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No Spend Day

April 27th, 2007 at 05:59 pm

Today was another no spend day.

I spent this afternoon writing a study strategy on what to do for the rest of the semester day by day so that I can not worry about it and pace myself. I can't wait until June. It will be a pretty stress free summer.

Another $35 Added to My $20 Fund

April 21st, 2007 at 04:08 pm

This was unexpected, but we decided to get dinner out yesterday and bring it home. DH had to wait an hour as they kept giving his order away! The manager came out and refunded our money. So a nice dinner (we ate at home) for free and $35 to the $20 challenge.

OAMC Cooking DONE! and $10 more to savings challenge

April 16th, 2007 at 12:43 am

Well, it's been a long day but I got the following OAMC done today:

5 days of chili
4 days of taco chicken
2 days of orange chicken
2 days of balsamic chicken
4 days of black bean quesidillas
4 days of whole-wheat lasagna/spinach rolls (vegetarian)
4 days of whole-wheat pizzas
2 days of meatloaf
4 days of vegetarian stir=fry
4 days of red pepper spaghetti sauce
Whole wheat pancakes, french toast for breakfast on the weekends.

Also walked 10 miles this weekend, adding $10 to my savings challenge. I can't wait to put my new totals up for April in a few weeks.

Homemade cornbread, barley pilaf, mexican brown rice, blueberry whole-wheat oatmeal muffins, raspberry sorbet. Also have lots of frozen veggies and will buy fresh veggies/fruit for the coming weeks. Also put together several whole wheat bread mixes so I can use the breadmaker to make fresh bread 1-2x a week as needed.

Grocery Shopping Done for the Month

April 14th, 2007 at 08:52 pm

So far for the month I have spent about $140 for all my grocery shopping, dining out etc. I have $60 more, but I just bought enough stuff to do a OAMC session here. Getting ready to start working on my thesis after classes are done at school in the evening, leaving me no time to cook. So tomorrow I am planning to cook for the month, write up the schedule. Maybe DH can put things in the oven before I get home around 9p.m. to make dinner a bit faster.

So I am adding $40 to my savings challenge and leaving $20 for fresh fruits/veggies over the next two weeks.

Added to $20 Challenge

April 12th, 2007 at 03:53 pm

Over the last week, I've walked 20 miles -- adding $20 to my $20 challenge.

Another week to go!

Saved $20 per month on a necessity and getting creative

April 9th, 2007 at 04:40 pm

As much as I hate to admit it -- I need the internet.
(1)I research purchases here saving money
(2) I need it to download articles for school/assignments
(3) I need it to read free books from the library
(4) I need it to keep in touch with some family and friends
(5) I need it for the support of great forums like this one
(6) I need it to keep up to date on the blockbuster movies-- a service we subscribed to that has eliminated our going out to movies and buying movies.

So why did we just cancel it? Well I don't have cable, I don't subscribe to a lot--I had a $15 a month DSL package (the "slowest" connection..I was happy with it) that because I was busy and hadn't checked the bill went up to $18 a month without my knowledge for 2 months. We called today...yeah they will refund us the rest of the money for the month, but did we know it was going up to $22 in June and we could get a special 1 year promotion for $19.99 a month. No thanks. It's gone soon (like sometime today), but
(1) School has free internet.. only good for a few more months -- then classes will be offsite.. but I'll take it.
(2) June, I'll be temporarily "working" -- i.e. unpaid on my Master's project. So I will get free internet there
(2) July... Well honestly I don't know yet, but I'll find an alternative. Unfortunately the library as much as I love it is not a real alternative as the drive would become cost-prohibitive. (We go there once a week when we go shopping, but I refuse to do errands more often).

Falling behind again.

February 27th, 2007 at 09:55 pm

Well the last two weeks have been tough with school and I haven't even hit our major midterm tests (3 more weeks). I've fallen behind in trying to make contributions to our Roth accounts. I've fallen behind in the housework. Even worse I am struggling with getting all this information organized and somehow crammed into my brain. They say there's still room.. but somehow I am doubting it. I've never been good at memorizing things -- concepts great. Memorization. Ugh.

However, I also haven't had time to buy anything! Our spending is about the same as it was two weeks ago. Going to do a couple store runs this week, but it's almost getting harder to find stuff we need and spend the grocery money. As I've been shopping sales with coupons, we've been stocking up. If I bring home any more pasta, DH would kill me. Smile Still some things that I would love to have a bigger stock of. I'm aiming for a 3-12 month stock of items depending on what they are. Meats are closer to 3 and toiletries are 1 year.

As I was clearing out closets, I was making room for my stockpile of stuff we use. We have a grand total of 3 small closets in the house, tiny rooms and just about no wall space. I love my house! No seriously I do for now, just hoping in a few years to have one that's a little more "remote," with more land and more natural light with an open floor plan.

To add to my savings:
$5 from a survey

Tax Refund, $20 Savings Challenge and Another Student Loan

February 12th, 2007 at 01:33 am

Got my federal refund and paid off my second smallest student loan! Another small, but important milestone. Guess I get to update my totals. February is looking like a great debt month -- maybe I should enjoy tax time more often.

Updates on $20 savings challenge:
$2 for Walking and Eating Healthy today
$100 from the tax refund

Also got ahead on some school work this weekend.

Time to set some new financial goals!
1. Keep grocery spending below $200 a month, including dog food, cleaning supplies and toiletries.
2. Get my entire debt down to

Lots More Money for $20 Challenge and 1st Student Loan Paid Off

February 10th, 2007 at 09:49 pm

Well, the $20 Challenge has really worked well to motivate me towards saving a lot more money. I planned on using rebates that I got from Riteaid, Walgreens and so forth towards the grocery bill. However, since my grocery bill is below $250.. and probably down to $225 this month even buying the extra things that are either free or money making after rebate, I'm putting any money into my $20 savings challenge.

So from January Riteaid is $17.97
Savings from State Tax Refund $24.53

(This is 10%, the extra is going towards either tuition payments, to prevent new debt or paying off existing student loans. I can't wait until the federal refund check. Yes, I know we shouldn't be getting "this much back," but as I already have more deductions that just the two of us... school expenses, contributions to IRAs, and mortgage interest are huge helps and nowadays the majority of our expenses)

So far in February I got one of my student loans paid off! I'm pretty amazed, that we are down to one income, maxing out the 401k, paying for most of the future tuition/books/etc out of that income and paying off student loans and the house. (There's no credit card and no car loans or other debt). On top of that, my emergency fund/saving challenge money is actually starting to build up. In a couple more months, I might be able to start contributing to our Roth IRA again.

Unexpected bonus of saving money! and a January update

February 5th, 2007 at 11:13 pm

Well, Definately have the grocery/dining out bill below $200 monthly now with no problems and stocking up. Rebates/coupons have been great. I don't want to go any lower, although we probably could. I feel if I can save more money, I will probably use it to buy fish or fresh (vs frozen) veggies more often.

For the good news, since I haven't been eating out and have been exercising (sporadically), I've lost 10 pounds in the last 2 months. Most of this I think comes from just not eating out. Smile This was an unexpected *bonus* as I'm not dieting or trying to lose weight. So cheaper and losing weight. I think I can deal with this.

January totals including Savings Challenge and Debt is updated.

Progress on $20 Savings Challenge

January 19th, 2007 at 05:55 pm

Really struggling with the walking thing as I've had some pretty bad back pain the last two weeks. Starting to clear up so hopefully will be walking more... 10 miles added over two weeks.. Sad, but still worth $10 in the savings challenge.

Signed up for an ING account. I can't tell you what seeing that $25 did for me! So another $25

For the first time EVER, I have made it so far through the month without eating out.. no fast food.. no soda... no anything. Two more weeks is $40 towards the savings challenge. Ten more days.. then I have a special dinner out planned for DH and me.

Super wonderful big huge thanks to Flash. Reading Flash's blog has just filled me with wonderful ideas for cutting down on my grocery expenses. I am proud to say thanks to all the wonderful tips I have spent $130 this month on our grocery bill. I have one more planned trip in which I will spend about $50. This is the first month in forever my grocery bill is under $200 and that is without eating out. I've even managed to stock some extra food doing this. It looks like I will probably be adding $40 from this to my $20 challenge... as I will be under budget by that much for January (I was trying for $225)

I came out of Giant Food yesterday with:
16 boxes of whole wheat pasta
7 Betty Crocker Potatoes
10 pounds of doggie food
10 pounds of kittie food
2 deoderants
Dried Milk
Cocoa Mix
Slimfast (great for lunch to dinner holdover since it's usually 7 hours between the two.
For $20.00. The great part is I don't believe I've had a shopping trip over $40 this month.

-J (Excited, energetic and working to be debt free with lots of extra money for fun stuff).

Grocery Savings and Rebates

January 6th, 2007 at 08:20 pm

I've got to say our grocery bill has really gone down a lot, and this month it should be even lower. I'm finding decreases in regular supplies like toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo. I attribute this to actually starting to keep a price book and using coupons. So far only whole wheat grains (flour, cousous) and fresh produce have been pretty hard to save any money on. The produce should hopefully decrease in the upcoming months when I start planting seeds for some fruits and veggies.

Speaking of that -- wish I could give away some pears for free in the fall. I can never collect them all (from our one tree) -- any one have any recipies besides pear butter? I wish yearly it was an apple tree, but Smile since I didn't plant it...

We have a lot of stores around us (Rite-aid, Walgreens, Weis, CVS) that do rebates. I'm going to start taking advantage of rebates that I find this month to get items for free. If it results in any savings -- I'll have some money to add to my $20 challenge.

Small amounts to my $20 Challenge

January 5th, 2007 at 09:22 pm

So far this week I've put a little over 4 miles on the treadmill. So very little, but considering I've been having lower back pain all week, I've been proud I've walked a little bit just about every day. Getting a little better today, so I can hope I'll be better by Monday. This resulted in $4.16 for the $20 challenge this week.

I've managed to not eat out at all this week. Thanks to all the great dinner suggestions posted on the board and taking time to freeze stuff at the end of last month, I've been able to always have something available. So $10 more towards the challenge.

Adding a third strategy this week, which is to transfer all the interest I get from my checking account into savings. It's really small amounts, but hey anything helps. So add another $2.15.

"Borrowing" some great ideas

January 1st, 2007 at 08:48 pm

One goal for 2007 is to try a new method to "save" every week. After reading some great ideas - I'm going to be borrowing some to implement in my $20 challenge.

One thing that's been really hard is getting the motivation to exercise consistantly with school. So starting this week, for each mile, I'll be adding $1 towards my $20 challenge.

For each week we don't eat out at all -- another $20 towards the challenge and $10 towards a special night out... The idea is to have $40 at the end of the month for a night out to a nice restuarant.

Starting the $20 Savings Challenge

January 1st, 2007 at 02:50 am

Happy New Year's Everyone.

After reading all the success in the $20 Savings Challenge -- I'm going to give it a shot this year. If we're half as successful as many of you -- I'll be estatic!