If you read this week's FlexJobs review, then you probably know I got a great part-time gig with Demand Studios working with eHow.com as their newest financial writer. Granted, I have yet to pick up my first assignment (I promise, I'll do it today) but that's besides the point. Since I'll be "advising" people on finances and budgeting, I thought it'd be a good idea to do it here, too.
We have debt. We had some hard months and it's about to get worse. We don't have the luxury of living in a country where coupons run rampant. We live in a place where people don't really shop with coupons because you look odd when you do. Granted, this doesn't stop me. I do it anyway but we don't have a lot of options to choose from.
If you recall, back in February we did our first NO SPEND MONTH. It wasn't really fun, we didn't really go out and I was less-than-creative with my cooking. Since I'm still "technically" working on the 17 Day Diet (or rather getting back into it), I NEED to be creative with my cooking. Since we spend most of our moolah on food - it's time for me to break out the Chef's hat and cook like I've NEVER cooked before... only healthy.
Since we've had these changes at work (and we're trying to save up as much money as we can for the trip home), our June NO SPEND MONTH (NSM) will be a little easier than our February NSM. I'm going to shop smarter, utilize Groupon more (yeah, you read right!), and PLAN AHEAD.
So, here's a short list of what we already have:
1 Groupon Coupon for 80 shekels worth of Italian food.
1 Groupon Coupon for 150 shekels worth of steak. *drool*
1 voucher for a free movie, popcorn and drink. (Total value = 150 shekels)
1 gift card to GOLF stores with 125 shekels on it.
1 kilo of chicken breast in the freezer.
A container of Quinoa.
A container of barley.
A container of brown rice.
A pre-made chicken soup survival mix (minus the chicken) in the freezer.
6 tilapia filets.
6 chicken legs in the freezer.
7 train rides from work to home (valued at 7.50NIS each)
Some frozen veggies.
2 boxes of chocolate cake mix (we got them for free).
2 bags of white pasta from Poland. (Best.Pasta.Ever.)
We're going to have slightly more to spend this time because the cost of food keeps rising here. We're allowed to spend 1,800 shekels ($521) MAXIMUM. You're probably thinking "Hillary, you're insane - two people with two dogs can live on less" and I would normally agree with you but I've been told to eat more protein (like animal protein), and that stuff ain't cheap. PLUS Sparky needs a haircut - that's not cheap either (around 200 shekels for the works). Also, the dogs are (finally) starting their obedience training in June... we're still working the price out with the trainer.
So, here's what's included in the 1,800 shekels:
- Groceries & eating out - (I'm guessing 1000 shekels for the month)
Gas- (OK, we don't pay for gas) Clothing- (no need to buy any but I have a due-bill for 60 shekels!!)
- Household items - (Sparky counts as a household item, right?)
- Entertainment - (apparently I'm not entertaining enough)
Things not included are:
- Rent, insurance, and bills - (anyone want to pay our bills for us?)
- Health expenses - (YAY socialized healthcare)
- Work expenses - (what work expenses??)
- Savings and investments - (Oh, right... 1000 shekels needs to be put away every month)
- Tithes and gifts - (Father's Day is coming up, right? Plus the $50 I'll be shelling out for our giveaway)
Here's the fun part in all of this - I work like a dog. I'm planning on making a whole lotta extra cash to put on the side as a rainy day fund - so right now, that's counting as our "savings". There's a few things we'll be doing differently this time around: surveying what we use vs. what we don't use; buying more when things are on sale vs. buying it for the sake of needing it; buying things on sale and not being a slave to a label; creating actual HEALTHY meal plans; and spending less time on the bus.
OK, I'll explain that last one... tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Have any tips for us??