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Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Morning Musings - Week 1

My Monday posts will focus on our progress from the previous week. I'll review our spending, as well as comment on the struggles we faced and the lessons we are learning.

If you know me, you know that I love a bargain, and after-Christmas sales are some of the best sources of great bargains for toys, decor items, clothing, and many food items. In the spirit of our challenge, I didn't do ANY after-Christmas holiday shopping -- no 50 cent boxes of cards, no 1/2 price lights, no $15 sets of jammies marked down to $3, not even the 75% off 4-foot lighted trees in urns to set on either side of the front door. (That one was tough -- I've been wanting them for a long time.) I did manage to find directions for this tomato cage Christmas tree topiary that I think I can make from materials I have on hand.

I think I've discovered a (if not THE) secret -- the easiest way to avoid spending is to stay out of the stores!  You can't be tempted to buy a bargain that you don't know exists. Well, actually, I can be tempted by the thought of the greatest deal ever, but I can't buy it unless I'm holding it my hot little hand (except for online bargains, but that's the subject of another post.)

Remember the required books mentioned in my first post?
Well, that hit this week. I spent $60 on renting and buying used books for one class for Miriam. Three other classes are web based and will require the purchase of a key to use the online learning modules. (Personally, I think that should be included in the cost of tuition, but they didn't ask me.) Thankfully, her bowling class doesn't require a textbook.

Other spending for the week --
$103 for groceries (Approx. $17 per person)

$45 for Sunday lunch (We used Christmas gift money for this food-related experience. Does that fly?  Actually, I hadn't planned to mention this minor deviation from the plan, except the Lord made sure I ran into a friend who was leaving the restaurant as we were coming in the door. Her greeting? "Hello there, you minimalist!"  AAAAACK -- I was busted! So, I'm coming clean here. In hindsight, I wish we hadn't done it -- it feels like we've taken 10 steps backward to our 3 steps forward, but that's okay. As I always tell my kids, "Mistakes are opportunities to learn."

That's it. Aside from our falling to the "We're-in-town-and-we're-hungry-and-Miriam-and-Josiah-aren't-here-so-it-will-be-so-much-cheaper" temptation to enjoy the great salsa and yummy food at La Familia, we are doing well. There's been some fussing on the part of the kids, but it hasn't grown to fever pitch.  

If I look closely, I think I'm beginning to see a change in our hearts, and that's encouraging. In the end, that's what this whole experiment is about -- not a test to see if we can adhere to a hyper-legalistic system, but a hope that we will focus on relationships and experiences rather than acquiring more stuff.

And looking on the bright side -- tonight's dinner is already made. I just have to reheat those Swedish meatballs that I cooked in the slow cooker for Sunday lunch!


  1. I did do 'after Christmas' shopping for wrapping paper and such- but only after using up my paper that I bought about 10 years ago at a previous 90% off Target sale. I loaded up then, and I loaded up this time. Should last me another 10 years. :o)
    And you're exactly right!! Staying AWAY from the sales means no spending temptations at all. And in the same vein, I had to laugh at one of my DILs when she said, as she watched me washing out a Ziploc to use again, "So that's where my husband gets this!". Cheap or smart? I say SMART!!!
    I will be checking in regularly to see how this is going. :o) Also, I consider it an honor to be your first commenter!! Woohoo!!

  2. CRAP!! I just saw Susan V's comment from THREE days ago. My competitive nature has taken a setback!! GAHHHH!!!