Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, on this next-to-last day of the year. Many people are getting ready for their New Year’s Resolutions, which are almost always unsuccessful. We have a slightly different twist this year, and hope you will play along. But first, let’s recap the responses from our last question, Are you a do-it-yourselfer?
I heard from a lot of you on this one. Savvy Financial Latina and her husband just bought a fixer-upper, so they are going to become do-it-yourselfers. Good luck, feel free to ask any questions because Mr. 1500 has most likely done it and can give some advice, and remember, YouTube is a great resource!
FI Pilgrim has done almost everything at least once, and learned from his dad, who was also a DIY-er. His latest project is to repaint his kitchen cabinets. I hope he writes a post on this so I can learn. I have some pretty ugly kitchen cabinets…
Steven over at Finance and Fitness Dreams knows his limitations, which can be solid financial advice right there. Better to pay someone a fairly nominal fee right off the bat, than to ruin it yourself and then pay someone to do it. Although most things can be tried inexpensively. Like painting. Painting is very easy to do, and if you are careful, looks just like it would if you paid someone to do it. Mr. 1500 has no qualms about doing electricity and plumbing, but if I wasn’t married to him, I would be paying a professional to do those repairs to my house every single time.
Kali from Common Sense Millennial says that she is a DIY-er, but hates doing it and wants to like it. Keep repeating how much money you are saving by doing it yourself, and you will start to like it more and more.
And now on to this week’s question, Are you ready for a challenge?
We used to belong to a gym that tried to inspire their members by issuing challenges. If you completed the challenge, you got a t-shirt. In February, they challenged you to work out 24 hours in 28 days. In September, they challenged you to a triathlon, which coincided with the Madison running of the Iron Man competition. (Proud side note, I completed the September 2009 triathlon challenge even though I was enormously pregnant with baby #2, who was born the beginning of November that year. She weighed in at 9 pounds, so you can imagine how big my stomach was, doing my swimming, biking and running with a giant baby belly sticking out in front…)
So Mr. 1500 and I were kicking around monthly challenge ideas, and came up with these so far:
January – No alcohol. That’s right, give up alcohol for an entire month. Save money, lose weight, feel better.
February – Work out for 24 hours in 28 days. This is an excellent challenge, because if you work out for an hour at a time, you can only take 4 days off the entire month. Yikes!
March – Eat vegetarian for a month. This one we are telling you about now, so you can start finding vegetarian meals you like. Beans and rice is a great one, check out Rick Bayless’ black bean recipe and just use a rice you like. Honestly, I make instant rice right now, because I know the kids will eat it. I will try to find some really tasty vegetarian recipes, and many Indian and Mexican recipes are either vegetarian or easily vegetarian. Check out your local library for vegetarian cookbooks. Start now, some of those recipes sound good but turn out to be really horrible. (I once made a pumpkin risotto for a teacher’s lunch that was so awful I ended up tossing out the entire batch.) Do you already have a great vegetarian recipe? Please share with the class!
April – Make a budget. This is also a plan-ahead challenge. Start now by keeping track of all your spending for the first three months of the year. When we did it, we kept track of dollar amount, general category, date, and a brief description of what we purchased. By April, you should have a food feel for how much you are spending in which categories. Now the challenge is to stay within the budget for each category. Once you stay within budget, try to cut here and there. Don’t forget to leave a little wiggle room. As soon as you plan for X amount of spending, BLAM, you blow a tire!
May – Plan your menus for an entire month. Leave no meal unplanned. This reduces the amount of last-minute whatever meals. Saves you money, and way less stress.
June – Spend no money this month. Of course, you can make exceptions for things like milk, but try to keep the exceptions down to almost nothing. Make meals out of your pantry – chances are good that you have more than you need sitting in there anyway. Find ways to entertain yourself that are free. Borrow movies from the library, go for a walk or bike ride, play board games. Don’t buy clothes this month. You don’t really need those new shoes, do you?
This requires a bit of planning. If you use more than one tank of gas in a month, that falls into your exceptions category. But try to consolidate trips or take your bike instead of the car.
There are the challenges for the first 6 months of 2014. We will give you the other 6 challenges well in advance so you can plan for them as well.
So, are you ready for a challenge? No-alcohol-January begins January 1…
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.