Year of Less – Week 2

Well, I completed my first week of my year of less successfully — sorta, kinda, okay not perfectly, but I still think it was a success.  As a reminder, the point was to have a week of NO spending.  Well, I knew that wasn’t going to happen because I had a grooming appointment for my dog scheduled, and I had planned to kennel her that night so that I could have a day where no one needed anything from me. I also knew I would need some fuel in my car as well.  Now, other than those expenses, I had planned to spend nothing else, eat what I had in the house already.  My first struggle was to prevent myself from online shopping. You know that company that you can have your stuff here in a couple of days, we are really close!  The UPS guy and mail lady feel like personal friends.  So when I thought of something I needed, I hopped online to put it in my cart, and then I had to stop myself from finishing the transaction.  This happened multiple times during the week, but I never hit buy. So pat on the back for me — although I did put some things in save for later and a couple of other things are sitting there waiting for the week to be over, which I need to reconsider as this is also not inline with the spirit of the year of less.  

Also, I have a soft drink addiction. I didn’t plan very well as I had only one left on my first day of the year.  I have a refund from an overpayment of a bill on a credit card with $5 on it, and I thought I’ll just use that, and I won’t be spending money, right. Well, the damn thing didn’t work.  I totally thought about just buying some, but figured I’d only be cheating myself so I’ve had zero soft drinks for a week!  And, it hasn’t been terrible. I did have a few carbonated waters, which probably helped, and I need to go to the grocery store today and plan on buying no soft drinks at all!  I don’t physically feel different yet, but I do feel proud of myself and that’s a good feeling. 
I tried to use that same credit card to put just a little gas in my car, but again, it did not work, so I decided to put in $10 only (takes $40-$50 for a full tank). I work from home so I don’t need much in fuel, and by having a no spend week, I haven’t gone anywhere else after picking up the dog at the groomer’s because I couldn’t spend and didn’t want to waste fuel. By the way, I did spend another unanticipated $5 when the groomer mentioned a special upgrade, and I said yes before even THINKING!

I ate from my pantry and refrigerator. I had sandwiches and soups and even found some frozen spaghetti I had completely forgotten about. When I ran out of chips, I had crackers. When I ran out of bread, I had soup. Did I have gourmet meals? No, but I had more than enough and could probably do at least another week that way with what I still have in the freezer. However, it would be easier if I had just a few other items like veggies and salad.  I did drink more coffee to supplement the lack of soft drinks, but I definitely drank a ton of more water than I have in a week’s time in decades. 

The only epic fail I had this week was a $23 expense for a computer software bundle that I tried to justify to myself was a business expense. It totally is a business expense, but I didn’t really have to buy it this week; the special didn’t end for another week at least. I believe I was having spending withdrawals and also didn’t want to forget that I needed that. Did you hear that??  “Didn’t want to forget that I needed that.”  I think that is a clear sign that I didn’t actually need that because if I did ACTUALLY NEED it then I wouldn’t have forgotten that I needed it!  Clear signal of error in judgment I can use the rest of the year!  Surely, that insight equals success for the first week.

Week 2 will be no spending on nonessentials. I can spend on food, fuel, household supplies. I don’t want to spend more than $60 at the grocery store for the week. I will allow myself to eat out twice at most.  I’d typically eat out about 4 times minimum in a week, especially a week when my mother is here, which will be next week.  So we’ll see how it goes.

My Year of Less – Week 1

It is January 1, 2017; the first day of my year of spending less.  I have been awake for about 2 hours and have already had to stop myself from spending twice. The first was if I should go to the donut shop for breakfast and the second was to see if there was a book on blogging I could order from Audible or Amazon.  Wow!  I was surprised by how quickly I had to implement my new lifestyle. This is going to be harder than I thought. 

The point of this year of less is to rein in my finances, to learn to live more modestly and to enforce some delayed gratification.   It is NOT, however, about cutting every luxury out of my life.  I hope to break it down to the essentials of contentment – the items needed in life to be satisfied the majority of the time. Happiness cannot be sustained, nor can sadness. Contentment has always been my goal in life, and I’ve kept looking for it in more things, even when I knew it was to be found within me and not outside of me.  I plan to pair down until I find that sweet spot where my contentment lies.

The goal of the first month is to trim most unnecessary expenses. I have been living without cable for 3 months now and will write a future post about that, what I replaced it with and how it’s going.  My next steps are to not buy anything that is not essential in maintaining the house, my health or my dog’s health.   As I’ve stated in the previous post, my house is full of STUFF!  Stuff to entertain, stuff to read, stuff to watch, stuff to eat, stuff to make things to eat, stuff for home improvement projects, stuff to make things to sell, stuff and more stuff.  So this first week is to utilize the stuff I already have to entertain myself, to feed myself, to get through the first week of my year of less by not spending anything, except on fuel for my car, if needed, and that means not filling up the tank.   There are plenty of leftovers put in the freezer from the holidays, and I have sandwich makings as well so food should be covered.  Entertainment with television, books, movies, old magazines and other hobbies should be covered. I can’t think of anything else I should NEED this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.