Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Essential Living

After watching my savings account slowly, but surely, dwindle little by little, I have decided that I need to do something proactive. One of my biggest flaws is that I am a spender. I love to buy stuff. Granted, I usually try to find great deals on the things that I buy, but I'm spending all the same. I have come to the realization that much of what I spend is on non-essential luxuries, so I have decided to challenge myself.

My challenge is going to be called Essential Living. In this challenge, I will attempt to limit all spending to only items that are essential for every day life. Things such as food, basic household goods and gifts for family and friends who have birthdays or baby showers coming up will be considered essential. It will officially start on June 1, but don't worry, I'm not going to go hog-wild and spend a bunch of money in the last few days of May! I will buy only essentials for the rest of May, but these next few days will be days in which I can research and refine my challenge and look for tips on frugal living. I don't know how long I want this challenge to last, but it will be for no less than 30 days. Here are the ground rules I've given myself:

1. Before buying anything, ask myself: can I live without it? If I can, put it back.
2. Purchase produce, poultry and eggs at the Farmer's Market when available. All other groceries should be bought at Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar Stores (or other discount stores). Specialty items should be few.
3. Find coupons and start using them.
4. Find free things to do to amuse myself besides shopping (window shopping is allowed but probably not advisable).
5. Put all credit cards in file folders in my filing cabinet.
6. Use what I already have (example: don't buy new lotion because I'm tired of the scent of the old stuff).
7. Buy only what I'll eat for the week so as not to waste food, which is money down the drain.
8. Necessary work-related activities are considered essentials (i.e., luncheons which are usually paid for or reimbursed anyway). However, happy hours are not essential if not paid for by the firm.

I will allow myself one non-essential purchase each month (assuming I can survive longer than 30 days on this challenge!). However, the non-essential purchase can be no more than $30.

This is going to be a "challenge in progress" for me so bear with me as I continue to learn and create my master plan!

So, does anyone have any tips to help me in my challenge? Does anyone want to join me take the Essential Living Challenge for the month of June? I dare you...


complicatedv said...

i'll take the challenge with you! i'm the exact same way and i do need to save more money, especially since i know i'm going to take a loss on my condo if i can ever sell it. what about going out to eat? or throwing a party?

Themis0307 said...

Yay! A challenge buddy!

For me, going out to eat is a luxury so unless it's work-related or paid for by someone else (obviously), then it's a no-no. You can throw a party, but have people bring a dish and a bottle of wine to share! I figure if you're providing the home, music, and entertainment, they can bring something to contribute, right?

Averill said...

Best of luck! I gave up all nonessential shopping for Lent and, while it was tough, it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it was pretty rewarding to realize that (a) I don't need to shop to be happy and (b) I saved a ton of money.

complicatedv said...

hmmm...i already agreed to host the party and provide sangria and appetizers - but other than that night i'll make a point of doing the challenge. so, june 27th is a freebie day, but only for party-related things. i guess this also means public transportation and no cabs. yikes. but i'm with ya darlin'. maybe i'll save up enough to buy a plane ticket to visit :)

Jennjilla said...

I'll join ya - I have to spend money at my accounts because it's my job, but I'm really limiting myself to once or twice a week. Coupons really help - I've started doing that and I save around $30-45 a trip, along w/ other savings at the store w/ my rewards card. My biggest thing is grabbing fast food and not brining my lunch - so that will be my goal to stop. And if you need a drink and can't fit it in your budget - come grab a bottle from me. I'm happy to share!

Themis0307 said...

Woo! Another challenge buddy!


Jennjilla said...

yea - wine is good. good wine that is free - EVEN BETTER :)

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