Spending Fast/No Buy will start in July

The Mr. and I decided we will be starting our spending fast in July.   However, we have 2 weddings to attend.  The first is during fourth of July weekend for my best friend and is local.  The 2nd wedding is 3 hours away for hubby’s cousin.  We planned on giving each couple $100 cash gift.  For the cousin’s wedding, we have to pay for lodging because it will also be sort of a family reunion since a lot of his family lives abroad.  This was already planned and the money has been set aside in our ING direct account.  Even though it’s already planned and we have the funds available to go, I’m feeling guilty for having to spend that money.  I would rather keep it and use it towards paying off our debt.  But, Mr. has insisted we go since we care about these people and it would mean a lot to them for us to show up.

We have a huge problem with eating out and spending money on little things.  We don’t splurge on a lot of big ticket items but the small purchases add up.  I had to make sure that Mr. and I really know what we are up against.  I told him that unless it is one of our immediate family’s birthdays or weddings, we are not accepting any invitations to go out to eat or to happy hours after work.  Mr. was a little skeptical but he said he would try.  We are both really social people so this is going to be really tough for both of us.  We brainstormed a bit on things we can do that won’t cost a lot of money :

  • have potlucks at our place and invite our friends over.
  • Hang out with my sisters at my house instead of going shopping and lunches.
  • Take the kids to the park to play instead of to the arcade.
  • Use the library system to check out books instead of buying them.
  • Have garage sales to get rid of our unwanted/unused household items.  Purge, purge, purge!
  • Plan our grocery shopping based on what is on sale and what we have coupons for.  I won’t be going crazy the like the extreme couponers on TLC but I’m hoping that I won’t have to pay too much money for stuff my family actually uses (e.g. toiletries, cleaning items, chicken stock, cereal, juice, milk etc.).
  • I’m looking into getting produce from the farmer’s market to try and lower our costs even more.
  • I want to cut cable but Mr. is resisting the idea because according to him I’m sucking the joy out of our life and that is the one thing he wants to keep.
  • Stop going to Target, Costco etc for random things.  We always end up with other stuff and it costs us lots of money.
  • STOP EATING OUT.  STOP BUYING LATTES.  I cannot tell you how much we waste money on these two things.  I think one way to curb the lattes is to buy a used espresso machine from craigslist this month.  My co workers keep telling me that it will pay for itself within a month or two.  The eating out….it’s mostly because I’m too tired lazy to pack it the night before.  What the Mr. and I have decided to do is not take our debit cards with us to work and will lock it up.  We will make sure our gas tank is filled every Sunday so we won’t run out of gas and happen to wander into restaurants/bars/etc after pumping gas.  Instead, we will come straight home. We decided that since I do 99% of the cooking, after dinner is done he will pack our breakfast/lunch for the following day.

What we will spend money are:

  1. Female personal items
  2. Hair cut/color (my hair is crazy curly and I’m going grey from all my stress).  I only get my hair done 3-4 times a year, though.
  3. Necessary toiletries (toothpaste, floss, facewash, facecream, deodorant, razors etc)
  4. Groceries
  5. Gas to get to and from work
  6. Running shoes in July, which should last me until January 2012.
  7. Bills – Mortgage, Car Insurance, Utilities, Daycare, Gas, Gym
  8. School stuff for munchkins (clothes and supplies)

Hopefully, Mr. and I (along with our munchkins) will learn that we don’t need things to be happy.  We just need each other to have fun and live a full life.  I know we can do this, even if we might fail at times.  With all the money that I’m hoping to save, I want to tackle and pay off my student loans in the next 12 months.

 

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