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Archive for March, 2007

So, Itís the Month After

March 26th, 2007 at 05:59 pm

This month I have spent more than on My Challenge, yet I have also felt very in control of my spending.

My folks are going to Fiji for a month, New Zealand for three months, Australia for three months, and Bali for three months. There was a big going away party in Novato, so My Guy and I drove down for the weekend. A very unusual expenditure for me, even pre-Challenge, was staying in a cute little historical register hotel. It was very charming, and I really enjoyed it. It was $120 a night after taxes, which to me seemed reasonable for a fancy pants hotel (rated number one on TripAdvisor, which is how I found it). So that was definitely an extravagance, as well as a fancy dinner we went to one night.

On the other hand, when we went to Costco in Santa Rosa to see what was going on, we walked out spending $28, on four items including some fluorescent bulbs ($11.19 for 6, $8 instant rebate-cool craziness). I went to target the pother day, and over and over again saw items that I could buy, and probably were reasonably priced, but I didnít need íem, didnít want íem. I am packing my lunch every day, and I am about to try on a whole bunch of hand-me downs from a buddy. I tried to get bubble bath and all were to overpriced for me, even at TargetÖI could ďaffordĒ an $8 medium size bottle, but I can use homemade bath salts until I find something that feels more reasonable to me.

March is a three paycheck month for me, plus I am getting my tax refunds, so itís a plush month, and my spree money may be around $350, and that includes a really great romantic weekend and some shopping at my favorite thrift store. I am at peace with that. Oh, and I got a bra fitting at Macy*s (somehow that, along with trying escargot for the first time, made me feel like Iím growing up - at 36) and got three new bras. Funnily enough, I was braced to spend a fair amount, but I got three for $66-there was a sale. And the bras are pretty fabulous.

I canít really explain, even to myself, my lack of posting. Clarifying my thoughts around consumption and expenditure is very good for me; I really get a sense of what is important to me, and can spend without guilt. That is so satisfying, spending without guilt.

I go to Los Angeles for work this week, and donít return until late Thursday, so even though I feel posty, I probably wonít get an opportunity.

I spent $977.74 a Month

March 25th, 2007 at 02:11 pm

Iíve finally crunched My Challenge numbers. I spent an average of $977.74 on living expenses, after savings and taxes.

Hereís a recap of my income.


Hereís a concise summary of my spending.



Hereís the detail.


For some reason, all my current and prior images show as boxes wiht a little x, although if I click on them I see the image. A quick review of the forums hasn't helped me figure it out. If anyone has hints, let me know. Current and prior images are jpegs from my hard drive.

I spent $1592 a month in 2005. (I have already been saving a large portion of my income.) I wasnít on any Challenge in 2005, and the trips I went to Oaxaca, Poland and Belgium are included in the $1592 a month average.

I spent $978 a month on the Challenge. If I take off, as I should, the amount I spent on my trip to Europe (Croatia and Bosnia, Sept. 2006, $1810) I saved an additional $5558 for the year, for an average increase in savings per month of $463.

During My Challenge, I lived on less than half of my net income. That's just the numbers. Later, I'll post on what the Challenge really meant for me, as far as my lifestyle.

Busy is Good

March 16th, 2007 at 10:44 am

Out of town this weekend, out of town last weekend, fun but busy. This week for work I am out of town twice, next week out of town for three days. I get frequent flyer miles, and I get to shop at Trader Joeís, and I get to see my dad, so the trips are all good for different reasons. However, it does seem like Iím away a lot. A good thing, because sometimes when Iím at home I just putter and do actually do anything.

I am still on Weight Watchers, week three. I am a poster child for very slow weight loss, 1.2 pounds week one, 1.0 week two. And I really was going by the book, tracking every single point, eating lots of healthy foods, avoiding processed and crutch foods, drinking water, etc. However, instead of being really worked up-which I was a t first - I did realize that I am appreciating being in control of my eating.

When I quit smoking and drinking, I realize now in one sense I was done the first day. I was an absolute mess, yes, however, from day one I got to be a non-drinker, non-smoker. I didnít know how to be a non-overeater; I have to eat, I couldnít go cold turkey. I kept thinking if I could just lose 50 pounds overnight, then be a wreck internally for a couple years, Iíd like that.

So now, with the point system on Weight Watchers, I do feel like I have a nice way to ďknowĒ Iím not overeating-not over points-until I develop more internal mechanisms to know when Iím hungry for food, when Iím hungry for something else, when Iím full.

As someone has pointed out, the gym might be better for weight loss, and thatís probably where I need to head if I want better, faster with loss. However, I am enjoying food now and feeling much more in control of it, and that is a win for me.

Havenít finished My Challenge annual totals, I know Iím negligent.

Last weekendís trip wasnít much, just gas money, in the way of cost. This weekend I feel a little excited that My Guy and I will be able to stay in a nice charming little hotel; very reasonably priced, but certainly not something I could do a month ago. I am also going to try to get a bra fitting at Macyís, and do a Trader Joeís run. Whoo hoo!

Just Checking In

March 4th, 2007 at 04:18 pm

March 1: did I go crazy and buy lots of stuff? No, not really. I did feel a sense of giddiness, but I didnít go shopping. I made a $50 donation to charity; that solved the money burning a whole in my pocket issue. I took My Guyís car to the shop for him on the 2nd and Iíll be paying; it needs work that wasnít a priority to him, but now that I have more room to spend, I knew Iíd feel more comfortable if the work got done. Itís a nice gift to My Guy, too, in that he has lower income right now; although itís by choice so that he has extra time, he does still need to watch his money.

I joined Weight Watchers on 02/28/07 (yes, my $39.95 membership is coming out of Challenge money), but I was thrilled to be able to discover that it is not nearly as restrictive as I thought, and I was able to take My Guy out to Mexican food, and I spend a whole $21 total. I know thatís not a whole lot, but on the Challenge it was almost an entire monthís dining and entertainment, so it was a spree of sorts.

Other than that, no crazy spending. I have bought a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and other foods, but I am looking forward to see what happens to my grocery budget; Iím really curious how much it goes up past My Challenge average of $97 a month. I think that a lot of my spending habits are with me to stay.