as much as we should be either, which is bad.
For the month of January we are being as frugal as we can, even to the point of pushing our comfort zones. We aren’t doing drastic things like living only on beans and rice or selling one of our vehicles to see if we can live with only one. We’re doing small things and trying to really make money savings our priority for January.
We decided to only do it for 1-month because we may find it too harsh and have to go back to our comfort zone. But we may find it relatively painless. This is our hopeful prediction. If we make it through January in tact, then we’ll try again for February. One month at a time.
Fred and I tend to be especially frugal for a while and then lapse into a case of the spendies. And for us, the spendies are contagious. If I get them, then inevitably Fred will catch it. If Fred gets the spendies, then I follow suit. It’s a terrible state of affairs, and while it’s not out of control, we would rather it be much more under control.
Already we’ve decided not to go tot he movies because it costs $20 that we could save instead. We also decided to pay cash for as much as we can this month. If I only have so much cash, then I can’t overspend. There’s no getting around it.
I haven’t been to the supermarket in about 2 weeks and we’re running low on a few items. I thought about running down to the market to pick up a few things and then realized I could wait until Thursday evening and do my regular shopping while the boys are at Karate. I don’t know about you, but every time I go to the store I am tempted by unplanned purchases. Terribly tempted some weeks. I figure the fewer times I go to the store the less temptation I’ll have to face. I’m aiming for shopping twice a week. Once at the super Walmart on Tuesdays and once at the Dollar General on Thursdays. This week will be a little different, but the rest of the month should be easily scheduled. I’m hoping that by consciously planning these trips in more detail than I usually do, that I can do better at the checkout.
Since I mentioned Walmart above and I have fussed at many times for supporting Walmart, I feel I should explain that it has the lowest prices and like it or not, the bottom line is pretty significant in the Fred & Maggie household, especially with the boys getting closer to college age and the oldest due to get his learner’s permit for driving in the next few months. Ugh, the increased insurance is a scary thing to think about.
I’ll try to keep my blog updated with our challenges and victories this month, and if we’re able to keep it up, then for the whole year. If we’re not able to keep it up, I’ll share that too. Honesty is the best policy I always say.
As a side note, I wanted to say that I”m starting this year at the lowest weight I’ve been in 8 years. 200-1/2 pounds. That may seem like a lot to my skinny sisters, but my curvy sisters will understand that being so close to under 200 is an enormous achievement and a benchmark to be savored. This year I’ll include occasional updates on my continuing battle with weight loss. For now I’m eating whole grains, limiting sugar, have given up most meat (not fish) and am following the general principles of the Weigh Down Diet. The rules are easy enough. Eat when you’re hungry and Stop when you’re full and Pray and Pray and Pray. So far so good.