Monday, November 3, 2014

The Freeze

I was doing a bit of Pinteresting awhile ago when I came across something interesting.

When I was done laughing hysterically at Velma's sassy ass, I stumbled upon something a bit less enjoyable, but probably more useful to my life.

Instructions and tips for a month long spending freeze.

30 days of no spending (beyond necessities like food, gas, rent, and such). No eating out. No nights at the bar. No random trips to Target that end in a bag full of glittery sponges, pomegranate flavored/scented something or other, or rainbow striped socks.

And way less wine...

I mean, obviously there's going to have to be some wine.

I didn't actually read any of the tips or tricks, because reading headlines and then adamantly asserting my knowledge of a topic is kind of my jam. Seriously, don't ever believe me if I start a sentence with "I was actually reading an article about this the other day..."

I wasn't. At most I accidentally stumbled upon a Buzzfeed on the topic while looking for more eye rolling gifs.

It couldn't be that hard to figure out though, and it's not like I have 28 years of anecdotal evidence pointing out that I wouldn't be able to achieve this goal, so I decided to go all in on the spending freeze. I just needed to figure out when to start.

September obviously wasn't going to work with the wedding and wedding preparation. October was out because of Halloween and Halloween related activities. I'd need to start my Christmas shopping in November, and by December I'd need to quit just buying myself presents, and actually do Christmas shopping. I couldn't commit to January because I like to drink the real good shit on New Year's Eve. Unless something really changes before February, I'll need to buy myself an "I'm Single and Happy" gift for Valentine's day (and an "I'm Single and where the f#%! is my life going" pizza for Valentine's night). Then there's March which is Birthday Month, so that's obviously no good...

And then I realized why I'm a poor person.

So I committed to October. I'd already decided on my Halloween costume, so I would just need to buy that before the first of the month, and then I could just consider Halloween night a celebration of my victory over financial irresponsibility, and a kickoff to a new era of smart spending and frugality.

It was about he 4th of the month when I remembered that this was going to be a thing.

It was a pretty big inconvenience.

I'd made a commitment though, and I was going to stick to it. The first part of my plan involved going grocery shopping, and not like the grocery shopping that I normally do where I buy a family size box of brownie mix and rice cakes and assume that they cancel each other out. I picked out recipes to cook for the week, I made a list, and I stuck to it.

The first thing I decided to make was my mom's chili. She'd written out directions for me a few years ago, but I hadn't attempted it until now. Aside from an especially painful conversation in which I tried to get her to quantify a "glug" of vinegar, it went really smoothly, and the finished product was delicious.

I brought my friend Emma over to share it with, and she brought over a $50 bottle of wine to share with me. The free shit this girl gets for her blog astounds me, including this fancy ass bottle of wine (check her out here).

Clearly I'm doing it wrong.

The wine was good, but I think I'd enjoy 10 bottles of $5 wine more...

So I did a pretty great job on that first day of living frugally. I mean, I bought groceries, I filled my gas tank up, and I stopped for a latte after work, but none of that counts really since they were all necessary expenditures (and that latte was a small).

And for two more days I did super well. I ate leftovers twice and I didn't even consider walking to HyVee for generic Doritos and mini tacos. In fact, the only money I spent was buying footie pajamas and a giant crayon on Amazon, but those were for my Halloween costume. I'd forgotten to buy it in September like I originally planned, and if Halloween weekend was going to be the big celebration of being able to spend money again, I had to have something to wear.


I ran into a problem the Thursday after I started this experiment. I'd promised myself that I wouldn't be going out all month. It was a waste of money, plus I really needed to be spending more time sleeping on week nights, and less time, slurring drink orders at bartenders (or random people who look kinda helpful).

I'd forgotten how much I really like going out to karaoke though.

So went out. I wish I could say there was some sort of internal struggle over the decision. There wasn't. It happened like every other bad idea I have does. I promise myself to make the smart choice. I commit to making the smart choice. I'm 100%, no question, absolutely going to make the smart choice, until I think, "Or maybe..."

"Or maybe I could just go out for one." And then it's 2 a.m. and I'm dancing with a 21 year old on a Tuesday night.

"Or maybe I could treat myself to just one Little Debbie snack." And it's a week later and I'm wondering how it's possible that there are seven empty Zebra Cake boxes in my apartment.

"Or maybe he's not a killer and I'll be just fine." And then I'm giving a vaguely hot (in a "might steal my hubcaps, but could also probably help me fix my blinker" kind of way) guy a ride home after he approached me in the dimly lit Shopko parking lot.

Does anyone else ever wonder if maybe they would be better off if someone else was in charge of their life?

I gave up after that night.

What? You thought I'd do better than that?