May: The Month of No Spending

I think I've only vaguely mentioned The Twelve Monthly Challenges I'm doing this year. Completing these self-assigned challenges is #2 on my 2013 goal list. So far:

January: The Month of No Desserts
February: The Month of Yoga
March: The Month of No Bread
April: The Month of Physical Training

Pretty self-explanatory, but in January, I cut way back on desserts. In March, it was breads. In February, I did yoga for at least 15 minutes every single day (and got hooked!). In April, I practiced military physical training three times each week (1.5 mile run, sit-ups, push-ups).

And now, it is....

May: The Month of No Spending.

Why the sudden departure from a weight-loss focused goal?

Well, basically, I'm broke.

I've already been in despair over my smothering student loan debt. Then last month, I lost track of my purchases and payments and let my one credit card bill get waaaay out of hand. And, to top things off, last week, the central office informed me that if I want to keep my insurance with the school, I owe $400 a month over the summer.

I literally do not have the money for that.

Times is hard.

And you know, now that I'm working in the school system, I'm off all summer (YAAAAAY!). There's so much I want to do! So many places I want to go. But right now, I don't have money to do anything but stay at home watching instant Netflix.

I need an intervention. I have to pay my bills. I have to keep from adding more debt. And I'd really love to have some fun this summer. So. Here are my rules for the month of May:

1. Unless some nice person offers to take me out and buy my dinner, eat out only one meal each week.

2. Cook with groceries I already have in the pantry, fridge, freezer, and cabinets before buying more. (Exceptions: when I run out of staples like bread and milk).

3. Save all receipts and log all purchases and payments in a designated spiral-bound notebook.

4. Don’t buy anything unless it is an absolute necessity.

5. If it is an absolute necessity, pay for it with cash.

6. Each Sunday, take out $30 cash from checking account for the week’s “discretionary expenses”. Whatever is left the following Sunday goes in the travel fund. The goal is saving as much of that $30 as possible for a summer trip.

7. The credit card will be used only for gas. (Exceptions: legitimate emergencies).

8. When boredom sets in and I get the urge to flee my crappy hometown and drive to Birmingham, Douglasville, Atlanta, or anywhere else, gear up and head to the nearest 5K course. Or hiking trail. It’s workout time. As a reward, put an additional $5 in the travel fund for each 30 minutes of this exercise.

If I stick to these things, it will make a difference in my weight loss progress as well. I blow so many calories eating out.

Not to mention how it will provide another obviously much-needed lesson in discipline, self-control, and contentment.

"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."
Phillipians 4:11-13 

The challenge begins today.


Niken said...

i think we all struggling financially, especially these days. ugh, i need to keep log on my bills too. i think i need to do it too. a month of no buying unless it's necessary. except that i've spent hundreds over books 2 days ago, it's time to sit tight and fasten the seat belt

Jessica said...

We are going to do this. When we feel like spending, we should also go to the Y. We are giving them money anyways! This is gonna be hard but we can do it...and we will be glad we did. Bring on the walks and Bones! :) And nasty snacks...haha

Jennifer said...

I know! Things are so much more expensive than they used to be! And it all adds up so fast. I'm hoping tracking things tightly will help.

Jennifer said...

True! I am excited! I really want to save and stop wasting so much money on things that aren't even good for me in the first place. Let's do it!

Anna Marie Schaefer said...

Although, as you said, this is a departure from a weight loss-focused goal, it will definitely affect your weight if you stick to it! And your motivation to get in shape for a summer trip. Love ya!

Jennifer said...

Yeah! I didn't even think about that. Another huge plus! :)