12.31.2013

30 Days of $ZERO: D -1

I like to shop.  Actually... I love to shop.  I shop when I'm bored, I shop when I'm happy, I shop when I'm mad (I try to remember to take the hubby's credit card on these occasions).  Shopping is both therapeutic and... fun!  Heck, my daughter's first trip out of the house as a newborn was to Target (flameworthy, maybe?). 

As a matter of fact, one of my favorite things to do with Kennedy is head to Target, grab a delicious Starbucks beverage (because, you know, the evil empire of Starbucks just HAD to team up with the evil empire of Target in a joint effort to destroy my bank account.  Well played, you two) and wander the aisles, adding completely unnecessary "necessities" to our cart.  We could spend hours roaming the store... it's just kind of our thing.

I used to call Target the $50 store... because any trip inside those red doors guaranteed a $50 dent in my account.  Now that they have a magical Starbucks inside... well now it's the $80 store.  Not that a Starbucks coffee costs $30 (although it might as well!) but something about enjoying a nice warm chai while I shop just makes me want to spend more money (again, well played evil geniuses).  

And don't even get me started on how many times I have walked into that store "needing" one or two simple items (toothpaste, shampoo) and walked out with an $80 bag containing everything under the sun... except toothpaste and shampoo.  These occasions require a return trip to the red money monster and, of course, another $80.

At this very moment, I have four different varieties of coffee (that I just had to have) for my Keurig (that I fell in love with when Kevin gave it to me for my birthday a few years ago).  I have acquired (likely through various Target trips) a handful of travel coffee cups.  I even have a few different flavor syrups, chai mixes and other treats to fancy up my beverage, a la Starbucks style.  I work nights.  I drink coffee.  Perfect solution: before I leave for work, make a coffee, dress it up in whatever way suits me, pour it into lovely Target travel mug and enjoy.  Does this happen?  No.  I pass a Starbucks on my way to work and like a moth to light, I am drawn in.  A few minutes later, I am on my way with my delicious nectar of the Gods... and $5+ lighter in the wallet.  I've never smoked or done drugs, but I am pretty sure I am addicted to my Non-Fat Chai Tea Latte with one pump of pumpkin like ::insert witty celebrity addiction comparison here::  Clearly, I am too busy shopping and drinking my chai to keep up with celebrity gossip.

The third and final member of the evil trifecta is Wegmans.  Now, I love Wegmans.  As a matter of fact, I love that store so much I think I visit it more than Target.  I go in for "just one quick thing" and walk out with a cart full of delicious treats.  Their selection is great and I... I want it all.  I buy Club Packs of everything.  What's better than a few pieces of fresh fruit or veggies?  A whole club pack of every single fresh fruit or vegetable that catches my eye that will rot before I eat them (because, of course, Kevin will avoid them like the plague).  During the summer, we primarily shop at the local farmer's market, which we love.  This summer I learned how to can and I also flash froze lots and lots of vegetables, so we can enjoy them during the winter months without paying big bucks for them at the grocery store.  As a matter of fact, my freezer and pantry are both so full that I have to shuffle things around to smush more in, every time I come back from the store.  Does this stop me from going overboard and buying more more more?  In short, no.  Often, I end up buying doubles (or triples) of things, because they have been buried so deep in the freezer or pantry that I forgot I had them.  It's out of control.

Online shopping is another one of my downfalls.  A few days a week a package will show up at my door and Kevin will ask "what did you buy NOW?"  I sheepishly shrug my shoulders because the chances are pretty good that in the 2-3 weeks it took to deliver said package, I have already made a few more online purchases and forgot all about the little gem that has arrived on my doorstep.  Is it the new sweater I ordered that I will probably never wear?  Another "OMG this is SO cute" outfit I just HAD to buy for Kennedy (her closet puts mine to shame, by the way.  I thought I had a shopping problem before... enter super cute toddler girl and the shopping addiction hits an all time high).  Is it the random play room decor that will never make it onto the wall?  I just don't know.

So clearly, I have a problem.  

The first step to fixing the problem is actually admitting that you have a problem.

Ok great.  So step one: admit you have a problem... check.

Now onto step two.  And this may seem a little drastic, crazy, out-there... but it has to be done.

This month, I am going on a spending diet.  Well, actually... if money were food, I guess I am going on spending hunger strike.

This month, I am spending ZERO money.

Well... not technically zero.  We still have to pay our bills, put gas in the car to get to/from work and pay the babysitter.  We have agreed that milk and eggs are ok to buy for Kennedy.  Aside from these true necessities... 

Z-E-R-O. 

No trips to Target to waste the afternoon away browsing and shopping with Kennedy.  No  Wegmans runs to grab "just a few" ingredients for dinner.  No online impulse shopping.

No Starbucks.

::gulp::

So here I am... the day before I begin my starvation spending diet.  I am enjoying my very last amazingly delicious Starbucks chai tea latte ( *might* have ordered two and stored on in the fridge).  Kennedy and I just enjoyed a ridiculous expensive Panera lunch (when did they get so pricey anyway?) and we have decided to order chinese take-out for our last purchased meal.  I'm a sucker for some good lo mein.  :)

Tomorrow it begins.

  • Food:  I will be using what I have on hand to cook with.  If I can clear out my freezer stash and empty out my pantry, that would be awesome!  We have agreed that if we run completely out of fruits and vegetables, we will buy a small amount of whatever is on sale for Kennedy.  No more "club packs of everything".  And we will eat or freeze it all.  No more letting it go bad and throwing it away.
  • Fun:  Kennedy and I will work on finishing her alphabet wall project that I started before Christmas.  I also have some Valentine's crafts (that I, shockingly, bought last year and never used) that we can do.  I will also be scouring the internet for fun, FREE local activities to enjoy.  No more trips to Target to kill time and waste money.  I just might have to (finally) conquer my fear of my sewing machine.
  • Kevin's birthday: is this month and we have decided this will be a "cheat" day, hence the 30 days of zero and not 31.  He can choose whatever he wants for dinner, either eat out or I will grocery shop for that meal and cook at home, whichever he decides.  I will either set a budget for his gift or, in lieu of a present, we may make a trip to Pittsburgh.  If we do, we will set a small budget for the trip and stick within it.
  • Coffee:  Let's be real here.  This is probably what you were really wondering.  How the heck is she going to make it without her Starbucks?  Well... it will not be easy, but I am determined to kick this habit.  I have actually considered taking a different route to work, to avoid the temptation.  Lol!  I will simply make my coffee or chai at home (I did make sure to stock up on chai from Wegmans) and enjoy that on my drive in.  This might get ugly, and my local Starbucks just might report a profit loss for the first time since we moved in... but I will do it.
I will blog about this financial journey and try to estimate how much I have saved along the way.

Are you making any changes in the upcoming year?  What are your goals?