Many of us want to reduce debt and increase wealth. I'm no exception. This site will chronicle my efforts to live more frugally, pay off my debt, and save money. I hope you will find inspiration to get a handle on your own finances too, if you haven't already.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

First spending of 2014

So, I did it. Today, I made my first purchase of 2014. I actually made two purchases, and 1.5 of those two purchases was frivolous. Sigh...not the best way to start a new year financially.

I ran out of dog treats last night and was too lazy to go buy more. Instead, I waited until this morning when it was time to feed our dogs. One of them is the most finicky dog I've ever encountered when it comes to eating, and will only eat certain foods, most notably particular types of dog treats, in the morning. I had noticed that dog treats were on sale at CVS this week, so I popped the dogs in the car this morning and we took a little jaunt over to the local CVS where I picked up two large bags of dog treats and two sodas. The sodas were totally unnecessary both financially and calorically. 

Then, on the way home, I swung by Starbucks and got a grande soy latte. I do allow myself one coffee purchase per week, but I try to make it an entire outing, not just a random drive thru stop. I also try to make that outing to an independent coffee shop, but it doesn't always work out that way. So, now I've had my one coffee out for the week, and wish I had saved it for a more special, indie-coffee shop outing over the weekend. 
Spending today:
  • CVS: $10.68 - $3.06 frivolous; $7.62 on dog supplies
  • Starbucks: $4.69 - totally frivolous
Total spending for January 2014 so far:
  • $15.37 
    • $7.75 frivolous spending
    • $7.62 necessities
Since I know at least one person will think it, if not ask it, why do I buy coffee out weekly? Why not save that money or put it to better use? Because the so-called "latte factor" tends to backfire. I have tried cutting my coffee dates out entirely and it just blows up in my face every time. Instead of being good and spending that money more wisely or paying a bill, I end up getting all flustered, feeling super broke, and then going totally overboard and losing control. By allowing myself a special treat each week, I keep my spending in check. I get my treat, I'm satisfied, I move on. I also find that I do best if I do my financial planning/analysis while having that special treat.

Here are some articles on the latte factor and why eliminating little splurges like this aren't always as beneficial as they seem to be:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Small steps towards financial freedom

There are both big and small things that can be done towards achieving financial freedom. This post is about some of the small things.

In the craziness of the past several months, I've gotten away from some of my frugal ways. Here's a reminder that the small things can sometimes add up to big savings.

I resolve to return to these frugal habits:
  • Keep to the power company's off-peak hours for things like washing clothes.
  • Return to line drying the vast majority of our laundry.
  • Continue to hand wash dishes - with only two of us, it's easy and fast to hand wash dishes, and saves electricity, water, and gas (to heat the water).
These may be small changes, but they can have big long-term impact if I am vigilant about practicing them.