Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rethinking Fun Dollars

As I move forward in my year of spending and documenting Fun Dollars, I need to take time to reevaluate how I spend them. I did this at the beginning of the summer, after Carrick's preschool let out, and now that we are on the verge of starting kindergarten, the time has come to examine some spending habits yet again.

This summer, I was successful at keeping sweets and fast food to a minimum. I did not rely as heavily on sugar, candy, chips, and soda as I had in previous summers. I think a pat on the back is in order, especially considering this was my first summer with two children eating solid foods.

It's now time to take my food spending of Fun Dollars to the next level. I need to cut out wheat for myself. As I mentioned in the previous article about Fun Dollars, my husband and I are serious about getting rid of the psoriasis that we have lived with for close to a decade. Wheat/gluten is one of those trigger foods. That means that the restaurants where I spend my Fun Dollars also need to offer food that doesn't contain wheat.

Dairy is another trigger food, which means no more trips to Zainey's. Or, if we do go to Zainey's I'll have to get their sorbet. It will be a change for my palate, but, I'm a big girl, I can handle it. If I do get the urge for ice cream, I'll have to drop a little extra cash and get a non-dairy option at one of the health food stores in town. Almond or coconut-based ice cream isn't bad, but it's just not the same as regular ice cream. Also, the refined sugars (whether they're organic or not doesn't matter) are also not that good for psoriasis, so my sweets will need to be very few and far between.

Alcohol is another 'no-no'. This past week, Corey and I consumed zero alcohol after returning from our trip. I will not be buying any more bottles of vino for a while.

So with all these things that get eliminated (and/or drastically reduced) from my Fun Dollars spending, it clears the way for new purchases. The biggest purchase that will become a regular part of this new "budget" is my cleaning lady. Corey wants to take her services out of our family budget. We are working on overhauling our family budget, and the cleaning lady is getting the cut. However, I am not ready to part ways with her just yet. I plan to re-enter the work force this fall after Lily starts daycare, and I want to keep the cleaning lady around. Even though Corey has committed to cleaning the toilets, I think it might be useful to have someone come in and pick up toys, or do dishes while I'm at work. That means that out of each pay cycle, $40.00 will automatically be spent on my cleaning lady.

Which brings me to my last point; me working again. I'm waiting a month after Carrick starts kindergarten to start Lily in daycare. I hear how emotional it is to send your first kiddo to kindergarten, even if they have attended preschool; it's a really big deal. So, to start my baby in daycare at the same time as starting my kiddo in kindergarten might leave me an emotional mess. Spacing out their starting school allows me to get used to taking five days a week (which will be a first). Once we have that routine down, starting Lily three days a week will be less stress on this mama. I plan to use my month with just one child job hunting. By October, I will (hopefully) be an employed woman bringing home the turkey bacon!

With the prospect of having a job, my spending habits will most likely change as well. If I am working, instead of hanging out at home, my need to go out and shop, or grab treats, or whatever, will be drastically reduced. Instead of spending money, I'll be making money. So I think the shift of me paying for my cleaning lady makes sense all around, which is why I used $20.00 of my Fun Dollars this past pay cycle to pay for my cleaning lady. (Well, that's part of the reason, the other reason is I forgot to go to the ATM after we arrived home, and I wasn't in the routine of things yet.) I used half Fun Dollars, and half anniversary money to pay for her this time.

The last remains of Fun Dollars this pay cycle bought desert last night. After a healthy meal of grilled chicken, swordfish, quinoa and salad, I decided that chocolate was in order. I left for Natural Grocers and bought 70% dark chocolate for Corey, toffee almond milk chocolate for me, a Luna bar for Carrick, and a kid's Cliff bar for Lily. $8.00 for a round of chocolate for everyone. So much for "no refined sugar", but on the upside, the chocolate is all gone. I'll have to just give myself a good amount of time before buying another round of sugar with my Fun Dollars. Documenting my spending will also help me "stick to it", since everyone who reads this is in on my dietary checklist. Writing about it acts as an accountability meter to some extent.

I am grateful for the opportunity to explore new avenues with my Fun Dollars as my wants and needs change. It's time to rethink what makes Fun Dollars truly "fun".

Cleaning Lady- $20.00
Desert at Natural Grocers- $9.00
Balance this pay cycle- $1.00 (Which I will give to Carrick for doing a chore this week.)
Happy Spending!

No comments:

Post a Comment