Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Weekend Warrior

I have a problem with weekends.

No, wait.

I don't personally have a problem with the weekends themselves - they are, after all, two days off in a row from anything resembling productivity. What I really have is a problem not spending money on the weekends.

During the week, I just don't spend money. Last week, in fact, I didn't even withdraw my allowance until Friday morning. And, when I did make the withdrawal? 100 clams felt like A LOT of money to a girl who'd not spent a penny in 6 days.


Then all of a sudden it was Friday evening and there was stuff to buy. for Mr. P. in partial payment for installing my brakes. And wine, you know, because it's me. And coffee - the excellent Coda Coffee I buy directly from the roaster because I can.

70 bucks flew out of my wallet and I'd not even begun to have "fun" yet.


Although, in fairness, I did take the coffee money out of the grocery budget because both Lex and I drink it thus it's a household expense. Still...that's quite a bit of cash Crap.

I'm proud of myself though. I reached Monday morning with $25 of last week's allowance intact - enough to purchase a new fan for my bedroom which has been ordered (because do you want to know what you cannot find at any store in February? That's right. A fan). And, once again, I find myself with a wad of unspent cash in my Prada knockoff wallet after having withdrawn this week's allowance.

And yet, part of me dreads the weekend. Because $20 here and $20 there really adds up fast. Pretty soon, it'll be Monday again and I'm feeling broke before it's even arrived.

So I'm attempting to come up with ideas to:

A) continue to be social for $10 a pop or less,
B) not sound like I'm constantly whining to all my friends about not having any money,
C) encourage other people who are also attempting to be frugal not to overspend, and
D) I don't even know what.

Here are some of the things I've come up with:

1) A Frugal Wine Tasting Party - everyone brings a bottle of wine that cost $10 or less and yet, is still ranked 90 or above by at least one nationally recognized wine authority.

2) Recession potluck parties with a traveling bar - the Ducks & Puppies tried this once. We all got together, brought a dish, brought a bottle and a mixer, and proceeded to have a great time! Except...I would have spent about half as much if I'd just gone out to dinner. The problem, I discovered, is that buying a bottle of liquor for each party is too expensive and doesn't (or shouldn't) get all drunked up in one night. Thus, the traveling bar idea. Each person contributes a bottle and whatever is left over gets stored and taken to the next recession potluck party.

3) Card/game nights. I love cards...and games of all kinds.

4) Photo walks. Not a penny has to be spent walking around outdoors. Except it's February. And we're in the throes of subzero temperatures again. But Sunday? Hello, bi-polar Colorado weather! 60° and sunshine.

5) A build-our-own lasagna/pizza party. Each person brings one or two ingredients and then we have "fun" putting it all together...and then eating it.

6) Movie nights. I have a whirly pop and it's portable. Best. Popcorn. Ever.

So those are some of the ideas I've come up with. Of course, they all take planning and they all require houses which are likely not mine as I don't really have the space to entertain more than 6 - although I've hosted up to 14...just not comfortably.

What would you all recommend? I want to know.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One Down, Twenty-Three More to Go

Technically, I can't really count January, 2011 because I didn't start my debt reductionist ways in earnest until mid-month. And, with birthdays (my own) and car repairs and car tags all falling within a 2-week period, it was, mostly, a draw.

January is a very, very long month, y'all. And, as you can see, typically a costly one.

As long as January was though, I have exciting news! Not only did I navigate birthdays (my own), car repairs, and car tags in the same 2-week period, I managed to make it through the entire month of January without incurring anymore debt and I managed to pay $100 extra toward existing debt. This was due, in large part, to the birthday money from the Mom and the Dad - thank you for the oil change and help with new tires! - in addition to some extra planning on my part for the car tags and extra expected birthday activities.

Also, I have some additional exciting news! February? Really, REALLY short.

This makes a happy difference to those of us who are paid either once monthly (hello, State and/or education employees) or, like me, twice monthly. This is, in fact, why January felt like the longest month on record. Because of the way holidays and pay days fell, the first pay period was 17 days between checks and the second pay period was 18 painfully long days. February though...February rocks! Not only is the first pay period a normal 16-day stretch but the second? 12 lovely days.

I'm hoping to have a little extra savings at the end of the month due to its shortness.

By the way, because I get paid on the 1st and 16th, I will report my numerical progress mid-month which is when I've cycled through all my bills. That means the number I shouted out to you a couple of weeks ago? Was, in reality, higher prior to January 15 given that I'd just finished paying all my January bills.

I'm also happy (and not-so-secretly pleased) to report that yet another friend, DM, has jumped aboard this party train and yesterday officially began her own financial plan.

I'm irrepressibly optimistic. I will make this work. It is working. With a little help from my friends.

One month down. Just twenty-three more months to go.