Saturday, January 03, 2009

Resolutions, past and present

In 2008, I was able to make my first resolution that I've ever kept throughout a whole year: to reduce my plastic bag usage. I would rate my efforts as quite successful, actually! I made the following changes:

1. Got and used reusable shopping bags, for groceries, the mall, whatever... at first, I would sometimes forget the bags, but now, it is totally an ingrained habit, and I pretty much always grab a shopping bag before leaving the house.

2. Made reusable produce bags for fruits/ vegetables - I made the bags out of nylon mesh, with drawstrings, and have been using them all year quite successfully. They have weathered the washing machine quite nicely, as well.

3. Carried a giant purse/bag/satchel thingy - for when I forget the shopping bags.

4. Separated wet garbage from dry garbage - dry garbage can be collected in a separate container and emptied into the dumpster; the container can be reused. Wet garbage still needs a plastic bag, though.

So, a simple success that I will certainly continue over the coming years. I even gave reusable produce bags to a couple of people for Christmas - spread the reusable joy!

So. What about this year? This year, I don't have any original ideas... so I am defaulting to an old tried and true resolution: to spend less money and reduce my debts. The problem? The monthly bill total is painfully close to my monthly income... a typical problem, I'm sure! So, how to pay off more debt (mortgage and student loan being the chief offenders) without getting... *shudder* a second job!!!! (retch, moan, blarf)

Here is what I have already done:
1. Quit the gym. I got funny looks going in 2 days after New Years asking to QUIT the gym - it was hilarious!
2. Decrease my cable package. This one is going to be painful. No more DVR, no more fancy channels. Basic network channels ONLY now. *sob*
3. Decrease Netflix package.
4. Fortunately, my monthly escrow payment for my real estate tax actually went down this year. Whew.
5. Decrease my cell phone package.

Here is what I plan to do:
1. Write down everything I spend.
2. Review my automobile and homeowner's insurance packages - perhaps a bit of fat can be trimmed there?
3. Brainstorm other non-spending ideas... beg blog readers for help? (ideas that do not include stealing ketchup packets from restaurants, if you please)

I thought about adding in money making schemes, like increasing jewelry sales, or selling more doll clothes (sewn and knitted), but if the past few years have taught me anything, it is that I love making stuff, but really HATE the marketing and selling aspects, so I wanted to shy away from that as much as possible.

Check this out - with the changes listed above, I have already shaved about $260 off my monthly bills, which will add up to $3120 by the end of the year. Amazing! I could use it to pay off more debt, or could put some away for a new water heater... a new mattress... a new CAR! :)

And, with just those changes, I will have paid $12,480 LESS in monthly bills by my 40th birthday - which is the date by which I hope to buy said new car. MMMMm.... new carrrrrr...


pigbook1 said...

the only idea I can give you is meal planning. I am horrible at it, but every time I do it I realize how much money I save. You can plan the meals around the grocery ads and you would be surprised how much can be saved. It is one of those things i don't pay attention to until I pplan for it.

Anonymous said...

I second the meal planning idea - I've been doing it since I've been laid off and it's been amazing how much we've saved. We can start a no money, no problems club...

Cecily said...

If you are ever interested in doing more test knitting for me or CEY, just let me know!

knittingknirvana said...

Great job!! I love how you not only set the goal for yourself, but you mapped out a very realistic plan to make it happen. I hope you keep us all updated and continue to inspire us!