Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Low Spend Challenge Recap

First of all, TGIF! And, by that, I mean - Thank Goodness It's February! :-) January was a very difficult month for me - I worked 60-70 hour weeks every week, had lots of evening events, and a trip out of town for work. When any of those things happen, the work just builds up, as there's no one to provide additional support. I have laid down firm guidance to my manager on level of support I need in order to continue in this role. He's made some very initial indications that more support is on the way, but I need to see that in action to believe.

Enough of that. It's been a tough week. I actually served the world class dinner of soy corn dogs & pretzel chips on Friday night. That's when I know I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel & have no energy to take care of the family. I did take the boys to family movie night at their school in the evening, and managed to stay awake for the entire thing. Triumph! :-)

I'll do a full January goal recap as well, but here were my No/Low Spend Challenge results. Many thanks to Carla for providing the inspiration & motivation this month

These were my specific January Challenge goals. 

  • Trim our grocery spending down to $450. Actual spend = $465. I'm thrilled with this result. January was a very difficult month in terms of planning, & I'm very excited that I even came close, given the month i had.
  • Trim dining out down to $75 (should just cover one date with M). I feel like I should get partial credit, as I had to pay for my own meals on my work trip. Seriously? What a rip off. I work for a giant corporation, with plenty of money, so I'm loathe to report these numbers. C'est la vie, I suppose. Total spend - $354. 
  • Spend $0 on clothes for the kids + me. - I spent $0 on myself (and, actually returned something, so I had a $12 credit on my credit card), but bought Sam shoes for $21. I'm calling this a win!
  • Spend $0 on gifts, travel, personal, health, liquor, & house categories. Let's break this out for the results.
    • Gifts - I found what I wanted to get for the boys birthdays, so picked those up. Organizers for their Rainbow Loom. The goal was to organize those zillion rubber bands that are constantly all over my floor. Total spend = $36. 
    • Travel - I paid for our vacation next month (trip to visit family for the boys birthday, including overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge). My sister will reimburse me for her half. Total spend = $836.
    • Personal - I got a pedicure to take care of my ingrown toenails, & the boys all got hair cuts. Total spend = $66.
    • Health - I spent $14 to reassure myself that we wouldn't be expanding our family. ;-) Peace of mind = money well spent! 
    • Liquor - I spent $0!!! A category that I actually achieved my target!! :-) 
    • House - I spent $320 on legal documents (wills, guardianships, etc). I don't have another category to put this in, but I'm THRILLED that I finally did it!!
    • Toiletries - $85. We were out of everything. Toilet paper, paper towels, etc. These all fall under my "toiletries" category. 

All told, I'm giving myself a pass for the month. I didn't do well on my actual targets, but given the month I had, it could have been so much worse. I'll have to add up how many no spend days, but I think the numbers would be impressive.

Let's hope February is a giant improvement over January. :-) How did you do with your challenge goals? 


  1. Well done - all categories you did very well. We are updating our wills this month too - money well spent. Kind of crappy that you have to pay for your own meals when the company sends you somewhere. Sounds like you are definitely working too hard, don't let this job shorten your life! Please ensure you are taking care of yourself first.

    1. Thank you - it got a bit crazy, but I survived. :-) We ate some very interesting meals, but didn't succumb to take out or a restaurant even once (other than when I was out of town, & planned date night). I'll call that a win!

      I am taking steps to improve the work situation, but there's not a great short term fix. M & I are very together and of like mind when it comes to our long term plans, so now it's just figuring out the most thoughtful ways to get there. We want to minimize disruption to the kids, consider all priorities, while still doing the right thing for my health.