no spending and the lead free crock pot…

21 days into the new year and I think my no spending has gone according to plan. I have missed just running into Caribou for a coffee on the go, but I’m sticking to the rule that it has to be a social event, so I only get coffee when with others. I got 2 Caribou gift cards for Xmas that may last me forever at this rate!

My biggest dilemma so far has been over buying a lead free crockpot. Last year when I started clearing all the toxic substances out of my kitchen (which includes anything made in China) I had read about lead being in the glaze of crock pots, but I think it was just too much for me to think about at that time so it was pushed back to the far recesses of my mind. It has recently started popping up again in the blogosphere and this time I couldn’t ignore it. So I decided to get rid of my 2 crockpots but what to replace them with. My friend Kristen did the research and found a couple of lead free options but I’m not buying anything new. So I planned on waiting until next year to buy one and in the mean time use my cast iron pots and oven to slow cook. Which I did yesterday and it worked just fine. However, my birthday is coming up and mother in law asked what she could get me, and even though it does feel like cheating I asked for that crockpot.

Also I’ve decided that the thrift store shopping still needs limits, while my goal of this experiment is not to live as a pauper I can get carried away with even thrift store shopping. So in an effort to live within my new saving requirements I am going to put aside only $20 a month for thrift store purchases. Which means only shopping on 1/2 price day to maximize my money. I’m mostly buying wool sweaters for my sewing creations so I will be sad if I run out. But I can venture on to other art stuff (or maybe working on that renovation!)

I’ve got all our regular bills set up so I can have them all paid automatically each month, by putting the gas and electric on budget plans I don’t have to think about the bill I can just set it up for auto pay. We had a tiny pay cut which left my budget off by about $100 a month so I’ve had to drop my savings to about 18% instead of the 20%. I think that’s still an admirable goal so I’m ok with that. A note about the savings, this is just a short term savings acct. Since our debt is limited to our house and 1 car we are using the money to cover any big expenses that come up such as Beth’s modeling trips, my scrapbooking weekend, summer vacations and any renovation costs we start to incur. I don’t expect to have a huge amount of savings at the end of the year but I do expect to be able to pay for all of our vacations and renovations without going into debt!

No spending in 2011

Is still going strong, of course I’m only 13 days into the challenge. I am coming up with a mental list of items that I “need” but will have to live without. The plunger for my vita mix that I accidentally chopped up last year, a new lead free crock pot, supplies for my new art class, yet another new camera bag…

My plan for the plunger is to tell the vita mix representative, that I sometimes see at Costco, my sob story of destruction and hope they take pity on my and give me an extra. Last time I was there and mentioning my issue he said he would have given me one but he already gave away all his extras.

As for the crock pot did you know that there have been news stories done on the high lead levels that crock pots leach out during cooking (due to lead in the glaze.) Of course, the worst brand is Rival which is what both my crockpots are. Unfortunately, I can’t really figure out a safe brand to go with. So in the mean time and until 2012 I’ll just quit using my crock pot and switch over to my cast iron pots and slow cooking in the oven. That’s a big bummer!

I’m also trying to figure out how I’m going to cover supplies for an art class that I’m taking. It’s metal working/ jewelry making something I’ve never done before so I don’t already own any of the stuff. However, we do have a pretty well stocked shop so I guess I’ll have to go searching and see what I can come up with. Dan did say he has some sheets of copper out there that I can use, so that’s a start. On the upside if this class works out I think I could end up making some pretty cool gifts.

I’m ready to make another trip to the thrift store, my sweater supply has depleted and I’m right in the midst of making another quilt that needs some additional squares. Not sure if I’ll be able to hold out until 1/2 price day at the end of the month or not I’m, thinking not.

I had no problem not shopping in St. Louis last weekend. But this coming weekend my mom, Beth, Melissa and I are going for an all weekend scrapbooking event. I’ll need to pack up all the supplies I think I may need because I won’t be buying any extras while I’m there! Since we tend to only scrapbook once a year at this weekend event I really don’t need to buy anything else!

It will be much harder to stay strong this weekend but I’m gonna do it!

New Years Resolutions 2011

I’m mixing things up a bit for this year. While I have on-going goals that I plan on sticking to I don’t really consider them New years Resolutions (such as only eating local, humanely raised meat, eating as much organic produce as possible, sticking with local in season fruits and veggies, etc.) Those are life time goals for us and not something new.

So for my New Years Resolution I am picking something that I have never attempted before. First off I am going to start putting 20% of all our paychecks into savings. Dan is usually the one who saves money and it has to be before the checks get to me. I have lots of reasons (excuses) as to why I can’t save any money. I pay all the bills and spend the rest of the money on groceries, gas and the kids classes. But each month money is wasted on unneeded items. So before I do anything 20% is going into savings.

The next part of the resolution is going to help with not needing that 20%. I am going to buy NOTHING new for all of 2011! The only exceptions are food obviously, necessary toiletries, and materials for the house renovation. While my budget for the renovation is pretty much $0 anyway (since I don’t have any money saved for it,) I had already planned on being very frugal with what we purchased. But there are still going to be items that need to be purchased new such as electrical wire and drywall and other items like that. But wherever possible I will first search out previously used items and not automatically run to Lowes for supplies.

This also means no more shopping for new clothes (except to use up any gift cards we were given for Xmas,) and no more trips to Target for “necessary” supplies. Also no more purchased gifts, sorry to say everyone is going to be getting handmade gifts this year. Not only that but I’m not going to go out and buy NEW supplies for making these gifts. I have to use up the abundance of supplies I already own or find magical items at the thrift store to transform. I promise not to give arm warmers for every gift this year!

I think this is going to be a huge challenge but a necessary one. We have gotten used to being able to run to the store and buy whatever we “need” even when those needs are questionable. I have way too much clutter and stuff in this house and part of clearing it out is not bringing in anything new. So for at least 2011 that is the goal!