February 4, 2014

January Spending Freeze +Pilates Challenge

Sweater and tank: Target // Scarf: Gift (Kohl's) // Pants: Old Navy Rockstar Skinnies ($8!)
Boots: Report

It's still winter and it's still cold and gross with more snow on the way…

Life According to Steph

Let's be honest here: this wasn't a true spending freeze.  I didn't create a budget.  I didn't plan ahead.  I simply said, "No. Stop. You don't need this stuff." and I stopped spending money.  Now I stopped spending money.  Scott didn't.  He and I have different philosophies.  I'm an all or nothing type person. He's more of a moderation kinda guy.  So, take this for what it's worth…

What led to a spending freeze?
I was feeling a bit like mid-November to mid-December was one giant online shopping fest.  And 2 1/2 weeks in Pennsylvania?  All I did was accumulate stuff.  Whether it was Christmas gifts, after Christmas sales, going to stores I don't get a chance to shop at often…it was one giant buy-all-the-stuff extravaganza.  Then comes my birthday and I'm making excuses for stuff I want/need/etc.

With all that being said, I felt the need to cut back and simplify.

Here's the rundown of pretty much everything I bought in January.

1.  Groceries.  Each week, I went to the commissary and bought what we needed.  I don't usually buy a whole lot of processed/pre-prepared food anyway.  I didn't set a budget and I DO deviate from my lists, but I'd make it a point to use what I bought.  And I did.  The best part of this was that I was motivated to cook this month and the Papa John's guy didn't have to visit at all.

2.  Gas.  Necessity.  I put a grand total of 10 miles on my car everyday though, so gas isn't a budget-breaker for me.  It used to be when I commuted in PA and Alaska.

3.  I made a trip the PX for the basics like body wash, conditioner, a new brush head/cleanser for the Mia, etc.  Also, some air freshener, colored paper for school, etc. That trip wasn't cheap ($93), but it wasn't fun stuff either.  I didn't buy candy or shiny things, and I didn't stop to look at the clearance shoes.  Some of the basics might've been cheaper at Wal-mart, but they don't have the Clarisonic brand there, and that was a big part of the reason for the trip.  The other things got tacked on because we were out of them (and you can never have too much air freshener in your classroom).

4.  Gym stuff.
I paid $4 total for classes at the gym on base this month.  I also paid $20 for a promotional 2-hour workout there a few weeks ago.  The Muscle Meltdown also included 2 free shirts and a water bottle.  Plus I got to see a friend I don't see nearly enough these days, so I think it was worth it.
I also found a new gym(!) and was given the first class for free.  There is no membership fee, but I paid $30 for a 10-class package.  That's a pretty good deal considering that it's Les Mills-oriented, it's a nice gym (like my last one in Alaska) and the instructors are great.  Considering that I was paying about $30 a month over the summer for gym classes here on base and, before that, $70 a month in Alaska, this seems to be a happy medium.  So, gym expenses = $4+$20+$30=$54.  New sneakers and workout capris are pending in February.

5.  Dining out.  I'm pretty disciplined when it comes to dining out.  I'm generally not a fan of it, unless there's a good reason.  We did sushi for my birthday, a farewell dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili's when we were out of town for the day for the movies, and a lunch at Panera.
Chili's was kinda gross, but Panera is really growing on me.  I love their BBQ Chicken Salad and Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich.  Anyway, Starbucks trips equal 3 for the month (all bought with gift cards) and I'm proud to say I have not been suckered into a Panera latte on my way to school since December (they're better than Starbucks', by the way).

6.  I ended up with some kind of bug 2 weeks ago and made a stop at Wal-Mart for medicine.  Robitussin, cough drops, Afrin, Kleenexes, etc ain't cheap.  We weren't stocked up on anything.  I left $40 lighter.

7.  The Target trap.  I spent $45 in gift cards.  Not a cent more.  Unless you count the pile of stuff Scott walked out with.  I don't.

8.  I made another Wal-Mart trip for a few groceries and ended up spending some time in the Valentine aisle.  I have a class party in 2 weeks.  So, I either buy the stuff now or I buy it next week.  I mean, it needs to be bought.  What's the difference?  I also bought some Sweetheart Swap goodies at a couple of different places last week.  Whatever, right?  Right.
And on that Wal-Mart trip, I also bought Cold-Medicine-Round-#2.  For Scott, this time.


God bless you if you're still reading.

I'm more than ready to spend money in February.  Maybe.  I'm a fan of restraint, though you probably can't tell by reading this blog post.  I wasn't as entirely thrifty as I should've been.  I admit that I already have some OldNavy.com and BareMinerals enroute to my address. Maybe I'll try again in March?

So January's challenge was about not spending money. February's challenge is Pilates.  You can read up on it here.  I'm excited, and enjoying it already.


  1. "It's still winter and it's still cold and gross with more snow on the way…"

    Basically describes winter. When it comes to spending, I think I'm much more prone to spending money on eating out than actually buying stuff. Of course, I'm already in the mood that we have too much stuff to take with us when we move--no more stuff necessary!
    And Chili's is NOT delicious.

  2. You did great! I think you were more mindful of what you were buying, which is always my main goal - do I need it? Etc.

    MFD's spending is definitely different than mine, and he's not going to change his habits.

    I'm doing another freeze in April, I hope you join up again!

  3. My whole life is a spending freeze. We definitely have heavier sending months sometimes (yikes, December and November)! I think you did a good job honestly. It's unrealistic (at least in my opinion) to not spend ANY money during the months. Necessities are necessities. Where I've found we're using the most restraint right now is squashing the desire when we're worn out "just to grab something." I'm proud to say we didn't do that at all in January. I went out to eat once and ate from the kids menu (6$) and had Starbucks once but used a gift card!

  4. Being aware of where your money goes is one of the best and biggest steps! Once I started really tracking our income, it showed me the areas I needed to work on most-- we struggled most with eating out, but have gotten sooo much better! Thanks for linking up :)

  5. I'd say you did great! I ended up unintentionally spending less this month, just because we rarely ate out on this Whole 30, which meant I didn't need excuse trips for one or two things at Target, which leads to ten extra things, lol.

  6. Free pilates??? I'm definitely interested! It looks like you did great with your spending freeze

    Meet @ the Barre

  7. I really should do that pilates challenge. It's been an embarrassingly long time since I did any intentional exercise.

    I have a bit of a soft spot for Chili's, having worked there for 4 1/2 years, but I have no idea how the food is these days...I do miss their boneless buffalo wings and SW eggrolls though.

  8. Because I live alone, eating out is one of my biggest struggles as it is social for me. Planning my meals for the week and shopping in advance definitely helped with that.

  9. I think you did great on the spending freeze, it's definitely not easy.

  10. I think you did a great job. It is always so hard for me to not look at the clearance sections at stores!

  11. THis is so good. I am thinking about giving up extra spending for Lent this year.

  12. My attitude on the January Spending Freeze was similar to yours. I had one budgetws outing set aside but everything else was more along the lines of "do you really need to spend money on this." Most of the time it was no. I think that is the biggest thing, knowing whether or not something is a necessity. Good job! It looks like you did well. :)

  13. I love that outfit and want those pants. And hey, good job! :D

  14. You did better than I probably would! I am such a BAD impulsive shopper but I did well not buying myself anymore clothes in January.

  15. Cute outfit! I actually think you did pretty well with the spending freeze. It sounds like you mostly stuck to the basics and things that were going on in your life. :)

  16. It sounds like you did a really good job! I hate getting sick when I'm trying to be budget-conscious. The medicines are so expensive, it's like a double whammy of unfairness!

  17. LOL! girl, you are hilarious. This is great. seriously, I think we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves you know. I mean, i know I have to. Money is really hard for me....spending it or not spending it I totally worry about it. Even when I need to spend it I freak out. LOL. Shopping for medicine absolutely kills me every time. Its so expensive!! why is that?! Its a scam I tell you!!

  18. You definitely were more conscious of what you were spending your money on it seemed and I agree that if you're at the store and need to buy something why not just do it then. I had that with one of my trips, so I didn't feel bad about it at all. Great job!


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