Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Coming Clean on the January Spending Freeze

Life According to Steph

In January I embarked on a January Spending Freeze with fellow money saving warriors MJ at Luck Fupus, Erin at Love, Fun & Football, and KP at Clueless with Cash. Today is the day to put it all out there, and if you joined us, to grab the button above and link up your post! Non-bloggers, please leave your thoughts/results in the comments below or comment on my facebook link.

The Rules I Played By
1. Spending freeze lasts from January 1 - January 31.
2. No outings that are not budgeted for prior to 1/1 - no impromptu lunches, dinners, or nights out. Example: I have a Coach Bingo on 1/11, an outing on 1/18, and a dinner on 1/25. They are all in the budget and okay to spend money on (but I must stay within the amount that's been budgeted).
3. No purchases that are not budgeted for prior to 1/1 - no daily coffee runs, shiny baubles at Target, books, etc. I am allowed to purchase one DD coffee per week.
4. Once you set your rules, live by them. Prepare a post or comment here on 2/4 to share how you did.

Here are my results.
January 1 budgeted outing: $65 under budgeted amount. I did not feel the need to shoot my leftover wad on something else just because I could, setting the tone for the rest of the month. Winning. 

Realizations, January 3 & 4: I am superior, saint-style person
Snowed and iced in. I peruse some of my favorite online shopping sites but avoid buying anything, which results in me feeling like a saint-style person a la Bridget Jones.

Realizations, January 5: Pumped for budgeted purchases, even if they are furniture
I had some additional income in December and set that money aside for this purchase after Christmas stuff came down in January. I've never been more giddy to buy a lamp and chair before. 

Date of infraction: January 7
Purchased: Down Jacket from Land's End
Amount: $99
With: Visa debit
Note:  After nearly six years of commuting, I couldn't take not having a knee length warm winter coat for one more fucking day. Too many days of commuting in windchills of -18 caused me to have a Polar Vortex breakdown. Thankfully, knee-length down coats were 50% off at Land's End. BOOM. 
Lesson: This is a big hit to the spending freeze, but I don't feel even a little bad about making the purchase. I've thanked my fucking stars that I bought this pretty much every single day since I received the box because the rest of January was brutally cold and precipitous. 
January 10 budgeted outing for my soon to be sister-in-law's birthday: $16 under budgeted amount. 
January 11 budgeted outing for Coach Bingo fundraiser: $12 under budgeted amount

Date of infraction: January 14
Purchased: Two bottles dry shampoo
Amount: $13.42
With: Debit
Note: Sweet Brown ain't got the time nor the inclination to wash her hair every day. When I realized I ran out last week, I tried to make do with powder but it wasn't cutting it. I can't be walking around looking like Caspar the Friendly Hair Ghost. 
Lesson: Check your stash of shit before beginning a spending freeze.
January 14 budgeted outing dinner with my oldest friend: $8.50 under budgeted amount

Date of infraction: January 17
Purchased: Two super bowl blocks in a block pool
Amount: $10
With: Cash
Note: I considered pawning this expense off on MFD but I'm the one who committed to it so I need to be accountable for it. 
Lesson: Before you say, "I'm in," remember you're on a Spending Freeze, dumbass. 

Date of infraction: January 17
Purchased: Museum tickets. Just kidding. BEER.
Amount: $20
With: Cash
Note: MFD was playing at a bar with Hank, and my presence was required. I found out about this outing on January 12 so I couldn't budget for it ahead of time. 
Lesson: I need to build a line into monthly budgets for things that come up. 

Date of infraction: January 22
Purchased: Living Social deal to All Fired Up (pottery painting studio)
Amount: $13 for $30
With: Paypal transfer from bank account
Note: Marla made me do it. I mean, I've been wanting to do it, but she lured me in with promise of a girls day and lunch after with her and Brie
Lesson: A deal is a deal, and sometimes you need to go for a rare business opportunity, which is what Marla calls these types of things.  

Total saved from budgeted outings: $101.50
Total spent on non-budgeted items or outings: $145.42

My goal for the month was to buy two bridesmaid dresses (I had half saved from December) and put aside money for hair for two of the three weddings I'm in this year. I also wanted to pay off remaining Christmas debt (minimal). I did all of those things with the money I wasn't spending mindlessly. I also only picked up dairy and produce from the grocery store, cooking mainly out of the freezer and pantry, which helped me with my bottom line.  

Saturday I went to Target, my first day off of the freeze, and stuck to my list. There was much joy throughout the land. I also planned February purchases so I don't go hog wild:  a bookcase for the basement to replace broken storage down there, a Buddah candle holder, black flats, a new cross body bag, and two Alex & Ani bracelets. 

And you? How did you make out?

Today is World Cancer Day. To join my Relay For Life team or donate to me, click here. I will Relay until no one has to hear the words, "You have cancer."
Did you enter to win $50 to The Container Store yesterday? Get on it!
 photo redsig_zps5103b6e2.jpg

View 2013 no spend months here: (My Dirty Book of Shame - Spending Freeze Diary Violations and Realizations), my March spending freeze (Spending Freeze Book of Sin - I Veruca'd Myself), or my No Spend September (Sinful Admissions of a No Spend September).

45 comments:

  1. A coat when you have to commute in this winter hell is totally a necessity! I think you did great! If I do another spending freeze I will definitely follow your lead and allow myself one coffee per week. I'm not cut out to give up Tim Horton's! Also pretty sure dry shampoo falls into the necessity column as well! I sure couldn't live without it! Thanks for hosting this - it helped me not spend to alleviate my winter boredom in January!

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  2. Wow, props to you for even attempting something like this! I would fail immediately, as I am a big emotional shopper. It is my therapy when I am having a bad day. Especially this time of year. Maybe when the weather gets better I will have the energy to try something like this! Great job!

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    1. Thanks Liz! The winter ones are tough because I like to start buying spring things to take my mind off of winter. hahaha I'll be doing another in April, hope you can join in!

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  3. We both did really great, although Daryl says he has been on a spending freeze for 51 years, so it was no BFD for him. I like to hibernate and stay at home, and the spending freeze was the perfect excuse. However, I fell off the wagon a bit toward the end of the month with a couple of fast food lunch purchases when my schedule got hectic and I couldn't plan as well as I like. All cash, though, so the Amex didn't take a hit. On February 1st, I marched into the running store and purchased swanky new running shoes that were about 29 days overdue for me...many bucks, but again, paid cash so no Easter eggs on the Amex. The spending freeze was a success for us - a good hit of the reset button.

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    1. MFD was not on the freeze either, Laura. Our spending $$ is separate, so I couldn't force it! But like Daryl he doesn't typically spend as much as me, and one of his major purchases was snow boots, which are a necessity here this winter.

      Congrats on your new shoes - with cash!

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  4. You did fantastic Dahling! If it weren't for that coat, it would have been an amazing victory! But, that coat was NEEDED. You have go keep warm if SEPTA's not gonna be on time. A most successful month! Can't wait til April (NOT!)

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  5. This is great. I am really trying to get a handle on our spending and our budget. Do you think you're going to do another Spending Freeze soon? I'd love to join you.

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  6. you did awesome! i messaged you before about this but we were inadvertently doing a january spending freeze and didn't even know it until jan was halfway done. we didn't track our savings vs spending but when i got my cc bill, i didn't freak out and actually SMILED which is a rare thing.

    kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  7. This was fun to keep track of (as fun as budgeting can be, anyway). I never realized how my dumb little trips to Wal-mart for trail mix (which turned into $40 grocery runs for no reason) were adding up.
    If only I could get Scott on board….I think he spent MORE than usual this month.

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  8. You did great. The coat was totally necessary being on a train platform with the crazy temps in January. This freeze really just made me want to spend more, but I manage to keep the damage to a minimum. I do budget in a small clothing allowance and entertainment so it was minimal. It was fun though.

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  9. I can't believe you didn't comment this time on missing your DD fix! Did you have gift cards or go cold turkey? I was thinking that I had accidentally done this along with you but then remembered a few Target trips I went on where several non-necessities were purchased. Oh, and all the going out to eat. Oops.

    And that coat looks so cozy. Glad it was half off because clearly it was needed!

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  10. Excellent job. We are watching what we spend, Rich makes the call on unnecessary purchases- like a case of wine from our local winery. And a surprise anniversary dinner. I am using what I have and made an amazing spinach lasagna last night. This weather makes me want to buy everything so I never run out and can make and bake whatever I want!
    Happy to have what I have and especially a nice, warm home. Carpe diem! The ice storm and all future storms need to veer off out to sea.
    Love your MOMMA

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  11. I don't at all blame you for buying that coat- this winter has been so stinking COLD!! Totally worth it.

    We all have a few slip ups- but you did awesome coming in under budget on the things you were planning for!

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  12. That purple chair is awesome!!

    I think you should consider that coat a necessity, you can plan for a polar vortex.

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  13. You did awesome and GIRL! I bought almost an identical coat from Land's End last year when they were 50% off. BEST. INVESTMENT. EVER. Seriously the warmest coat I've ever owned, so good choice!!!

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  14. So maybe I quit the spending freeze two weeks in. ER bills, prescriptions, Chris getting a new job and needing new work clothes, snow stranding us and forcing us to go out to eat and spend extra money, I basically gave up. Oops. Maybe next time.

    You did awesome! I don't blame you for purchasing the coat with those temps!!! You might not have been around to write about said infraction because you might have become a popsicle! Half off sounds like a win anyways.

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  15. Love the Bridget Jones quote. :) You did a great job-- and don't even feel sorry about the coat. This winter has me thinking that the probability of contracting malaria in a country like Belize sounds like an acceptable risk to take.

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  16. I love the infraction dates, hahaha! I sucked this month, totally blew the bank. womp womp.

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  17. I think I need that coat, so basically I am doing the opposite of this post and wanting to spend money instead of going on a spending freeze.

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  18. I think you still rocked this challenge!

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  19. Nice work! Spending freeze should include being dressed for the freeze, so that doesn't really count :) Can you send me more info on the Relay for Life to my email? I'll talk to Justin about it. I've never participated before, but it might work this year.

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  20. You achieved your goals of getting the dresses/hair paid for so I think you did really well! I am continuing with a chill this month and hoping for a second one in a row of not dipping into savings!

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  21. I think you did pretty dang good....a lot better than me!! And that coat...you are a trooper that you lasted as long as you did without one...and you can't say no to Super Bowl squares...it's a must!

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  22. Dry shampoo is such a necessary product...literally who has time to wash their hair everyday?!? Looks like you did really well! I am starting my spending freeze because weddings are so stupid expensive!

    Amanda
    Meet @ the Barre

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  23. well, you did really really good, you need dry shampoo although i buy the cheap shit and i think it works great!! that coat, you needed that and we all need beer to stay sane.

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  24. Sounds like you did pretty awesome in my mind!! I didn't officially do the freeze (because I didn't prepare for it), but I've been thinking about it every time I see something on the internet I want. I haven't made any purchases online since Christmas - yay!

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  25. The museum, excuse me beer, was funny! The jacket - that shouldn't even count. That's a life or freeze situation in your neck of the woods. And it will be around for years to come! You did awesome though. No coffee!!! I failed like 5 days into the month. I need to work on my budget more!! Haha.

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  26. Wow, it sounds like a good month! I love hearing about the planning and decision making that happened for each purchase!

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  27. haha date of infraction!! I love it a lot, you did good homie!!

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  28. sounds like you did a good job! the coat was obviously necessary. with all this crappy weather and having to commute to work too, I am bitter everyday that I didn't buy warm/waterproof boots at the beginning of January. I need to do a casual version of a no-spend month where I just plan ahead my purchases better, so I don't spend $90 at target (like I did over the weekend).
    -- jackie - jade and oak

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  29. I'm so impressed with how you did, nice job! And you dominated at Target after the freeze was over?! Epic. Saint style. I think I'm going to do a freeze for March. I'm really close on knocking out all debt - credit card/paypal/student loans so if I do a no spend march I think I can make it!
    Also, I really want a coat like that but I'm allergic to down and all of them seem to have f-ing feathers. Damn feathers.

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  30. I think you did pretty great!! I love how you called it "date of infraction." A nice, warm coat is definitely a necessity!

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  31. We always get hit by those randoms. But I have to agree: this polar vortex stuff has been the crappers. I don't blame you for the coat purchase one bit! The chair is lovely by the way.

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  32. Am I the only one who is sad that there is no haiku for haikuesday??

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    1. Not that I am not suitably impressed with your non-spending prowess by any means! Yay money-saving! I am just always entertained by the haikus on Tuesdays :)

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    2. Ah hahaha Erin! I figured I had too much shit in here already to include a haiku too. Never fear, Haikuesday is back next week.

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  33. You did good!! I started really strong and then... well, not so much. I'm trying it again this month. We'll see!

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  34. I am impressed you did so well in Target. That's where I get in trouble the most.

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  35. I can't believe you went to Target on the FIRST day of your spending freeze. That takes some balls of STEEL right there!

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  36. This is EXCELLENT and was so good for me to read. I'm doing a "spending freeze" this February (yaaaa I picked the shortest month of the year, lol!) but I'm 4 days in and doing great ... except I'm DYING for a Starbucks lol

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  37. You did great! Do you ever notice how some things, no matter where you buy them or which brand, are always super expensive? Case in point: shaving razors. I mean, have you seen the prices for replacement blades? Our name is Dorco, and while you may not have heard of us yet, we're putting an end to overpriced razors in the U.S. and Canada. We are a manufacturer of high quality shaving systems, cartridges and disposable razors for men and women. Our razors cost up to 70% less than leading brands, so chances are you're paying way too much. You don't have to sacrifice quality to save so much, though. Our razors are crafted with the highest quality blades and lubricating strips containing moisturizing ingredients like aloe and vitamin E to soothe and hydrate even the most sensitive skin. Read what others think about our products and our prices at DorcoUSA.com. Thanks for hearing us out, and for sharing this lovely post with us!

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  38. This is great! I am already doing this for the month of February! I've done it two other times and was sucessful with not spending ANY extra money at all.

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  39. You were way more successful than I was! I learned a lot of same lessons you did - the hard way, unfortunately, but at least I learned them! And now I'm taking what I learned and making sure February is a lot more successful on the financial front :)

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  40. I loved having things budgeted this time around, but agree I needed an "as things come up" budget. Every time I do this I learn something new about my spending habits!

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