Wednesday, December 17

december so far...

the reason for the season

christmas cards in the mail....which means real mail..not just bills!!

plates of cookies from our rockstar neighbors

lights on the house

snow and coldness

the favorite penguin ornament (you pull the cord and his arms and legs move. he even has little ear muffs on....he's the best!)the angel

lights on the tree

the tree and the smiths. kinda a cheeseball picture....but i guess we are just cheeseballs! :)

i have lots of thoughts in my head, lots going on, but little motivation. i have cookies to bake for our cookie exchange at work, cards to make for my co-workers, gingerbread houses to make, christmas lights to look at....and a husband to find (6:00 and still not home from work...) being done with school is a welcome relief, but as soon as the semester ends, i just lose motivation for anything. like it's go-go-go all semester and as soon as the semester ends, i dont' want to do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g..... and i'm not sleeping well again.... boo. however, i'm feeling a new aire of energy coming on. and if not, at least these pictures will hold you over until next time :)

my new 2nd favorite christmas song....

can it be? another blog post??

i'm shocked!!at the relient k/tobymac concert the night before we trekked to mt.... mat's... excited??
honestly....can't tell who this is. probably the relient k awesome!!
three and a half of my most favorite people in montana!!
thanksgiving morning we ran a 5k. heard right. a 5k. and i ran it in 4-0 minutes. forty minutes for my first ever 5k. pretty respectable, i thought.
here we are, refreshed and hungry after our cold run
playing uno thanksgiving afternoon. mat's in the zone..
mom relishing one of mat's few losses ever.... doesn't look like a poor loser, does he?
the next day was "christmas"... te amo mi familia that was our trip home for thanksgiving in a nutshell. we had a really good time. it was much more low-key than when we went home in august. we told less people and had a less-stressful time. but it was still a great vacation. spending time with the people who mean the most to us. mat got to go hunting with his dad (i chose not to post the pics of bambi on here... but he did shoot a nice young buck!) i spent lots of good time with my sister and my Rona. it was a refreshing and relaxing vacation. my heart is still full!

Sunday, October 26

my new favorite treat

cinnamon bears plus

chocolate equals

chocolate covered cinnamon bears.
so delicious. thanks for getting me hooked, adam :)

how cute!!!

Monday, October 20

day 15: finally...i am done!!

well, i finally made it. today was not without it's bad money decisions, but i'm done being accountable for my spending (to someone other than hubby)... :) every week there is a broncos game, at work they have a pool, a grid more or less, that you can buy squares, then the squares are numbered, and a the end of each quarter of the broncos game, whoever's square matches the score wins $25. they still had 28 open squares this afternoon, so i thought i'd buy a few. who knows, maybe i'll get lucky. and i had my $10 for this week, courtesy of the husband. so i bought five squares. poor money decision. if the broncos had won, it might not have been so bad, but not only did they lose terribly, the didn't even lose according to the squares i had bought... :( so i'm out $5 for the week. i feel like it will be a long week. however, i have plenty to keep me busy this week. so that shouldn't be a problem. and, my darling friend joy was over tonight for our weekly dinner and bible study, so that made the pain of blowing half of my weekly budget in one fell swoop easier to handle :)

to sum up my past two weeks: i has been interesting. i have learned a lot about myself through the process of not spending, but when i think about it, i have even more questions i haven't begun to ask myself. why do i spend so incessantly in the first place? what am i avoiding by shopping (i know, usually it's homework, but there must be something else) by buying things secretly, by spending more than i know i should, by buying things i really don't need. i know that my gift is gifting people, but sometimes i wonder if i have a hidden motivation behind the gifts i give people and the motives and attitude behind my generosity. is it really generosity if we really might not be able to afford it? don't get me wrong, i'm honestly not putting things on credit cards and raking up huge debt....but sometimes, paying off the little debt we have, or putting into our savings is more important than buying something for someone, just because. reading in my sociology book tonight was interesting too, talking about the different social classes. what am i trying to portray by buying things and acquiring "stuff"? i really feel like i have learned a lot, about society and myself, through this whole project, but part of me thinks i have only hit the top of the iceberg. i have a lot of other things to work through. it's becoming more important to me to be a good steward of the money we have been entrusted with. and the huge-ness of that trust. and what that means for us in the future. thoughts spewing out everywhere. need time to process.

however, that being said, i'm very positive about this experience. i'm glad for the restored peace in my marriage (not that it was terrible before, it's just nice to be getting this area under control...) and i'm excited to see what the upcoming weeks have as i stay on this allowance/budget. it'll be a good, stretching time, just as these two weeks have been. thanks for hanging with me on this journey. give me a few days to process this all, but i'll be back!

Sunday, October 19

day 14: the forbidden land of costco

so today, after much thought and discussion, we decided to get a costco card. we went to church--for the first time in almost a month...terrible, i know--and after that ventured to costco. our first time through was a trial run. we saw mat's aunt geri and the kids at church, and they were headed to costco, so we went to the costco in superior, got our membership, and weaved through the aisles with geri, a four year old, and a three year old. practice on so many levels. we decided to head home and actually purchase things at the costcto closer to our house, so we kissed the kids and headed down to arvada. it was a good time. we spent, as mat said "too much money on nothing" but i think we did pretty good. we got a scale, which we've never had since we've been married. and with us both trying to get in better shape, it'll be nice to have a consistent place to weigh ourselves and keep track of things that way. we got abotu 7 lbs of fish (now in the freezer) some bread, some delicious fuze drinks for me, trail mix.... overall got some good things, i thought. it's definitely a place that we decided neither one of us is allowed to go to alone. i would buy anything and everything, and mat.....well, he would buy us a new huge flat screen tv. :) it's interesting what different people are attracted to in a situation like that, huh? so, anyway, after completely cheating and blowing my whole project at costco, we came home for a bit, then rode bikes to play tennis. neither one of us were very into it, but we had fun nonetheless. it's fun to just spend time together. we watched the amazing race, i did some homework, chatted with mom, and now i'm headed to bed. good sunday :)

on a side note, it was good to talk to my momma today. we talked about my project, about not spending money for two weeks and what it has done for me personally and for me and mat's savings, and our relationship. she was funny, asking me questions about what she had planned for her week "is getting your nails done a neccessity? is getting your hair done a neccessity?" i had to think about getting my hair done--neccessity or not? more importantly, is there a way to do it and save some money in the process? i usually color my own hair...or let my sister do it when we are home or she comes down here. i think that spending $100+ on a hair cut and color is ridiculous, and i'm pretty sure i'd be kicked out of our house if i did that... but i think that little things like that are neccessary, as i'm not even going to try to cut my own--or mat's--hair!! but, again, those are usually more planned expenses, rather than spur-of-the-moment, "sure, i'll get my hair cut" expenses. and this whole project was about deleting the thoughtless, spur of the moment, whatever spending that i have done so freely in the past. i don't know. if nothing else, it's been interesting talking to people about it, especially my mom. (hi mom!)

Saturday, October 18

day 13: nearly there

i didn't feel very good today, so i didn't feel like doing much of anything. i had high hopes of cleaning out the garage and being as productive as i was last week, but something didn't make me feel very good, so i was really lazy. i have to admit, i did spend some money though. i saw a really great recipe on tv, so i had to stop somewhere and get some avocado for that. and we are decorating our office like willy wonka for halloween, so wanted to rent the movie to "do some research" and poke around hobby lobby for some ideas. i tried to be good though. oh, there were so many things that, two weeks ago i wouldn't have given a second thought to buying impulsively, different decoration things i would have "needed" and just snatched right up. but i was refrained. i didn't even get anything card-making related in the clearance section. i decided that 1) i have more stuff already than i will use in a very long time and 2) that can be something i can spend birthday, christmas, or "extra" money on, and it'll be more fun to go when i have more to spend, guiltlessly :) That's my rationale.
i think overall i spent about $15 at target, blockbuster and hobby lobby which, given my past and how much i usually spend in those places without a thought, is amazing. the rest of the night was spent a the gym (i'm telling you, it has been my lifesaver for not spending--and i'm getting more in shape!) eating our delicious quinoa dish that i made with my avocado and watching willy wonka. even though i cheated, i still feel like i have come a long way over the past two weeks. so far, it's been a good experience. more to come as i wrap this thing up :)

Friday, October 17

day 12: old navy

ok, i'm almost there. i was starving this morning, and....what do you know? some girls were ordering from deli-zone, so i spent $4 of my last $5 on a delicious breakfast sandwich. definitely worth it!! i had been thinking about saving it for later in the weekend, and maybe getting a yummy warm pumpkin spice chai or something equally delcious, but i was just too hungry this morning to wait!! it was delicious. made me think more about how easily i succumb to temptation so often, but also how our culture is so "instant gratification" ... i want what i want right NOW.... but more on that later.

mat took me out for lunch this afternoon....just to subway but it was equally delicious. although eating out twice in one day is definitely something that doesn't happen much at all, nor will it be happening anymore. through much discussion the past two weeks, we have decided to stick with the "allowance" ... but this time for both of us. we looked at our finances and how much we managed to save last week and decided that it was a great idea. so, he went to the bank this morning and brought me back a fresh crisp $20 for my two weeks allowance. it is kinda going to suck at first, knowing that now this is real and not just for my project, but i think overall it will be really good for me, and for both of us. it will force me to have better money management and force both of us to save more (although left to his own devices, mat would save pretty much every cent!)
all that being said, i did cheat tonight and it felt great! i had done some online CHRISTMAS shopping at old navy at work and was about to order everything that way (less temptation than in the real store) but they wouldn't let me use both my coupon and my free shipping. so i decided "this is dumb, why would i pay shipping when the store, is like 2 miles away" so i went to the store, got more things that i had picked out online.....and spent less $$!!! they had even better prices in the store than online, so i actually saved even more money by just going to the store. i managed to get the little shopping bug out of my system, and didn't even get anything for myself!! it definitely made me feel better, and i've got a jump on christmas, since we are doing half of it in november when we go home for thanksgiving.... i'm so happy!!!

Thursday, October 16

day 11: tension headache

today has been an ok day so far….. i haven’t felt very good. i have a super bad tension headache, which makes me cranky. and i did cheat. i went to target and got some excedrin tension headache….and a juice. shhh, don’t tell. i just felt like, i was going to be miserable for the rest of the day if i didn’t get something for my noggin, and i was at target and couldn’t resist the temptation of a delicious strawberry melon juice. however, i still only spend about $6, so i’m only technically over by $1, but i still have my $5 cash. maybe lunch tomorrow, we’ll see….

i think this week has been better than last week. i have slightly gotten out of the habit of wondering around target after work, which makes it easier to just go home after work and do my homework. and mat and i have been really good about going to the gym after work, which means i have between 30 and 50 minutes after work to get home and be ready, otherwise he’d rage on me (not really, he’d just make me feel guilty…. ) so i’ve been more motivated to go home, and then go to the gym. and it’s been good to go to the gym too… we are both getting healthier and saving more money. tonight i have an appointment at 5, hopefully i can still make it to the gym before it gets too late. and then the office is on tonight too, so it’ll be easy to spend the night at home. this weekend will be harder. it’s sad how everything that is “fun” to do with my friends costs money. i’ll probably just go home and do homework. cleaning out the garage is my project for saturday. there is plenty to do around the house, with my hands, that doesn’t cost money… hopefully the weekend isn’t too hard. i guess we shall see.

headache headache….go away!!

Wednesday, October 15

day 10: cheap gas and interesting discussions

oh my word…, today, i kinda cheated. i had to get gas…..i was below empty. i knew it would be more than $10, but i still tried to get it as cheaply as i could. i decided to go to safeway, because i knew i had a fuel discount there. little did i know it was 20 cents off per gallon! and…even littler did i know, that gas at safeway was $2.99 per gallon. meaning i filled up my car for $2.79 a gallon. or $35 total!! it was amazing. even though i kind of cheated, i still feel good about the money i spent. it wasn’t frivolous or impulsively. it was well thought out and a necessity. and i bargain hunted! J

tonight mat and i were discussing getting a costco card, to cut down on needless, multiple trips to places like target, and to save a little money in the long run by stocking up on things (i think we decided to go for it…) and christmas, as we are doing half (with my family) of christmas early, at thanksgiving when we go home. i think it’ll stress me out to prepare for a week long trip, a-n-d getting christmas gifts a month early, but it will be good to get it out of the way. it will kind of stagger the expenses associated, sadly enough, with christmas. so, anyway, talking about all these things got us talking about this project and how i feel about it. so far, i feel really good about it. it’s been a little tough, just because i have to be more choosy about what i spend and when i spend it. and half of my allowance this week went to getting my boss flowers for bosses day (tomorrow) it kinda sucked, but it was nice to be able to get them for her, and i don’t feel like such a free loader and non-contributor…

anyway….. i digress. talking about my project lead us to decide to try and keep up with this whole allowance, limiting our spending, and such. we were able to put $200 back into our savings account this last week!!! i can’t believe it. and if we are able to save/pay down our credit cards that quickly, it’s all worth it. mat’s always been a huge saver, and i have always been a huge spender. however, i really want to get some things paid down or paid off before we have a bebe, and this is one really easy way to do it. we talked about, at the beginning of the month, going to the atm and getting out our $40 each, and that is our spending $$ for the week. we can each spend it how we see fit, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. or we can save it and get something bigger, but that is our “mad money” i think that it is a great idea. and really important to me. and…. (another and) if we do in fact decide to get a costco card…..we will for surely go together (can you imagine me getting out of control alone at a costco??? yikes!) and i think it will cut down on my multiple trips to target…one for shampoo, the next day for contact solution, the next day for…who knows what. that is my optimistic idea…time will tell…

the point of this project was the social change that can happen in making a lifestyle change. so far, the biggest change that has occurred is in my marriage. my coworkers know i’m not spending money, but it hasn’t inspired them, or anything like that. it has, however, made my husband happier. and that is the most important relationship i am a part of, so happiness there is pivotal. happiness there translates to overall happiness in my everyday life, which i am sure effects my coworkers. so far, this has been a really good experience. just a few days left. lets see how inspirational i can be! J

Tuesday, October 14

day 9: halloween

today was interesting. i already had lunch, leftover chili i brought for lunch yesterday (but didn’t eat since i had my delicious, FREE queso and chips!!) so i had a good, warm, filling lunch. i did, however, spend my lunch break moseying around the halloween store with brandy. we both kind of need ideas for our work dress up, so we just walked around looking at all the interesting (read: who-er-ish) costumes they have there. in a stroke of brilliance (i’m not that brilliant to begin with….) i decided not to bring my wallet. brandy was driving, i wasn’t planning on buying anything, so there really wasn’t a point to it. just more temptation. we walked around, and i was amazed with the amount of money people spend on halloween. coming from someone who just started really getting into halloween a few years ago, it’s astounding how expensive even children’s costumes are. astounding. when, if people put their minds to it, it really wouldn’t be all that difficult to create most of the costumes we saw at the shop. i mean, if you look hard enough for a blue plaid dress, you too could be dorothy…..all without spending $50 on a costume which will only be worn once anyway. it’s just a testament to our “instant gratification” society….. lack of planning creates people, parents, who will spend anything to make their child or themselves happy, as if halloween snuck up on them. it’s on the same day every single year, people!! as is christmas. yet every year, how much money is spent impulsively on christmas eve, because of lack of planning and foresight. because what is going on now in ones life is more important than saving some money, exercising some creativity and…um…conservation? i don’t know. that’s my rant for the day

we went and worked out after work today. it was good to be running and working out again. and i didn’t feel so bad lazily lounging on the couch afterwards either. makes me feel less wasteful either. my money gets taken out of our account monthly, whether we go to the gym or not. it feels good to be taking advantage of something that i am paying for anyway….rather than just wasting that money too.

we are on the downward slope of the project. so far, so good. it’s been….surprisingly fun. (shhhh, don’t tell anyone i said that!)

Monday, October 13

day 8: half way there

day eight. and to date, technically i've only spent $10.85 I did spend a good chunk of change at the grocery store, but i'm not counting that, because it was a neccessity, and not my frivilous, thoughtless spending that usually dominates our online bank statement. i think that i've done really good at budgeting my money, and saying no. brandy asked if i wanted to go to target with her at lunch....i thought about it....but said no. (homework has been a convenient excuse!) but seriously, i have gotten a lot more done these past two weeks during the week, leaving my weekends relatively free for other baking..and candlemaking!! :)

my bonus, cheap, dutch move of the day though, came when brandy also told me she was going to qdoba for lunch. well....hold the phone just a minute!! i had a free chips and queso coupon that i had her bring along and redeem for me. oh, delicious queso-ness. it was great. another thing this week has taught me, something i lost after getting married and subsequently moving within delivery or driving range of pretty much any restaurant i want to go to.... the beauty and joy of a meal out. growing up, eating out was truly a treat, and not something that happened with any regularity. neither was hamburger helper, but that's a whole other story. we ate out...maybe once a month. i don't think it was because we couldn't afford it, but just because we lived so far away from town, my dad worked hard, long hours, and my mom was (is) an amazing cook. eating out was truly a treat. that is definitely something i lost the last few years. something i really want to gain back. rather than going to qdoba every other day (i really could go every day!) i want to go less often, and more often bring my own lunch. it's being healthier, and more economical. but it also makes the time we do go out to eat that much better and more special. not something expected, or "deserved" but something that is a treat. just an interesting thought i had today. (yes, while devouring my free chips and queso!!!)

Sunday, October 12

day 7: sushi with hubs

one week down one to go. today was a fine day. mat and i had the day off together, and, as usual we slept in.... missed church. i like to think if our church was closer we'd be better about going, but he doesn't agree. who knows? anyway, we slept in today, watched some episodes of the office....then finally got our fat duffs of the couch and went to the gym. it was a super cold day, and all i wanted to do was stay bundled up at home, but it was good to go to the gym.

speaking of the gym, it's funny where temptation creeps up. when i'm working out, i always read magazines, and 90% of them are perpetually advertising for something new, something flashy and pretty, something to make me run faster or be more disciplined (haha!) it's hard to not be tempted to earmark the page and check it out online...i mean, comon....check out these shoes. i'd definitely run faster in these babies! but then, it's all part of the mass media and their influence on the advertising, and therefore on my thinking. of course the spokespeople for these shoes can run fast and have six packs...they are professional athletes, or at very least, disciplined models who look like athletes... the commercials are geared towards suckers like myself, who think that with the latest shoes or shorts or whatever, i'll be more dedicated and work harder to get in shape....when in actuality, i'll still be lazy and neglect my gym membership...but just have new shiny shoes. it's taken a project like this, and a class like sociology, to realize the pull the media really has on people like me, the influence advertising and magazines "reviewing" the latest products has to get me to be unsatisfied with what i already have, and buy even more things....

all that being said, i had a really good day. after the gym, we went out to aurora to visit some friends we hadn't seen in a long time. it was good to just sit and chat with them, catch up on life and everything. good afternoon. we stopped for sushi on the way home, it was a very good dinner together, out of the house, enjoying eachother company. we came home, i am planning on jumping into bed and working through my bible study from the snuggly warmth of my bed. it was a really good day....and technically i didn't spend a dime!

Saturday, October 11

day 6: simple pleasures

so, today was a good day. i discovered the joy of producing things with my hands rather than wasting time watching tv or wondering aimlessly around colorado mills. i went to the grocery store, which was slightly tempting, but i think i did pretty good. i did spend a lot there, but pretty much on neccessities. i didn't even make a detour to starbucks when i got to the store...aren't you proud of me?

i decided to spend the afternoon baking and candle-making (as i mentioned last night) and it was a lot of fun. i made 5 big loaves and 3 small loaves of banana bread, 4 big loaves and 3 small loaves of pumpkin bread, a crock pot full of chili, two candles, wrapped three presents to be distributed tomorrow, and did a little fall-ish decorating. it was a very productive, yet relaxing day. i got a lot done, and i don't feel like the day was wasted at all. sometimes i peruse the library's time management books, but this week, not spending and shopping has given me more time. sounds simple, the less time i spend wasting at target or colorado mills...buying things i don't remotely need, the more time i have to do homework or take care of the know, all the things i stress out about doing any other week. funny how that works.

i have to admit, i did do some online shopping today, mostly for mat's christmas present. but, i didn't get anything...i'm going to wait for a sale!

tomorrow will be a good day. we get to spend the day together, which is always nice, but i won't have homework to be done nagging me in the back of my mind. we are going to church, maybe lunch with some friends, mat needs some new khakis for work, then we are heading out to aurora to see some friends we haven't seen in a while, and then some other friends from montana who are out here to bring the baby to childrens hospital. and, since we have bread coming out of our ears, we will be bestowing it upon all of those people....hehe. it was a really good day today, i feel very refreshed and recharged after having such a productive day. :) week down, one to go...

Friday, October 10

day 5: cheater cheater? food for thought...

ok, i admit.....i cheated slightly.
i promised [you-know-who] i would write about it... but i cheated by 80 cents. i wanted a candy bar, so i took some change from our jar at home. mat called me a "cheater cheater pumpkin eater".... i can't decide how i feel about it...did i really cheat? i think i kinda did. i mean, the whole idea is to not spend on impulsive, silly things i don't really "need"....but, comon, it's 80 cents. man, my twix sure was good.
today after work was a struggle for me. fridays are usually when i detour to target after work. mat usually works late, so there is no one to come home to, nothing (but homework) to do, so usually i mosey around target for a while. not today, my friends. i came straight home. i talked to mat for a while, and i've been doing homework ever since. it was hard to not stop by target for "things we need" but i think it would have been a slippery slope. and i don't want to fail. even when mat said i should go get myself something nice for getting an A(!!!!!!) on my sociology test, i didn't fall for the bait. it's important to me to finish this project and not give into the silly temptation to buy stupid things and indulge myself materialistically. i think i'm going to relax tonight, try to fall asleep on the couch, and tomorrow i'm going to do some baking and candle making (all that is left is butchering...get it? haha...) i am going to go to the grocery store, but i don't see that as cheating per se. if i can stick to the list.

so far, this has been an interesting project. overhearing some coworkers say "oh my gosh, those are so cute, i just want to go over there and buy some!" made me think about how strong our need for instant gratification can be. by our i mean...women? americans? young adults without kids? any of the above. it's hard to delay gratification and fall behind the "keeping up with the joneses" theory so many of us feel the pressure to maintain. for me not rushing out and impuslively buying things this week has given me a new appreciation for all the plentiful things i do have. i have a (nearly) fully stocked pantry--why am i eating out all the time? i have an overflowing closet--why do i feel the need to keep buying new clothes and shoes? i have shelves of unread books downstairs--why would i buy another one, simply because i like the author or the cover is pretty? i have a beautiful, rich, warm, love-filled home--why do i need to buy more "things" to make it look pretty or make me look "stylish" (i'm at a loss for words on this you know what feelings i'm refering to?) i am honestly overwhelemed with all the blessings i have; the fact that i keep feeling the need to buy more things is embarassing and shocking...and saddening a little bit.

i joyfully wrote a check for $18 for our compassion child's christmas gift the other day. i'm not saying this in any way to toot our horns or anything like that. i'm saying that to highlight this point--how would children (or "gracious" "mature" adults for that matter) react to recieving a gift worth (only) $18 for christmas--and that was your only christmas gift. to be honest, it would be really hard for me to be greatful with a new dvd as my only christmas gift. but this is all our little guy will probably get this christmas. and you know what.... he will, without a doubt, be floored by it. seriously puts some things in perpective for me. seriously.

Thursday, October 9

day 4: ten dollars well spent

so today was the day that some coworkers and i were to go out for lunch. thai lunch. we had been talking about it for weeks. first, when i started this whole project, they offered to buy me lunch and i could pay them back after my project.....which, i decided, rather defeated the purpose. i decided to either share with brandy, or just use my $10 wisely and go anyway. i couldn't miss out on thai iced tea....i had been thinking about it all week.

so, i went, and it really was amazing. i had soup for lunch...and my delicious thai iced tea. it was everything i hoped it would be and more. and i think that, since i hadn't had starbucks or anything else "extravagant" in the mornings all week, it was that much better. i'm beginning to understand the idea of a "treat" rather than just something i deserve. i'm also realizing that, just because my funds are limited, i can still have a good time.

i truly had a good time today with friends. something, honestly, i haven't experienced as much in colorado as i'd like. these moments have been few and far between, but the fact that they all wanted me to join them so much, that they were willing to lend me money, really meant a lot to me. even though it would have only been 10 or 12 bucks, the fact that these people wanted my company, and wanted me to experience a delicious new restaurant with them spoke volumes to me. and the fact that, through my careful budgeting, i was able to experience it with them is really meaningful to me. i know these are pretty profound thoughts for just a silly lunch, it was a profound lunch for me. i really take for granted our monetary situation, and the fact that, this week, i spent all my money for the week on one lunch is a big deal. but this project is teaching me to prioritize my money and really think about my purchases, rather than just blindly spend. so far, only four days in, this has been a really educational process.
i'm off to t-r-y and get some sleep....must be something about not spending money that is preventing me from sleeping well....haha!

Wednesday, October 8

day 3: are you kidding me?

i was so good this morning after my dentist appointment, i didn't even give starbucks a second thought (despite not sleeping well again last night...) i think it was the clean feeling of my teeth that i thoroughly enjoyed....and, side note, that i have no cavities..

this afternoon some women from work were mumbling about getting dairy queen....oh how i wanted a blizzard, or even just a dilly bar...but knowing that most of my money is already allocated for the week, i refused. fran even offered to pay for me, and i politely declined. i am proud of myself and my willpower. i might even lose some weight doing this whole project! :)

then.....i get home....and look what was in the mailbox. comon--are you kidding me?? pottery barn, crate and barrel (in my defense, that came a couple days ago, but i just now looked through it this afternoon) and a coupon for free bath & body works?? and yes, it touts things to help you sleep.... come on. for real? you can't make this stuff up people. i just don't understand it.

i think we are going to go to the gym now....i'll drool over the pottery barn stuff whilst i burn the calories from the pear i had, rather than my dairy queen. please understand i'm not at all bitter...i'm actually happy with myself. i'm realizing how quickly i usually fritter away our money. as mat put it yesterday "nickel and diming" it away. i really do. it's amazing how quickly a coffee today and a blizzard tomorrow can add up, and then i wonder why i always feel like we have no money. i am really learning about myself through this project, and how materialistic i can be.... even now looking at pottery barn, i want this desk so bad for my card-making stuff, when i have a perfectly good area already established downstairs, which did not cost me $$1,099 plus shipping and tax. interesting thoughts flowing through my head. i guess i'll just start working on a christmas list :)

Tuesday, October 7

day two: i'd like a starbucks

today was a little more difficult. i didn't sleep well again last night, and my ever-encouraging husband rolled over this morning and said "just leave for work early and stop at starbucks".... thank you darling. it was hard to not stop for a piping hot mocha. but, of course i remembered my project...and the fact that we have coffee at work...and the fact that i really shouldn't drink coffee anyway. i caved only slightly and had some coffee at work, but it was free.

other than my sleep deprived morning the day was pretty typical. i did homework at lunch and ate the lunch i packed. i went straight home after work, kept my blinders on, and didn't make a detour to target. although, i know the week will only get harder.....i am usually pretty focused and motivated at the beginning of the week...and as it progresses, i lose motivation and just want to peruse target. i'm going to have mat mail some things for me, because the post office i go to is right next to big lots....and they have killer scrapbooking supplies...and tons of other useless things that i "need". so far in this project i'm already seeing a pattern in needs and "needs".... it'll be interesting to see my insightfulness grow as the project progresses.

tomorrow morning i have a dentist appointment. i'm fairly sure it'll be more than my allotted $10, but i made the appointment a couple weeks ago, and since it's been over 2 years since my last dentist visit, i figure it's a legitimate need. i'm a little scared it is literally next door to a starbucks. must...stay....strong.

question....does it defeat the purpose to let my friends buy me lunch on thursday so that i can still go with them? especially if i will then owe them? i can't decide....oh i want thai food though. thoughts??

Monday, October 6

personal change project--day 1

so for my sociology class, i have to do a personal change project. what is that, you might wonder? to quote my syllabus "to make a personal change in your lifestyle for two weeks. if we can make a change, no matter how small, in ourselves, then it is possible that we can effect positive change in the larger social world. a great deal of sociology is done to foster change in larger society, but making a change in ourselves is the first step."

it took me a few days to decide what to do... several of my choices were put in a hat by my coworkers and, at first "do something new every day" was drawn. after allowing them most of the morning this morning to think of my "new thing" for today, i decided it would be too hard to think of 14 different "new things" to do. so i changed it to "spend no money needlessly" i decided that that is an area of my life i definitely need to curb, plus mat has no faith in me. so..i'll show him! i'm limiting myself to $10 cash for each week, and after that, i'm done spending. i have to journal about it every day, so i thought...what better way to journal than on my blog, to share it with...whoever is reading this. :)

so far today, i haven't spent any money. i guess in all fairness, i've only been "not spending" for 12 hours or so. i haven't even gotten my allowance. and mat did take me out for lunch. but i'm interested to see the change--no more going to target after work to avoid homework. no more online shopping. no more buying stupid things that we don't need, just because it's on sale or pretty looking. i say "no more" but really i'll likely only make it the two weeks and then have a list of things i'll want to buy. but this should prove to be an interesting two weeks. i already took all my credit cards out of my wallet. i kept my debit card case. it should be an interesting two weeks.

i was talking to one of my coworkers about it, telling her i was thinking about limiting myself to just $10, and she said "i can spend that in, like, 30 seconds... that's hardly two starbucks!!!" i said "that's kinda the point!" we'll see how i hold up. thanks for coming along for the journey. i'll try not to disappoint :)
i found this article on msn money today. it's a little old, but the idea is still the same. and i think this is the message board relating to it....interesting to hear how much $$ people saved by not spending for an entire month. and considering our savings seems to be at 0--what with a major plumbing issue, buying a new truck, and subsequently paying sales taxes on said new truck--our savings could definitely use a boost! and here is a fun blog i ran across...she does a month of not spending every summer. definitely inspirational!! thanks for bearing with me. any encouragement is welcome....stay tuned!

colorado springs

last weekend we had some (new) friends over from church to play games. thought i would share the yumminess that was that afternoon. i made a bunch of snackies and we played trivial pursuit--pop culture edition. it was a really fun weekend with some new friends. it will definitely be a regular occurrence on sunday afternoons at the smith house!!!

saturday we went down to colorado springs to spend the weekend with our friends, tyler and nicole. nicole is one of mat's really good friends from high school, and her husband is a tennis coach at the air force academy. they just moved down to colorado springs this summer, and it was high time we get down there to see them!! we tailgated with them and went to the football game. it was a lot of fun. after the game, we went to the golden bee, a piano bar in colorado springs. it was so much fun--i would have photos, but my camera battery died :( however, it was a g-r-e-a-t night with good friends. we are so glad to have them living closer!! yesterday we caught up with shilo at the outlet mall and spent a little time with her too. it's good to make new friends, but it's also great to have old friends living closer. it was such a fun weekend!!
(arg...these photos are driving me crazy...sorry they are so schizophrenic!!)