Friday, April 24, 2009

30 Day Challenge

Some might think I'm crazy for putting this out there, but this blog started as a way to keep family & friends up to date and now has almost become a journal or diary (I hate the way that word sounds) for me. It's were I've started to come to vent, celebrate, and ramble. Moving on... I figure if I talk about it on here then it makes it real and me more responsible to stick to it. So, here we go....

First, I have a confession...I am a shopaholic. I know it. I have watched a special on it on Oprah and I have the signs. I buy something 90% of the time I walk into a store. I buy stuff off my credit cards and then hide the purchases from my husband. I have many times lied about the cost of things. Plus, I can always justify a purchase. Though I would not be compared with the Shopaholic movie in the fact I buy only designer clothes, I do buy most of my stuff on sale and I buy a lot of it. Majority of my social activities revolve around shopping. And yes, I have several things in my closet at the moment still with tags on them and shoes that have never been worn.

That being said, I will share the rest of the situation. To be completely honest, we ran into a pickle yesterday. Without sharing too much information, basically a check was mistakenly not written down in the check book and it was cashed yesterday. It was forgotten about, we were not expecting it and had already spent too much money this week. So because of that, we are left with a certain amount of money till next pay day which happens to be 7 days from now. At first, I freaked. How are we to live on on $__ the next seven days?

I freaked and then got mad. I was mad at myself because it was a realization that we do not live on our "budget." This is something I and we have always struggled with even when we were barely surviving. We have some bad financial habits that we definitely need to break and soon.
I was mad because I am a big reason for why we cannot stay on a budget. I go over our "budget" every week.

We have already started taking steps to be more responsible financially but we still have a long way to go. The first, we have stopped using credit cards and are working to pay them off. We've already paid off two this year and they haven't been used since. All my credit cards but two have been cut up and I've only used them three times this year.

The other issue is our biggest weakness is food. We eat out constantly. We have actually started doing better about this also. I used to be very bad about going to the grocery store and spending $120 on a weeks worth of groceries and then deciding we didn't want to eat that and go out. We no longer do this, but we still eat out a good bit. In fact, if you added it up (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner) we realistically eat out at least 15+ meals out of 21 a week.

So with all that on the table, I had what we call down here "a coming to Jesus meeting" last night. David made a list of what we've spent the past 26 days and made three columns that contained our weaknesses...Clothes, Walmart, and Out to Eat. I was seriously shocked to see how much money we actually spend on those things and it was only 26 days, not even a full month. It was a wake up call.

While cleaning (that's when I get my thinking done), I took a good look at myself and my issues and realized that a change needs to be made. I have heard others try this before and I figured I would challenge myself. I am not going to spend anything on myself for the next 30 days. The only items I am allowed to buy are needed hygienic items & food. No clothes, no books or magazines, no purses, and nothing for Olivia for the next 30 days. We are also limiting our eating out to only 2 meals a week and only 1o meals out per month.

This is going to be a struggle. Especially for me. But I realized that thinking the reason I should do this because it's the right thing to do is no longer a factor. I realized I need to do this for Olivia. I don't want Olivia growing up with the thinking everytime she walks into a store she gets something. I want her to have other activities than shopping. I don't want her to be three and waking up in the morning asking what store are we going to today? I don't want her to be materialistic like her momma. I want her to realize it's the simple things in life that mean the most, not the clothes you wear or purses you carry. Plus, we need to stop our going out to eat because I don't want to teach Olivia bad eating habits at such a early age. I don't want her begging to eat at McDonald's every day like I have witnessed other kids before. I know these are things that need to change now and not after Olivia gets here.

Like I said, this is going to be a big struggle for me. I know that may sound superficial of me, but it's the truth. It's one of those things that sounds easier than it actually is. I figured putting this on here and out in the open makes me more responsible to carry it out. I figured at least once a week I'll post to keep up on how I'm doing with it. I have already talked to my "shopping partner" and she understands why I will be staying out of the stores. So there it new challenge for the next 30 days.

To make a good start on my first day of my new challenge, I raided the pantry & freezer tonight when I got home and already planned a menu for the next seven days. Using majority of what we already have in the fridge, we went to walmart to buy the rest of what we needed and I spent only $27 to complete the seven meals for a week. We have never ate on $27 a week ever. We are use to spending $27 a meal. I was pretty happy with myself and impressed David. Now we just have to stick with it and luckily this week don't really have a choice.

So, here's to a good start to a new beginning!

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Awwhh, I'm proud of you!! Believe is hard. Mike calls me "The Swiper." LOL. I'll be praying for you, because I KNOW it's like a drug to wanna go in a store, and buy atleast one thing. Isn't it crazy how doing that can make you feel??