Saturday, September 8, 2007

living on less: update

I know I'm not a personal finance blogger, nor do I play one on TV, but the thing I find most interesting about PFblogs is the decision-making. I love understanding how people make their decisions and their rationale behind it.

But since I wrote that we were going to live on our "number," our minimum requirement for our living, for the month, I thought that I'd enumerate choices that we'd made for right and for wrong. I hope that we are never in a situation where we can only live on the minimum number, but if I find that it's really far off, I'll have to renegotiate with my savings accounts.

Poor choices we made:
  • starbucks. I really don't go there very often, like nearly never, but this week was the littlest one's first week in school and Sarge and I found ourselves there twice, sitting and conversating over a cup of coffee. A great life decision, but not one I'd be able to make if things were tight. It was well worth the expense for the two-plus hours of real conversation with my best friend.
  • ipod. Sarge's ipod shuffle died a few months ago and I'd been putting off replacing/repairing it. Well, we took care of that this week. It was replaced. Again, a good life decision, as it makes him so happy, and he enjoys his chores - mowing and exercising - exponentially more with it than without it. But financially, it took a good-sized chunk out of our budget.

Good choices we made:

  • water filter. Okay, so I should have made this choice years ago. We have a five year old refrigerator that had never had it's water filter changed until this week. And the water where we live tastes really bad. I mean really bad. So we'd been buying bottled water. Not exactly sure when I decided that was a good idea, but I changed that this week. The water tastes good, it should last about six months and it comes out a lot faster. Also an environmentally friendly choice! Look, two for one!
  • eating in. We ate in, aside from Starbucks and one other time, which is actually pretty good for us. In addition to our family breakfast, I've also been preparing meals in the evenings, and sometimes Sarge has been coming home for dinner late at night, before I go to bed (who eats dinner at midnight? Cops do, and nothing decent is open at that hour. I wonder why they're typically so unhealthy? Go figure.). And of course, school lunches are packed.
  • clothes drying. I'm trying to keep our energy costs down, which is a big deal at this time of year in Texas. Though I know it won't affect this month's experiment, I find that it's something I enjoy.
  • directv. I changed our service a little. Now, if this were a real situation, I'd just cancel it outright, along with the newspaper and a few other little things. It's not worth stretching for. But I canceled some of the receivers that we just don't use but were paying for the priveledge of storing. Again, it probably won't affect this month's bill, but it was certainly in the spirit of things, and it needed to be done.
  • craigslist. I've been selling stuff that has been sitting around for a really long time. It's not changing anything for us this month, because I'm not counting extra income, but again, it's in the spirit of the experiment. Seriously, some of these clothes have been sitting around, taking up space for more than two years. And I even moved those things. That's just silly.

So, for the first week, things are going fairly well. I'm impressed with my whole family on this one, as we've all worked together. And I've even done some extra cleaning - it doesn't cost anything and it makes my husband so happy, which helps soften the blow of living on less. For a whole month. Seriously, it's NOT going to kill us. I'll update how I did each week, but I promise I won't go on and on about it. Promise.


green.barn said...

Ooooh - I just have to comment. First, really bad doesn't even come close. The water tastes like it comes straight out of a dirty 10 gal. aquarium. I know - we had one for several years. Second, I was in a big spelling bee when I was in the seventh grade - 90 miles from home. Big, big deal to a tiny town girl. I lost by misspelling the word privilege.

#2 said...

GAK! I had it spelled that way first and I changed it, Sarge was even looking over my shoulder when I said that I had misspelled it and he said NOTHING!

And, did you ever drink the water out of the aquarium? Because inquiring minds want to know.

And yes, I probably did understate the grossness of our water. But it's so yummy now out of the refrigerator! And the ice, too!

green.barn said...

Never!! The smell was enough to say "Skull & crossbones!", which translates to "Mr. Yuck!", but was far more descriptive.

paidtwice said...

It sounds like you are doing great! And you know when it is worth it to stray a little :)

Keep up the great job!!

#2 said...

Thank you, thank you paidtwice. I owe you the credit for getting me started on craigslist. You inspired me, and I am so stinkin' glad!