Saving my sanity (money)

Posted March 5th, 2009 by Penny Wise

Yay, it's been such a good week, I'm just buzzing! I have come to the happy realisation that I can be a BRILLIANT No Spender! Honestly, I am just loving No Spend Month, it is sooo what I needed. I have set foot in Mr Patel's just twice this week and my $21 Challenge figure currently stands at $20.64. Bah, if only we hadn't run out of coffee! I don't even drink the stuff either so it added even more insult to injury bringing me so close to $21. I am really enjoying filling in my Savings Diary each night. It's funny but it feels as though I am talking to Fiona each night, justifying and explaining my purchases and sharing my little triumphs! Will make interesting reading to look back on one day. Even the prior bills which I am committed to pay stand out in black and white as to whether they are essential or not. Like having to fork out $56 to Doubleday for a couple of books I wouldn't read in a million years, simply because I didn't decline the Editor's Choice for the month and send it back. Grrr, that could have been so avoidable!

Getting money out of me at the moment is like getting blood out of a stone. The in-laws asked me this morning if I could get some reprints of some new photos of the kids. 'Sure!' I said - but what I really meant was 'Sure! Just not until next month!' And then what should arrive in the mail this morning but a bill from Liam's school requesting payment of $70 for some class resources and a further $50 annual school donation. I couldn't help but let out a 'I don't belieeeeve it!' a la Victor Meldrew. More cheeky so-and-so's trying to get money out of me! Normally I would pop a cheque in an envelope and send it back with Liam the following day but not this month! They can bloomin' well wait until April!

This sanity money lark is working really well too. After checking out some forum threads to see how much everyone else 'pays themselves', I settled on $50 per week. This might sound a lot to some but I think I would normally have no problem spending more than that on little treats - magazines, CDs and so on, which would otherwise get buried unnoticed in all the usual Eftpos transactions. So far I have spent the princely sum of $8.90 and it almost killed me to part with it (I should state clearly that this was LAST week, before No Spend Month and my $21 Challenge week). You see (here come the excuses) I was feeling unwell and it's a standing joke in our household that the best hangover cure we know of is a big greasy feed of KFC. On this particular day I thankfully wasn't hungover but I did feel unwell enough to make me crave KFC and convince myself that it was the only thing which was going to make me feel better. I struggled with myself, I really did. I did NOT want to part with my money! In the end however I gave in. Five minutes and $8.90 I was full of guilt and frustration for choosing to use almost a fifth of my precious weekly sanity money on something so unnecessary. To top it all off, it didn't make me feel any better either! I haven't spent a cent of it since.

I realised how well my sanity money was working when I caught sight of a delicious looking Body Shop Wild Cherry Scrub in the lifestyle section of a weekly newspaper I write for. 'Ooh, that looks nice! Mental note to self - HAVE to have it.' Until I saw the price - $34.95. Not on your life! I wouldn't dream of spending almost a week's sanity allowance on one teensy pot of cherry scented exfoliator! Bring back the sugar and olive oil! If I do see things I really like the sound of now, I put them on my wishlist to consider using my sanity money on once No Spend Month is over. At present my wishlist consists of a book called 'Sink Reflections' by Marla Cilley (AKA Flylady) and a DVD of one of my favourite movies, Shirley Valentine. I already pretty much know I won't end up buying the DVD because I can get my Shirley fix whenever I like from the local library, so that narrows my wishlist down to one for the moment! I also find it hard to resist getting a massage when a wonderful lady comes to town once a month but today I walked past with my nose in the air. That would cost MORE than a week's sanity money! At first Noel couldn't see the reason or need for me to have sanity money but I think he's changed his mind now he has seen me enthusiastically finding reasons not to spend it!

I realised when reading the previous blog featuring my $21 Challenge shopping list that my list of things to buy must have looked impossibly small to some people. It made me see just what a fantastic job Noel does of growing our food. As of this week he has now picked/dug up 91kg of food from the garden - as much as his own weight in food! Jings, no wonder I've put a couple of kilos on lately! The only veges I ever have to buy are carrots and the odd bag of frozen peas. We still have a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk in the freezer to see us to the end of the week and peaches and passionfruit coming out of our ears. Whilst I did grumble rather loudly about spending so much time in the kitchen at the weekend, it has really paid off. We have had more yummy food this week to help ourselves to than we have in ages - not bad for a $21 Challenge week! The kids have been eating really well at lunchtimes and after school so I'm going to do my darnedest to keep up the effort as everyone is so happy. One lovely follow-on from Find Time Month is that I have found the time lately to cook the boys a hearty breakfast each morning, rather than leaving it up to them to grab a couple of pieces of toast. They go off to school happy and full and we all have a chat over breakfast instead of rushing around with our respective pieces of toast. A much nicer way to start the day! The only stuff up I made this week (and I don't know how!) but I found I didn't have enough cheese to put on our home made pizzas. Disaster! What was I going to make? Panic over - Noel's fishing mates turned up this morning with two huge boxes of freshly smoked marlin! Yum!

I do confess to just one small splurge this week and while it wasn't essential, I felt it was very well deserved. Our Liam has been doing so well lately, trying really hard at school and in sports. He's come on in leaps and bounds with his swimming and has taken up cycling like his dad. It's really done heaps for his confidence and all his hard work is paying off. He's done two triathlons in the last few weeks, competes in the district championships next week and on Tuesday he was awarded the title of Champion Athlete at school. He's been grinning from ear to ear ever since. Not bad for a young fella who used to be terrified of his own shadow! I felt he deserved a treat but couldn't bring myself to say 'OK son, I'm really proud of you but it's No Spend Month so you'll have to wait until April for your reward.' That would just be cruel! So I bought him a chocolate bar and thought it was quite justified. In fact, it was quite restrained on my part as I was so proud of him I could burst and would probably have bought him an Xbox 360 if he had asked for one at that moment. Just as well it IS No Spend Month!

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