Confession: Sometimes when I make a list, I add things I have already done just so I can check it off. Do you ever do that? It gives me a bit of momentum to do the rest of the stuff on the list!
Instead of resolutions, I make monthly goals for myself. Resolution are a year long commitment to one thing, and that is too long for me to stay interested. The first goal of 2022 is about getting financially fit since my first Daily Declaration is about being financially, physically, and spiritually fit.
My Financial To Do List
- Read The One Week Budget. (Read the book in one afternoon, but then had to actually go back and do the steps! I’ve realized something about myself as a reader: I skip over numbers and pictures in text. Kind of a problem when looking at a finance book.)
1.5 Make a budget based off the book. (Tiffany breaks it down into several days, but I was home alone. I worked on it for a full day – 10 hours, my friends!)
2. Find an accountability person to check in with once a month to make sure I’m on schedule with the new budget. (I KNOW there is a reason I have several math teachers as friends! Honestly, it was scary being vulnerable and asking for help. It was hard to have someone look over my budget. I’m still nervous to sit down to talk about how I actually spent my money. I think this is going to be a good step for me!)
3. Review all open debt accounts. Update with correct amounts, interest rates, and pay off dates. (I planned an hour, and spent about 5 as I was on hold, trying to reset passwords I had forgotten.)
4. Review all cost of living expenses (insurance, internet, phone, etc.) to make sure I have the lowest rates. (This took another day due to being on hold so many times. At the time of this writing, I’m still not done!)
5. Follow a No Buy Year as was introduced by Joshua Becker. (This was my “check of the list quickly” because I don’t shop . . . )
Reality Check: I do a lot of online shopping! And even more impulse shopping when I’m getting groceries! For example: the basement it too cold, so I bought another space heater. Treadmill isn’t working right, so I bought some stuff to fix it. K’s birthday is coming up, so I went shopping. It would be nice to cancel my gym membership and do my workouts at home, so I started looking online for some equipment. A hostess in my book business didn’t use all her 1/2 priced items, and I hate to see a book deal go unused.
Gulp! This isn’t following a No Buy Program!
I’m not saying that any of these were bad things. But they all violated the rules I had set for myself for a No Buy Year. As I went to add these purchases into my budget, I realized there wasn’t a spot for me to put it, and I had to take money out of another category to cover the cost. Double Gulp! I’m into the year 8 days, and already seeing some major changes I need to make.
Guidelines for My No Buy Year
I had to go back to the article because I was not on track. My first mistake was not setting a goal or an intention for my No Buy Year. Why did I want to do this? Just to check it off my list? Well, that failed miserably! I reevaluated my intentions.
- I’m tired of living paycheck to paycheck, and still not being able to afford the things we need.
- I hate the weight of hoping bills will clear. It would be wonderful to be free from the anxiety of knowing there is too much month at the end of the money.
- I want to use the money I have in more efficient ways without having to get a second or third job to provide for my kids.
- I desperately want to be able to go on vacation this year.
With a clearer picture in mind of what I wanted to accomplish, I set down some new guidelines for myself.
- No impulse buying at the grocery store. If it isn’t on the list, it doesn’t go in the cart. This is going to force us to be more focused and have a discussion about what we need BEFORE going shopping instead of making it up as we wander the store.
- Adding a “Misc.” section to my budget. Do I need the treadmill lubricant? If I’m going to hit my fitness goals without adding a gym membership, probably. Do I need the other exercise equipment? I should maybe use the pull-up bar with attachments and yoga bands I already have first.
- Limit eating out. Not that we do a lot of this, but we definitely can cut down. New rule is eating out is only for date nights. No more “I don’t feel like cooking” nights.
- No buying new books (this is for me). If there is a hostess benefit not being used, I will offer it to someone else. We will dust off our library cards and make a weekly trip for new books. I will free-cycling or sell the piles of books we have that aren’t being used.
- Not really part of not buying, but I will sit down for 5 minutes every night to review my spending for the day and record it in my budget. This will keep me from reaching the panic of suddenly being out of money.
- Put money into two savings accounts. A long-term account and a vacation account. Anything we end up not using on vacation will roll into the savings account.
We’ve talked about this before, but I’m co-dependent. I had to have other people support what I’m trying to do. Who better then the guys I live with?
R and Baby sat down with me, and I showed them how much money I make each paycheck, and where that money went. R was shocked at how much things cost! He has been begging for a new gaming system, but after talking about money like this, the asking has stopped. He has been good at putting things on the shopping list, and I’ve watched him decide it it was a necessary item, or a want item.
Baby is still not sure he likes the rule about not putting it in the cart if it’s not on the list. He snuck a few things into the cart while my back was turned. I handed them to the check-out person and told them we didn’t want it. It was hard in the moment, but I’m sure it will be good in the long run.
Have you done a No Buy Year Before? Tell me about it! Give me some inspiration about what you learned or how it changed your life. How do you include your kids on the finance end of life?