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Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Morning Musings Week 2

Two weeks and we are surviving. We haven't killed each other, although Syd and I almost came to blows over buying a couple of desks for two of our girls. More on that in a minute.

Here are the week's expenditures:
Textbooks for Miriam (rental)                    $53
Groceries (including a Sam's run)              $99
Toiletries                                                        $5
Piano Lessons                                              $10
Family Movie Outing -- 8 people               $28
Basketball Family Season Pass                  $45
Restaurant Purchases                                 $43   
TOTAL                                                    $283

Now, the justifications --

1. Miriam's textbook - a new book costs $130, a used $95, and the rental $53. We e-mailed the professor to be sure the book was a necessity for the class. I saved $42 off the price of a used book, and we get to return rather than store it at the end of the semester.

2. Groceries - $79 of the $99 was spent at Sam's. Our family lives 60 miles from the closest Sam's Club. Since Syd and the boys were in Dallas on Saturday, they made a Sam's stop and got some staples. We shouldn't need to go back again for 6-8 weeks.

3. Piano Lessons -- This is about the best deal known to man, especially considering that our sweet teacher has been working with our kids for years and years. And did I mention that she comes to our house? This is one very special friend, and no, I won't give you her name and number!

4. While Syd and the boys trekked over to Dallas for a basketball game, the girls and I went to a movie and ate burgers at Braums afterwards. No apologies for this fun girls-only outing. Syd took the boys to the movie on Sunday afternoon. No Braums for them.

5. Did I mention that 3 of my darlings play basketball, a 4th is an assistant coach, and my dear husband coaches the junior high team? This means we attend a LOT of basketball games - 5 basketball-related events last week alone. I did the math, and the family pass for the older 2 girls and I is definitely a good investment. The alternative -- not watching my sweeties play ball -- is definitely a bad idea.

6. Restaurants - I'm not feeling guilty at all about these purchases.

  • We had basketball games on Tuesday night. Our local chicken place sells a drumstick and a thigh for $0.99 on Tuesdays. I supplemented the chicken with chips, carrots, and our own drinks. Cost $6.50
  •  We had to be at the gym at 2:30 and didn't finish until after 10 p.m. A short trip to Frijole Friday at Taco Casa took care of our hunger pangs. We fed our family burritos and tostadas for $13.
  • Burgers and ice cream at Braums -- $23.50 We could have skipped this. Was the food worth $23 -- absolutely not, but I really enjoyed spending time with my girls.
Staying out of the stores still proves to be my best strategy for spending reduction. My other best strategy -- sending Syd to Sam's. That place is a money vacuum. I can always find at least 5 things there that I never knew I needed, but I simply must have.

My downfall this week was that pesky Office Max ad in Sunday's paper. Why did I even open it? I found a really great price on some desks with hutches that would be perfect for Miriam and Leah. When we built our house 6 years ago, the original plan was to have back to back desks for them. Office Max has them ON SALE for $80 each.

So, I went to the Office Max website. (Bad idea) I studied the specs. I read the reviews. I focused on the good reviews and ignored the bad ones, especially the numerous ones that said each desk took about 6 hours to assemble. I put those desks in my shopping cart  and I qualified for free shipping. That settled it.

When Syd got home, I showed him the desks and explained why we needed them, fully expecting him to go along. He didn't. "What happened to your challenge? Are you giving it up already?" Ouch. As I tried to justify why this was a valid exception, he just looked at me. I wish I could tell you that I was sweet and agreeable during all of this, but I wasn't. I got mad because I.wanted.those.desks.

When I calmed down, I had to agree. All along, I knew in my heart that we didn't really need the desks. It would have been nice to have a couple  of nice matching desks for my girls, but we don't have to have them. We've managed 6 years without them. Miriam is in college now and Leah is a senior in high school, so how much use would they get? There are plenty of good work surfaces in our house.

Any other year, I would have jumped at the bargain, but not this time around. This time, I'm going to let it go, knowing full well that I may never find that good a price again. I'm not going to be all grumpy and grouchy about it either. That will possibly be the biggest challenge of all.


  1. Hey, My Husband Mark Hutchins, just sent me the link to your blog, Way to go!! I LOVE the way you are budgeting and since we are currently working on a very small budget ourselves, I am all about learning ways to tighten our belts so to speak. I am a sucker for sales, so I completely sympathize there and I love the "can't know about a sale if you aren't at the store" concept! It also saves on gas... ;-) We are preparing for our first child's arrival, so my current challenge (which I am loving) is how to get the needed baby things, for as little as possible and NOT become swamped with unneeded baby things!!
    Anyhow, I believe both of us shall be faithful followers of your blog!

    1. Hillary,
      Your husband is one of my favorite people!
      I love your challenge, and I believe you'll be successful. One thing I realized as we had our babies is that you really don't need all the things people think you do. I raised 8 babies without a baby swing! That was unheard of with your generation of babes. Now, the wipes warmer is another story...I (and my babies) loved it! Get the best quality of things you choose. They will serve you well as God blesses you with children..

  2. Funny . . . I needed that swing but thought the wipey warmer was crazy . . . dried out the wipies and besides I would have to use cold wipies anytime away from home and wanted him to be used to them!