Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Little Bit of Cheating

I read this great article on Friday on a blog called The Simple Dollar which my sister introduced me to a few weeks ago. In this blog, Trent Hamm, posts articles and gives helpful hints for those managing their money. Here's a better description:

"The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds - we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money."

Hamm had a bit of a financial meltdown but was able to pull himself out of it in eight months by reading all about personal finance and just learning from other people. He now shares his words of wisdom through this great blog.

Some of it is just not relevant to my situation but I have uncovered a few gems here and there. He's currently unveiling his 14 Money Rules and #6 was especially poignant to me as I'm a borderline shopaholic.

He says, "If you buy a car that’s flashy rather than focusing on one that gets the job done as efficiently as you can find, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you go clothes shopping by the store sack full, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you always have the latest gadget, you’re spending money to impress other people."

This may sound pretty self-explanatory to most but for me it was an ah-ha moment because I always just spent without really thinking about it. There's no need to get that ipod when there are a million others like it that do the same thing for less money. I'm a brand-whore and now I know to think twice about why I want a certain product or service. The article also tells you to just think about the people who's opinion matters to you and not ones who will judge you by what you have.

I won't get too into but I will say that it's worth checking out.

I told my parents about my $200 spending fast this past weekend and they were extremely concerned that I wouldn't be able to make it a whole month. So my mother emptied out her refrigerator and freezer and gave me as much as she could:

Sorry for the blurry picture. I felt that I just had to share because it's probably considered cheating if I got this much help. Some of the goods: veggies, three servings of Japanese meatloaf, a serving of eggplant parm, brown rice, salmon, a can of chickpeas, and a jar of pasta sauce. My dad also slipped me a roll of quarters for laundry. I also spent $15 on groceries at home to take advantage of those New Jersey prices.

So...with 18 days left, I have $113 left. I fell off the wagon last week by buying dinner three days in a row, which totaled $26. Ouch! Hopefully I can spent less than $20 this week to make up for my slippage last week....

Quick update: Once I got back to my room and ready for bed, I realized that my mom had left me an encouraging note and $15 to make up for the sandwich I bought for dinner the night I got back from Ohio. Clearly, I was very disturbed about spending money on dinner that I had to "confess" to my mom. I vow to not spend the $15 and instead save it for when I am done with my fast in a few weeks. Longest.thirty.days.ever.

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