Monday, January 30, 2012

My January Challenge...

Can we go a month not EATING out?

Can we go a month not buying Lulu Lemon, Lucy, honey any extras?

No, but really have you checked out Lucy Perfect Core Pant here?  They are amazing!  Honestly they are the best pants ever...they hold you in right where I want and need to be held in.  I have had the black for a while and got the heather gray a few months ago...I live in them!

Ok...see that's my problem!  I love something and I keep getting more!  When will it stop?

We don't live high on the hog, at all!  But we do spend money.  Does that make sense?  We don't go on vacations and if we do it's cheap, like we use miles for our flights, stay at a friends place or something like that to save money.  We don't buy cars we can't afford or big ticket items (well, except for when I decide I need a bike for tri's, but that's for should be a tax-write off.  Don't ya think?).  But we always seem to go through our monthly cash.

Loren is the cheap-skate, the clearance rack purchaser and would never dream about shopping at Nordstroms.  He isn't a saver, but isn't someone to ever pay full price.  I am not a HUGE spender, but for sure justify way more than I should and spend more than I should on clothes, boots, shoes, boots...ok, so you see the problem?  I'm glad we aren't both spenders, but it would helpful if one of us was a saver!

Before I was married I kept great track of my money.  Wrote my bills out on the first of the month and then used whatever I had left over, which was not much.  Getting married changed all that due to two people using the same account.  It was hard to predict and track what we were spending.  I used to use MONEY software which I LOVED.  It tracked everything and it told me when a bill was due, if I overspent and much more. I loved the end of the month/year reports.  Oh it was ORGANIZED and pretty.  It was very time consuming and when we had kids...I could not keep up.

The problem is, if we have money we spend it, we eat out, go to movies, I might purchase a lulu top which blows anyone's account and so on!  Oh and have I mentioned, I'm not a cook...I never know what to make for dinner or if I do, we never seem to have what I need in the house.  Which made picking up dinner on the way home so justifiable!  It all adds up and quickly... grab teriyaki to-go, stop for pizza, grab food when we are running errands, grab lunch with a get the idea. My kids started asking to go out-to-eat all the time...that bothered me and it was time to re-evaluate.

January is usually a slower month for Real Estate so I told Loren...lets see if we can go a month without eating out and without buying extra' stuff we don't need.  **Note to SELF...don't pose a challenge like this and then in the same month decide you are going to do triathlons.  You will be frustrated that you can't buy many things that you NEED want.

To others this might seem like a breeze, but to us...this would for sure be a challenge. I wasn't entirely sure we could do it, but I wanted to do it.  I knew if we would be better than nothing.  This also meant I would really have to think about preparing dinners ahead of time (THANK YOU PINTEREST & KRAFT FOODS!)  A few days after we agreed to do this, I got invited to dinner with friends?  Ahhhh, how can I miss out?  Well I decided to pass on dinner, but felt like next month we would have to address these type of situation...but I really wanted to stick to our plan.

I know...your on the edge of your seat, aren't you!  The anticipation...DID WE DO IT, DID WE DO IT!

Well I have to say, we KNOCKED it out of the park.  There were a few things we couldn't control, like our  trip to Vegas for hubby's company meeting, lunch when my mom was in town and a ice cream after Cole's school program.  Other than that, we shocked ourselves and honestly it wasn't that hard.  I didn't even think how much healthier it would be fore us too.  Eating out typically is not ever going to be as healthy...all the fat and sodium.  That was a bonus, I'm pretty sure I dropped 20 pounds...ok, no, no I didn't...but it was still much healthier, I do know that.

I didn't buy any new clothes, oh shoot...I did buy 2-boat neck t-shirts in Vegas...but that was pure necessity and we were on vacation, but that WAS IT!  No Lulu, no Lucy, no running tights, shoes or socks!

It really made me think about things way more than I typically would.  It opened my eyes to how much money we waste.  How much money we could be saving just by being more conscious about what we are spending.  Isn't that a concept?   

I think we are going to keep doing it, but give ourselves a budget for dinner out with friends, date night, special occasions.  I think we will really limit when we eat-out as a family.  Maybe pizza night once a week on the weekend or something.

All-in-all this has been a great challenge for our family!  I'm proud of what we did and wish we had thought about this earlier.  We are committed to paying of our credit card debt this year and this will sure help us if we can stay focused!  Sometimes just being more conscious about something can make a HUGE difference.

Do you eat out?  
Are you more of a saver or a spender?
Do you pre-plan your meals?  
Do you even cook?

Oh how I wish money really did grow on TREES!


Karen said...

Congratulations! I have been trying to eat in more lately too just save cash. I think we might have eaten out 2 or 3 times all month which is huge. It really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and kind of enjoy it. Definitely healthier, I can see where you could lose weight doing it.

Teamarcia said...

Congrats on knocking your goals out of the park!
I am very much a saver and also love to cook so we eat out very rarely.
Lulu prices make me queasy. I've never been able to buy any of it for myself...I've received gifts from there I love but too rich for my blood. : )

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Cool post, and congrats on reaching your goal. Did I ever talk about Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover with you? If you haven't read it, you should. S and I used the plan to get out of debt, it's awesome.

Kerrie T. said...

Wait. We are going out tonight, right?

Julie D. said...

way to go!! We love to go out to eat, buy the occasional splurge lulu top, etc. :) Honestly, eating out is my hang up. I've been a lot more conscious lately because we've had a lot of unexpected expenses but I'm going to present this challenge to Ryan and see what he thinks. NIce job!!!

Marlene said...

I hear ya! We are spenders too and have been trying to make an effort to be more AWARE... but it's definitely hard with this new-found "hobby" of mine! hehe

Awesome job on the challenge in January!

ajh said...

Great job! I don't eat out a lot. I truly think eating out a lot is a generatlonal thing. To me it's something special. Also I am trying to lose some weight and eating out and losing weight don't go together.
I do like nice things though like Lulu items. I got some pants from Athleta that I think are great.

And tri items? I dread to think what this little sprint tri is going to end up costing me.

Colleen said...

Congrats on reaching your goals! :) I'm a spender as well and have been trying to cut back... it's not easy!

Oh if money grew on trees... that would be awesome!

Ricole said...

Congratulations that is awesome! We need to do something like this, as we are still in a bit of a deficit after Christmas. Have you ever used It's so helpful. We also have savings automatically transferred every month, since it was never really there you don't miss it and learn to live on what is there, that helps too.

Sherry @ Life from my persective said...

That's awesome. My hubby and I so need to do this. Maybe when the baby get's a touch older where I can set her down for a bit I will try it! Congrats to you guys!!!!

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