Thursday, December 31, 2009

No Spend January...

I got the idea of No Spend January from a blogger who did No Spend November. He updated his blog daily to show his progress and I enjoyed reading it and was so inspired that I have decided to do my own No Spend month. This month is especially appropriate, since I have to pay for a class at National University this month, which is costing me $1500. I am not a fan of having to pay for the class (or do the work for that matter), but I am a fan of having a job. Also, I got a ticket for running a yellow/red light from one of those intersection cameras, which comes to a whopping $446!! Ouch. The moral of that story is stop for yellow lights! Or where a crazy mask when you drive so they can't prove it was you. Anyway, I'm rambling...

Here are the rules:

*I can only spend my regular income on bills and necessities: rent, utilities, car insurance, etc. I am attempting to make it through the month of January only refilling my tank twice. This means I need to take advantage of carpooling with my coworkers and walking when I am going somewhere in my neighborhood.

*I went grocery shopping on the 30th and bought the ingredients to make several meals that I can freeze and eat throughout the month, as well as some basic staples to last me throughout the month. Therefore, no grocery shopping from my January check!

*The only money I can spend is extra money I bring in this month, such as recycling, selling items on ebay, finally cashing a check I have had for a month or so, etc. Whatever I can scrounge up is what I can use for eating out, movies, etc. The only exception to this is spare change, although most of that goes for parking meters and laundry.

I think that's it. I am anticipating the first week being the hardest, as I am still on break and will be tempted to spend money to hang out with people. Also, I have a friend coming into town Martin Luther King weekend, who I have not seen in a few years, so if she wants to plan dinner out, I am going to want to go. Basically, as long as I can plan accordingly and save my extra income for those events, I should be okay. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


So, I am debating getting a Netflix subscription. The cheapest one is under ten dollars a month, and I think if I had it I would certainly use it.

The pros-Some months I would save money, since I do rent movies here and there. Also, I would get to watch more movies and TV shows on DVD, since I sometimes don't rent in order to save money. I could also rent rather than buy some of the shows that have been on my list, which could potentially save me money, although I have been more strict about only using swagbucks to buy books and movies.

The cons-I would definitely spend more time in front of the TV. Since I only get one channel, I rarely watch TV. Granted, I make up for it with the amount of time I spend on the internet, but part of me resists getting Netflix for this reason. Also, it's another ten dollars a month that I will be spending. Not a lot of money, but still something to consider.

So, what advice can you give me, blog readers? Yay or Nay on Netflix?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This morning I went to the Long Beach Library to get a new card (my purse was stolen a few months ago and I needed a new one). After I paid the fee for a new card (only $1.50), I went online and started requesting books. Long Beach has like seven library locations, so rather than try to track down books or drive out to the main branch, I have all the books sent to the small library at the end of 2nd Street, which is cute and in a fun area to walk around. Also, if I am feeling fit or want to make it a No Drive Day I can walk there.

So, I requested seven books, including my book club book for January and some others from my Amazon wish list, which I can delete after I read from the library. I also searched for Mad Men Season 2 and was able to request those as well.

I know the library is the most obvious money-saving way of entertaining one's self with books and movies...but for some reason I rarely utilize it. I have added "use the library and return books on time" as one of my New Year's Resolutions...and I think you should too!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Shop of Horrors

I have not bought new clothes since August. Not one item.

Sometimes, not shopping is difficult. When I see a cute trend that I'd like to try, for example. Right now I'd love to have a cute, fitted plaid shirt, a pair of slouchy boots, and a wool mini-dress to wear with tights and black flats. When I see other people in these clothes, I wish that I could go to Marshalls or Nordstrom Rack and snatch these items up. (Along with some new shoes and a purse-my two biggest shopping weaknesses). 

But, I have to say it's gotten easier and easier not to buy clothes. In fact, when one of my friends mentioned that she had bought new clothes for herself, my first thought was, "But she just bought a bunch of clothes! That's not necessary." That, my friends, is certainly a change from how I thought a few months ago. A few months ago I would have thought, "Why didn't you call me?" or "I should go shopping this weekend too!" But really, I don't need to. My closet is full and I have more than enough clothes if I keep up with my laundry (IF being the operative word). 

That's not to say that once my credit card debt is paid off, I won't pick up a few of the items I've been wanting. But it's nice to know that my thought process can shift and that I've curbed my constant shopping habit. And trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Frozen Dinners

Last weekend I decided to prepare several meals ahead of time that can be frozen, so that I would not be tempted to eat out or make an extra grocery store run when I wanted to pick up something pre-made. In one evening I made two pots of soup (chicken and rice & chicken white bean chili) and eight breakfast burritos. I got the burrito recipe from my friend Lana's blog and the soup recipes from my friends Kerri and Shelley respectively. The end result was 18 meals for around $40, which I portioned out and have been enjoying throughout the week. I still have plenty left and am pleased with how everything turned out, but I am also a little tired of soup. Anyone else have any recipes that are inexpensive, healthy, and freeze well? I'd love to try some new recipes over Christmas break!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2010 Financial Goals

Goals for 2010

30 Coverage Days: When another teacher is out, at a meeting, or their sub doesn't show up, we are often asked to cover classes. When we do, we are paid our hourly rate for that time. My goal for 2010 is to cover thirty times throughout the year, which means saying yes even when I don't feel like it, and making sure the secretaries know I would like to cover as much as possible.

100 No Drive Days: I am going to try to make use of carpooling, biking, and walking in order to not use my car 100 days in 2010. This one will be a challenge, but it will not only save me gas money, it will also reduce the wear on my car AND reduce my carbon footprint. I know 100 days without driving in some cities would be easy, but I am a Southern Californian. We drive. Like the song says, "Nobody Walks in LA."

No more than 60 days dining out: Another goal is to reduce the amount I eat out, which I have definitely improved upon in the last few months. But, my goal is to eat out no more than five times in one month (including Starbucks runs and happy hour).

Only buy books, DVDs, and CDs using Amazon Mechanical Turk funds or Swagbucks gift cards. I have again really cut back on these types of purchases, but I know I will want to buy Weeds, Dexter, and Big Love in 2010, so I need to plan ahead and save my Swagbucks and turk money for those things specifically.

Completely pay off credit cards and save $3,000 in down payment fund by the end of the year. This is a little less than I'd like to save, but considering I need to take a pricey class for job security and that I am still paying down my credit cards, I think this will still be a challenge.