Random thoughts of an upbeat mind

Posts tagged ‘fiscal fast’

January recap & February goals

On Monday I got the dreaded you have reached 100% of your monthly usage allowance. 😦  In an attempt to reduce our overage I banned everyone from using the internet unless it was school related.  When I checked this morning we were 6 GBs over our limit.  This will be an additional $12 on the next bill.  I would love to know what had changed this past billing cycle as we haven’t gone over our 60 GB limit in a long time and usually sit at less than 45 GBs each month.

Oh well, on to business.

January Goals

  1. Fiscal fast for the first 8 days of January, with the exception of a lunch on Jan 7Done
  2. No-Low Spend Challenge

    • Come in on or under my reduced budget – I was over by 4% if you don’t count my tickets to The Lion King, 18.5% if you do
    • No eating out (except for the lunch I have on the 7th) – Nope, my cousin invited me out and I also paid for the meal my BFF “treated” me to as she has not paid me back yet and I don’t intend to ask for repayment as she frequently takes me out to eat.
    • 15 “no spend” days – I had 22
    • Continue to track my spending – I did this and for the first time ever my spending only took up 32 lines on my spreadsheet. (It’s usually in the 50’s)
    • Shop my freezer – Mostly, but I still stocked up on some pizzas towards the end of the month
  3. Exercise 20 times – I tracked 27 workouts
  4. Read 2 books – I only read The Time Traveler’s Wife
  5. Give the blanket to my BFF ;) – Done!
  6. Pick up one of the unfinished crochet projects I have – Nope, I have not looked in the bin yet

Not bad.  I’m starting to think that multi-tasking is not my forte.  But I worked out and tried to keep my spending under control, which were the important goals to me.

February Goals

  1. Stop eating after 8pm.  I find myself snacking while watching the 11 pm news. 😦
  2. Read 3 books
  3. Pick up an afghan and work on it
  4. Shop my freezer
  5. Get back on track with my daily morning and evening reading
  6. Continue to workout at least 5 times a week

***

On a different note, I forgot to tell you that I stepped on the scale on Saturday and pulled out the tape measure.  I am down almost 4 lbs and 4 inches.  I kinda expected it would be more as I am feeling rather lean.  I am one pound away from where My Fitness Pal thinks I am.  Blasted summer holiday weight gain that is fighting to stay with me. 😦  My cousin gave me bad news.  She said once you get closer to your goal it gets harder to lose the weight.  WTF!?! Well, I am taking that as a challenge and putting on my big girl panties. 😉

The Fiscal Fast is done!

Here’s how my spending went.

Jan 1 – $0.00
Jan 2 – $0.00
Jan 3 – $0.00
Jan 4 – $0.00
Jan 5 – $0.00
Jan 6 – $0.00 (gave monthly cheque for maintenance but the $ is still in my account 😉 so I’m counting it as no spend)
Jan 7 – $17.00 sushi lunch (planned)
Jan 8 – $0.00
Jan 9 – $0.00

I did a bit of grocery shopping on December 30th, mainly to stock up on milk.  Diva when not “supervised” can drink a bag (1.33 L) of milk a day.  She was warned that I was not shopping for the first 7 days of January.  We started with 6 bags of milk.  We are now on our last bag.  

I used the milk as my “guide” as to when to go grocery shopping.

My fridge

 

My fridge reminds me of when Simply Being Mum does her weekly “No Waste Tastes Great” posts.

According to Diva, I MUST go shopping as we have no food.  The freezers still are full, but Diva is not convinced.

So far this month I am extremely happy with our food consumption.  We have used up most of our produce with minimal spoilage.

I strayed away from the meal plan again.  I found some turkey pepperoni and a green pepper.  It’s amazing how things jump out at you when the fridge is empty!! LOL  Since I had some spaghetti sauce left over from yesterday’s chicken ravioli, I combined pasta, pepperoni, green pepper, onion, the sauce with cheese and baked it.

Pasta bake

 

Princess said it tasted like pizza. 🙂

Add in some broccoli and we are happy and full.

Pasta and broccoli

 

Since the fridge has not been this empty in a long while I am going to use this opportunity to give it a good scrubbing before refilling it.  I will also be looking at the expiry dates of everything before putting it back.

Many thanks to Sharon for suggesting this Fiscal Fast.

Fiscal Fast – Day 7

If I don’t leave the house then I don’t spend money.  Interesting concept.  Too bad it’s not realistic. lol

So far I technically have not spent any money.  I did write a cheque for my condo maintenance fees.  Figured it’s probably better if I do that sooner rather than later. 😉  It will take the management company at least a week or more to cash it.  It is a little annoying waiting for cheques to be cashed.

I went out today to my scheduled lunch and only spent what I budgeted. 🙂

Other than those two instances I am keeping my hands out of my wallet. 🙂 I wish I could be kicking butt like Sharon, who is rocking her fiscal fast.

Since I spent money today I added an extra day to my fiscal fast.  So on Thursday I will hit the grocery store.  Diva is already “rationing” the last 2 bags of milk we have.  That child and her milk addiction.

***

On the menu planning front I must make a small big medium confession.  I like to menu plan on my couch and from memory instead of in front of my fridge and freezer.  So instead of looking in my fridge on Sunday, I winged it.  I have yet to have anything on my menu except for leftovers.  And they were not the leftovers I was planning to eat.

I found a piece of cabbage that my Aunt gave me that I forgot about and made coleslaw yesterday using this Classic Coleslaw recipe.  Last night’s dinner was leftover Mexican lasagna meat filling and rice for Princess & I.  Diva ate the leftover meatballs and bread, along with some rice and salt fish.  Tonight we had ribs, sidekicks and coleslaw.  All leftovers from the past few days. 🙂  The fridge is starting to look bare. 🙂

Even though I went “off script”, I am feeling very good about using up all those leftovers.  Usually the food lingers in my fridge and it’s a fight to get it eaten before it dies.

We are moving in the right direction in our war against food waste.

Tomorrow’s dinner will be chicken ravioli with sauce and leftover coleslaw.  I still have some broccoli and Brussels sprouts to use up.  So tomorrow’s dinner might be veggie heavy. 🙂

 

Jan No-Low Spend Challenge update #1

Jan No Spend Challenge

So far so good.  I am on day 3 of a fiscal fast and no money has left my pocket.  The iTouch purchase yesterday gave me the “thrill” of shopping without the expense as Diva used all her own money to fund her new toy. 🙂

I still have 3/4 tank of gas.

Princess and I will be having the leftover Mexican lasagna with steamed Brussels sprouts, her favourite veggie.

I am taking Diva to her BFF’s house tonight for a sleepover.

Then attend a viewing of a friend of a friend.  I am going mainly for moral support.  If my friend wants me to go to the funeral tomorrow then I will go, but I would prefer not to.  The family of the deceased did not want to acknowledge that their loved one was ill.  In fact up until 3 weeks ago very few people knew she was sick or even dying.  It’s all very sad.

At some point this weekend I should help my BFF with her move.  I don’t think she’s started packing yet and the movers are scheduled for the 15th.  If I am not going to the funeral tomorrow then I will head up to her house after picking up Diva.  If I do end up at the funeral then I will go Sunday.

Being busy this weekend should help me keep my hands out of my wallet. 🙂

 

 

January No-Low Spend Challenge

Jan No Spend Challenge (Source)

Carla has done it again, issued a new no-low spending challenge.  Starting January first she, along with a gaggle of driven folks, myself included, will be trying to be mindful of our pennies.

Ever since she announced it, I’ve been trying to think about what my goals will be.

Other than staying on budget, I’m not sure what else I would like to accomplish.  My kids have suggested we refrain from eating out in January.

Right now, my goals look like this.

  1. Come in on or under my reduced budget
  2. No eating out (except for the lunch I have on the 7th)
  3. 15 “no spend” days
  4. Continue to track my spending
  5. Shop my freezer

Looking back over this year’s budget was not pretty.  I wish I had thought to look at where I stood long before December.  I overspent by 10%. 😦  No wonder I am not making too much headway on my debt.  I spent a ridiculous amount on food.  So I either have an unrealistic expectation about what it costs to feed us or we are gluttons.  Or the more likely case, I am undisciplined. I will be keeping a much closer eye on my food spending next year.

Since I am determined to really shop my freezer,  I reduced my monthly grocery budget by 17% for January.  Other than milk and fresh produce I am not sure why else I might be in the grocery store/Costco next month.  We will just need to learn to make due.  This will also mean I need to be vigilant about baking bread.

In addition to the month-long No-Low Spend Challenge, I am also going to stretch myself by participating in Sharon’s New Year Fiscal Fast.  So for the first 7 days I will be refraining from spending any money.  Since I have a planned lunch on the 7th, I will be extending my fast until the 8th.  I think milk will be my undoing.  Diva drinks it like it’s her not so secret addiction.  To be honest I will most likely buy two sets of milk tomorrow.  I will need to figure out how to hide the extra 4 litres from Diva as when there is a lot of milk in the fridge she tends to go overboard on her consumption.

Now to just keep my eye on the prize all month year long.

So close

so_close (Source)

I was on a “no spending” streak for the past 5 days.

Until today.

I was very low on gas and had enough to get me to work and back.  My aunt asked me to take her grocery shopping today.  I did not have enough gas for that. 😦  So while my next planned expense was supposed to be lunch tomorrow, I bought gas today.  And since I bought gas I also spent money on postage.  A task I was delaying until I broke my fiscal fast.

Then my aunt cancelled because it’s snowing.

Oh well.

This week-end is looking like a spendy one. 😦  I am out of a lot of staples.  I am going to try to “make do” until the end of the month.  I still have $130 in my grocery budget.

I finally added categories to my hexie budget wallet.  Sunday I will start the week and see how it goes.

My weekly spending looks like this:

Transportation $30
Food $90
Entertainment/Eating out $40
Everything else $30

For a grand total of $190/week.

I think I can make it work.

Shot myself in the foot

When my laptop died, I lost my budget.  It was backed up to an external hard drive but I did not access it while my laptop was being repaired.

Without a budget I was like a rock star on crack.  I was spending willy nilly without regard to the future.

Now that my laptop is back.  I attempted to see what the damage was.  But I can’t remember everything. 😦  Nor do I want to.

It’s time to pay the piper.

Once I pay all that I am supposed to pay, I should be left with $386 until next pay-day.  

But that’s not the case.

I have … $71.00.

To last me 2 weeks!?! 

Guess who’s having an impromptu fiscal fast???

*slowly raising my hand*

*in my quiet voice*

It’s me.  

Rule #1

I BROKE RULE #1!!! 😦

I made a liar out of me.

I opened the flyer to one of the local grocery stores.  They had some fruit on sale.  Most of it was what my kids really like.  So I made a list and went in.

I went in with the list.

What I didn’t count on is the fact that I haven’t bought meat lately and there were a few good deals on some other stuff to be had. 😦

What else I didn’t count on was breaking rule #1 … going shopping on an empty stomach. 😦

Everything in the store looked good.

I was not as discriminating as I could have been.

I bought a lot of good stuff; fruit, meat, vegetables, crackers.

I thought I was going to stay out of the grocery stores for a while and I failed.

Okay NOW, I really think I am done with the grocery shopping for the next couple of weeks.  I am invoking a mini fiscal fast.  The only exceptions are milk and fresh produce … maybe eggs. 😉

 

Day 7 of 7/12

It’s the last day!!!   WHOO HOOO!!!  Thank goodness.  I can’t wait to go grocery shopping tomorrow.  There is practically no fruits or vegetables in my house.

Short recap.

Day 1 – $0.00
Day 2 – $0.00
Day 3 – $0.00
Day 4 – $0.00
Day 5 – $0.00
Day 6 – $20.00 (my kids went to a birthday party and I thought it would be tacky to show up w/o a gift)
Day 7 – $0.00

TOTAL SPENT: $20.00 … so close.

I will definitely try to do it again.

Day 3 of 7/12

Firstly, a giant thank you to boyonabudget who suggested I search my cupboards.  I found 2 tins of chick peas and 2 tins of salmon!!  WHOO HOO!!!  Both are on the acceptable list of things to eat for this cleanse.  I just might be able to make it to through the Fiscal Fast!!

Alright it’s hump day and it’s hot like Tahiti without the lovely umbrella drinks. 😦  Not much is going on right now.  One of my friends is trying to convince me to go to this “Say Anything T-shirt” party on Saturday night.  Which would require me to get a t-shirt that says something.  Now to think of something clever to put on it.