Monday, September 29, 2014

September Challenges and October Projects and Nothing In Between

"Scotland Forever"

I know I've been rather quiet around here for a couple weeks. It comes down to one reason, really...

I'm still broken up about the Scottish No vote against independence.

I kind of just didn't have anything worth saying after that sad, disappointing result. Yet on that same day, Scott and I celebrated ten years of marriage. I should have lots to say about that! But we were both feeling pretty lousy about Scotland, and I just haven't had the heart to write much of anything since. Pathetic, I know.

Things I could've written about in the meantime:

1. Scottish independence. Obviously. But I just can't.
2. Our anniversary. We are still very happily married, by the way. But we didn't actually get to do much for the actual event, although my mom and stepdad did keep the kids overnight so we could go stay in their camper at the lake for a night, which was wonderful, though uneventful, which is exactly what we both needed.
3. My old BFF's wedding, which is also the reason we didn't get to do anything for our anniversary, because we spent that weekend travelling to Nashville with the family instead. No regrets though, the wedding was beautiful, and I was so glad to be there. It was a great wee family holiday too, and we'll have other opportunities to celebrate our anniversary another time!
4. Our last minute overnight trip to Fayetteville, just me and Scott, to see some bands at my old college hangout/workplace. It was so much fun to do something last minute and unplanned and all college-studenty, but at the end of the day, there wasn't actually much to say about it. I saw a lot of old friends, most of whom didn't recognize me until I introduced myself, so you know, that.

I could've but didn't write about any of those things, and I probably at this point won't. But I will write about these two things:

1. The September Shopping Challenge
2. The October Dress Project

First of all, the September Shopping Challenge. Did anyone else participate? I didn't post much about it this month, because honestly, it's not that interesting to read about and also because it was sort of half failure/ half success all month long. There were a couple of weeks, especially at the beginning where I rocked it; I didn't spend any money, I didn't do any mid-week shopping, and I was fully in control of my purchases on my allotted shopping days. Then there were days and weekends that were totally shot. After all, three weekends this month were spent out of town, and only one was pre-planned (Nashville wedding). We tried to do everything extremely cheaply, but as far as the September Shopping Challenge went, they were still technically fails.

It got me thinking though, and I promise this is all I'll talk about in regards to this challenge, because really, I know it's not fun to read about, about how good the challenge was while I was succeeding at it. I liked always knowing how much money we had and I liked the feeling of control I felt by not spending money unnecessarily. I liked seeing how much we were saving. A little idea started swirling around in my head, and I've decided to go for it, win or lose, success or fail...

I'm going to do the One Year Shopping Challenge.

For a whole year I'm going to try to abide by my September shopping rules:

1. Only shopping one day a week.
2. No eating out if it isn't planned.
3. Put money in savings.
4. Conserve petrol.
5. No impulse buys.
6. Plan ahead with birthday presents and cards.

I know that if I intend to do this for a full year, I'm going to have to expect the rules to bend and break. For example, this month, I was invited to lunch last minute with a new friend. Making new friends has been hard since I've moved here, and to refuse the invitation just to satisfy some inconsequential rules would have been ridiculous. So of course I went, and I had a great time. The good thing was, because I'd been conserving money and not impulse buying, I knew I had the money to go without guilt.

I also realize that I'll probably forget some birthdays until the last minute, or not feel like cooking some nights and want to just order pizza instead. It's just going to happen over a twelve month period - of course it will. However, if I've been abiding by the rules all the rest of the time, then little slips and blips won't matter. It's an overall lifestyle I'd like to create for myself. I've lived on a budget basically my whole adult life, yet I still feel like I have little control over my everyday spending.

It's not that we are broke. We are actually in a far better place now, here in the US, than we ever were in the UK. (Props to the husband for kicking total ass at his new job.) But like the saying goes, people don't get rich by spending money. I certainly don't care about getting rich, but I'd sure love to save up enough money to take the family back to Scotland on holiday sometime soon (even if I am disappointed in you, Scotland) or make a down payment on a house some day.

So that's my plan. I may not write about it much here; maybe just a once a month update, especially if anyone else decides to take the challenge with me. If anything, an update will simply be for noting to myself what my pitfalls have been and how to manage them better next month.

The other topic I'll write about today is the October Dress Project. This will be my third year taking part. I learned my lesson last year about trying to get too creative with my "canvas" and I've gone back to a simple black number this year, giving me a far greater range of possibilities. I'm really looking forward to it; I love this dress and how it looks on me and how versatile it is. My biggest challenge this year will be working around my gym activities. I try to go to the gym four-five days a week, and, sorry if this grosses you out, I usually stay in my sweaty gym clothes most of the day. It'll be a challenge to come home, shower and get dressed up at midday, knowing I'll probably never see anyone for the rest of the day. The gym is pretty much my main social outlet. I guess it just means I'll need to rev up my friend-time this month, so I won't be dressing in vain. Ha. New friends, I'll be calling you to hang out and do (free) stuff together this month! This dress is going to make me social again if it kills me.

It'll also get me blogging again which is, like, yay. I need this.

If you're interested, here are links to 2012 and 2013's ODPs.

Anyone want to do the October Dress Project with me too?

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