18 Day Spending Challenge: $386.86 - The Ground Rules

Let's face it, while I have impeccable style & can talk la-di-da floral design til the cows come home, I also do not have, as my ever-eloquent mom would say, "a pot to piss in". I've been squeaking by every month & something's gotta give. Still, I talk a lot about how people mustn't deprive themselves, even in the lean times, and I wholeheartedly stick by that.

This is why I have set up a little competition with myself & bet myself I won't win  --"Can't do it, eh? You'll see. I'll show you! I'll show all of you!" Yep, rather than try to stick to a budget with a gloom & doom, restrictive attitude that is sure to make me fall off the retail wagon in a snap, I'm going on a quest, one that will require all my cunning, imagination & resilience to complete. The land I must travel through: The bewitched forest of consumer abundance. My prize if I make it through the forest: Money in my bank account at the end of the month, treasure in which to reward myself with the luxury of paying my credit card balance! (Though note: I have amazing credit scores so whenever I do use plastic it is always at 0% interest--credit history is king!!!!) See how I'm reframing everything? Budgeting is a game. Frugality is my winning strategy. Paying bills is my prize. Still, the stakes are high.

Challenge: spend only $386.86 in the next 18 days. 

Hah! Take that, Morgan Spurlock! That's got to be less money than what he had for the same period of time during his 30-day, live on minimum wage challenge. Right? The thing is, I know it is doable, even where I live in wallet draining Haute Hooverville, it will just be damn hard. Let me extrapolate a bit about my city of residence: if you and I stationed ourselves on a bench facing the street and we had a supply of booze on us (in a discreet flask of course, I am a lady) and we played a drinking game where we were required to take a swig every time we saw a Mercedes, BMW, or an Audi, we'd be passed out cold in 5 minutes flat.

But, I'm going to try to pull it off and--while you dear readers will just have to trust that I am posting the truth--I will use this blog to track my progress and hold myself accountable. So why $386.86? That's how much I have after I've taken the amount I'll need for my rent, round it up to the next number of substance  and subtract that total from my current available bank balance. Anything that is not rent from the subtracted amount is my prize. Well, no, let me correct myself: the answer to the preceding equation is actually $379.31 but I also have $7.55 in small bills/loose change on me, bringing the total to $386.86.

A few ground rules:

  • I must buy good food, prepare it & eat it. NO RAMEN NOODLES!
  • Money I spend on laundry will not count as I acquired my hefty cache of quarters from the bank last week.
  • I also have anywhere from 4-6 dollars of stored credit on my subway card. It's been on there for some time, as I mostly walk everywhere, and as I don't know the exact amount that will not be counted.
  • Money I find on the street or lost in my house (e.g. a penny on the sidewalk, a crumpled dollar in a pair of jeans) is fair game & may be added to the total funds available.

Ok, wish me luck & today is day 1, which I will report on in a separate post.


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