The Spending Diet

A spending diet.  That’s what I’m going on for the new year.

Financially speaking, 2011 wasn’t the best year for us. We’ve never been wealthy, but most of the time we managed to get by on what we had.  If you read my post about modifying my 101, or this one, you know that as a Christmas gift from his boss, Mr. Hippie got laid off indefinitely for the Christmas 0f 2010.  He was unemployed until April of 2011 so finances were tight around here. Mr. Hippie did find a job last April, but his hourly rate is only 60% of his old rate.  Add to that the fact that he’s only working about 85% of his old hours and you start to see the big picture.

I took a second job from April-June of last year and then all summer, the kids and I added an extra child to our family which added some extra money to our budget, but made doing some “summer things” more difficult. When school resumed, the extra child no longer needed to spend her days with us, so my extra cash-flow dried up. Add to that a school-employee pay freeze and an increase in both our insurance premiums and our deductible amounts and things are tighter than they’ve ever been.

I have a bad habit of using credit cards to make ends meet when we can’t afford things.  Most of the time, the things are things we actually need like groceries, or gas for the car, but sometimes, they are wants.  Because of this habit and some poor choices we made years ago, Hubby and I have a lot of debt.  Add to that a mortgage that we can’t refinance because the market crashed and our house isn’t worth what we owe on it, and things are pretty grim.

Enter the spending diet. A couple of days ago I popped over to squirrels in wren’s nest and saw her post about resolutions. One of hers, like many peoples’ is to get rid of her credit card debt.   She referenced And Then She Saved.  I checked it out.  I decided right away that I wasn’t ready for a spending fast; primarily because of derby. A fast would mean NO spending which would mean no dues, no bus fare to away bouts, no equipment. . . No derby would make #62 a lot more difficult.  Running helps, but practice three nights a week is a commitment not only to myself and my health but to a whole army of other girls that depend on me; it keeps me accountable.

So, hubby and I started our diet on Monday.  He and I were both given our allowance for the month in cash.  I don’t expect him to keep track of his expenditures, but when he’s out of money, he’s out of money.  As for me, I actually think $100 a month is a lot.  I’ll let you know when it runs out and I change my mind. 🙂

The Spending Diet will probably change our lives.  Hopefully for the better.  I think it will be tough in the short-term, but in the long run we’ll all be happier.  Plus, #s 84, 85, 86 and 87 seem a lot more feasible now.



Filed under 101 in 1001, frugality

5 responses to “The Spending Diet

  1. Anita

    That’s awesome that you’re doing this. I’m finally doing somewhat okay after being in the red every month for several years….still paying down credit card debt, but like you said, it was mostly for necessities. I’ve found Suze Orman really helpful, especially when I have the urge to splurge (like eating a meal that I didn’t have to cook when I’m hungry). Michelle Singletary from the Washington Post and a blog I came across recently, Daily Worth, have been really helpful, too. Best of luck and keep us posted!

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  3. I can relate to much you have written and have gone on a similar diet for the new year. In fact, the part about rising premiums vs frozen pay (I work for the guv) especially rings true for me as well. I hope you update (I am following you now-I found you from an old post on Tigress in a Jam Can jam post-(I need to try the jerked onions!)

    Good luck!

    • aastricker

      The jerked onions are a favorite around here. I hope to follow-up on the spending diet with my success, but even if it doesn’t work out so weell I’ll post something.

  4. Pingback: Etsy | Notes From a Country Girl Living in the City

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