Friday, February 27, 2009

We did it!

This morning I just realized that tomorrow is the last day of the month and that we actually did our "no spending". Yippee! The kids and I did a little dance this morning to celebrate while Haley sang, " We did it! We did it!" a la Dora.

It seriously has gotten so much easier as the month progressed. I really do think that at least I have changed how often I think about spending money. Here are some more of the observations I have had over the last month.

*I have a lot more time when I'm not running errands several times a week.

*We still have had so much fun as a family. I think I was worried that I would get bored this month or not have anything to do. But, we have done so many things and almost all of our usual things. We've been swimming at the rec center about 4 times and we'll probably go tonight. We've been to 2 BYU basketball games and there's another one tomorrow. I still take Haley to story time at the library and to dance class. It's just that we don't follow that up with shopping or eating out which is really good. I didn't realize how often we go out to eat or grab a treat or whatever after some sort of activity. That's a really bad habit to have and hopefully this month will help me break it. We went to the Bean Museum and then had a picnic one day. I workout with friends almost daily and play basketball every week. Anyway, it was just good for me to see that most of the things I really enjoy doing are free (or already paid for by passes/season tickets) so I really don't have to spend money to enjoy myself.

*It is so liberating to walk into a store and not be tempted AT ALL by all the good deals and good food. I had to go to Macey's to get some rolls for a funeral luncheon (before we started this we made the exclusion for church things (tithing, fast offerings, activities, dinners etc.) because those are things that are important to us) and I loved being able to walk in, go straight to the bakery, pick up the one thing I needed and walk out without even looking at all the other things that I don't need but end up buying anyway. It was such a great feeling.

*Confessions: I did end up buying gas last week. There were a few trips to Salt Lake that I hadn't anticipated and I got low quicker than I thought I would. That would have been fine, we could have walked to and from school and church for a week, but I had to take Haley to a hearing test with the district audiologist in Lindon. When we left, the light for the gas was already on, so I knew I would have to get gas. But, I purposely just got a little bit so that I wouldn't just drive all over the place for the rest of the month. The purpose of this challenge was to help us cut out the unnecessary spending, not really to save on gas anyway. But, maybe I'm just making excuses.

*Another confession: I bought some tights yesterday for Haley's dance class. Her other pairs all had runs or holes all of a sudden. Maybe because she insists on wearing dance clothes pretty much 24/7. Anyway, I probably should've just made her go tightless even though they really aren't supposed to, but I guess I was just not in the mood to be that cheap. Somehow I justified it because it was only a couple days before the end of the month and we had done so well all month. Oh well, I guess I can't be perfect. :)

*I meant to write about this earlier, but I never got a chance. Right after I wrote my last update post I had mentioned that we would have to go buy milk for the second half of the month. We were totally okay with that and had planned on it all along. Well, that night, my nephew Hyrum slept over at our house. When his dad came the next day to pick him up, he said, "I have some things for you." Then he pulled out some grocery bags filled with snacks and a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs. It was the nicest thing! In fact, I got a little teary-eyed later telling Jason about it. Then, the next Saturday, my two brothers showed up on their way home from grocery shopping with another gallon of milk for us. It was so thoughtful. So, we have a day left and still plenty of milk. I have such a wonderful family. It was so great to see that other people cared about our silly little challenge. I have had so many other people ask us about it and how it's going and take interest in what we are doing.

*I am so surprised that we still have food in our cupboards, freezer, and fridge. I really thought that by the end of this month we would have to get really "creative" with the things we were eating. But, we have been able to eat meals that are pretty much our regular meals. In fact, I think our kitchen is more stocked today than it is normally--weird. I way over bought on a lot of things so we will have plenty for the next few months. We even spaced the treat type of foods out better than I thought. This has been very good for me to know better how much we need to spend on groceries and the kinds of things that we go through quickly, etc. Surprisingly, I think we can spend a lot less on groceries each month than I anticipated. I will definitely be a smarter shopper now after doing this experiment.

I have learned so much in this past month, but this post has taken me longer than I thought to write. I want to make this a regular thing that we do because I know that I always have to "relearn" things. We may do it once a year or a couple times a year, who knows. But, hopefully, we'll just be able to remember what we've learned and not be so wasteful and spendy. I think everyone should try it for a month just to discover your own spending habits and thought processes--it's very enlightening.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Mother's Job

Britton (a few minutes ago): "I wish the kids could live all by themselves. Then we could have all the fun that we want."
(Pauses to think)
"But, then we'd have to eat garbage."

It looks like I'm doing my job well--keeping the kids from having too much fun AND from having to eat garbage.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"No Spending" Update

Well, the month is half over and here is the run down for how it's going with not spending any money. So far, so good.

*I had to buy some children's tylenol when we ran out last week when Britton was sick.
* I was completely unprepared for Valentine's Day at school. This is the first year I've had a kid in school, so it's not something I really think about. When I planned for the month, I actually did think about it, but more in the context of me and Jason and I figured I could make a special dinner and we could do something at home or something free. But, I didn't want to make Britton not have something to take to school. My original intentions were to have him MAKE valentines and treats so that we still didn't have to spend money, but my week was too crazy and that didn't happen. So, last night at about 10:00 I ran to the store for valentines.

And that is all the money we've spent so far. I'm pretty pleased.

However, I think the next two weeks will be harder. I'm to the point where I really have to conserve on gas if I'm going to make it through the month. So, I'll probably be starting to walk a lot more often. We have plenty of food, but we are getting low on some of our favorites, mostly the snacky treaty types of food. So, I'm going to have to be more organized about planning out meals and cooking ahead since most of the easy-to-grab-at-the-last-minute things are gone. I will have to buy milk soon too, but that is something that I planned because I really didn't know what to do about that. I thought about trying to freeze milk or use powdered milk which both probably would've worked. But, in the end, we just decided milk was the one thing we would buy midway through the month.

I've been really happy with this experiment so far. The first few days, it seemed like every time I was in the car, I thought about grabbing some food or a treat or something or running to the store. So, I had to subconsciously remind myself that I couldn't spend money. But, it really only lasted a few days. Now I rarely even think about spending money. I am really surprised how quickly my thought habits have changed.
Another thing that I have noticed is how much food my kids waste. I guess I knew they did before but now, knowing that I can't just run to the store when we're out of something, it bothers me more. Seeing the half a cup of milk on the table or the bowl of uneaten cereal didn't really phase me before. Now it seems like I'm always saying, "Don't ask for food unless you're actually going to eat it!" I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing. I think it's good for my kids to be more aware of what they are wasting and try not to do it, but I don't want to always be nagging them either.
I am amazed at how dedicated my kids are about this too. They will ask for things, out of habit, and I will just say, "We can't get that right now, it's February." And they are just fine with that. No fits. No tantrums. They don't even complain or say that they can't wait until February is over. The other night, I had planned to take Haley with me to the BYU basketball game. At the last minute Britton decided he wanted to go too, but we only had 2 tickets. He really wanted to go. I said that maybe we could make an exception and buy him a ticket, but he didn't want me to do that. He ran into his room, got his wallet, and pulled out all his money. We counted it up and he had enough to buy a ticket. He still had some change leftover so he wanted to buy a brownie at the game. I offered to take his change and just pay for his brownie so they wouldn't have to count it all out, but he said, "No, you can't spend any money, I'll just buy it." It was so cute. We had such a fun time at the game. The whole way home he kept saying, "I'm sure glad I had enough money to go."
Last week I had to buy some things for some church stuff (things that would be reimbursed). When I got out my wallet to pay for it, Britton practically yelled, "Mom, but you can't spend any money." It was kind of embarrassing. I explained to him that it was okay because it was for church and I would be getting the money back. I'm just so happy that he is so dedicated to helping us do this.
I have had to say "no" to a lot of things already. Things that I normally would say "yes" to. Some are things that I really like to be able to do, but most of the things are things I say "yes" to but don't really need to (and probably really shouldn't). Even though I've said "no" to things, I really don't feel like I've missed out on anything. I think this is a really good thing for me to realize. I am not a huge spender as far as shopping goes, but I do love to get out and do things like go to movies and out to eat. But, it's good for me to see that I can have really fun times with my friends and family without spending money.
Well, I will post more updates and more things that I have learned/realized as they come. I think the next two weeks will be more challenging, so wish us luck!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One to Remember

Yesterday Haley and I were walking to pick Britton up from school. She insisted on bringing her notebook and pen to draw as were walking.

At one point she turned to me and said, "Can you please carry these for a minute?"

I took the notebook and pen and then she said, "I have a situation in my bum" as she started adjusting her underwear.

It was probably the funniest thing I have ever heard. And the way she says "situation" is just priceless.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday did not turn out the way I had planned, but thanks to my family, it was still a great day.

Britton woke up, burning up with fever and with a sore throat and a cough. I knew he was too sick to go to school. I had quite a few things planned throughout the day that I was really looking forward to, but I knew I would have to cancel some of them to take care of Britton.

Britton asked if he could have a blessing, so we called my dad to help Jason give it. My dad was here in just a few minutes. It's so great that he's always willing to come over at a minutes notice. Thanks Dad!

Jason volunteered to go a little bit late to work so that I could go to my aerobics class. It's not really a class. A friend of mine who lives around the block has a dance studio in her house, so we've been getting together to do my Turbo Jam DVDs. We decided it would be really fun to have a group get together once a week, so yesterday was our first day with the group and I really didn't want to miss it. Thanks Jason!

In the afternoon, Haley had dance class. I really didn't want to make her miss it. When she got up in the morning, she immediately put her leotard and tights on. Several hours before she asked me if she could go. When I told her it didn't start for 2 1/2 hours, she said, "We can just wait in the waiting room." Needless to say, she was more than a little excited for it. So, I called my mom and she was more than willing to take Haley so that I could stay home to take care of Britton. Then, she took Haley over to her house to play for the rest of the day and I was able to just snuggle with Britton and take a nap with him. Thanks Mom!

In the evening, we had planned to have my mom watch the kids so we could go to parent/teacher conferences and then to our ward temple night. I wasn't sure if my mom would still want to knowing that Britton was sick, but she didn't mind at all. It was so great getting to go to the temple. We have been so busy lately and Jason and I rarely have anytime to spend together. It was so nice to be together in such a peaceful place. Thanks again Mom!

While we were at the temple, Jon and Mijoung offered to take Haley swimming with them. She was so happy and had such a good time. She ended up having such a fun day because of all the things people took her to do. Thanks Jon and Mijoung!

I am so glad that we have so much family nearby and that they are always happy and willing to help. What a blessing!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Flashback

I just found these videos of Christmas 2007 when we were in China. It's actually not Christmas Day, we did our "Christmas morning" early, before we left for Thailand. Anyway, I thought I would post these videos.
video video