Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Project 2011: Buy Less Give More - April Spend Recap & More

{If you're new here and you'd like to read why I started Project 2011, you can go here and here}

It's been a couple of months since I posted my spend recap.  When all was said and done, March didn't turn out so bad after all.  I returned the sunglasses I felt horrible guilt over, the belt I had purchased in February and I exchanged the Cienta pair of shoes I had bought Taylor for a less expensive (but still high quality) pair from Stride Rite.

The one thing I have discovered most about myself through this project is that I am a compulsive buyer, but 9 out of 10 times I feel that ultimate buyers guilt after a purchase, making the instant gratification from the purchase not even worth it.  Wow, that was a mouth full!  This is what leads to that nasty buy/return cycle that I got into in March.

Moving onto April, and I was in a much better place because psychologically I had to be!  Let's recap what April had in store for me, keeping in mind that April was the final month that I would be collecting a paycheck and we'd be a dual income family:
Property Taxes
Income/Business Taxes
1 Brother and 1 Sister's Birthdays
1 Nephew's Birthday
6 Friend's Birthdays

Clearly, last month I had to control our spending, for our sanity and financial health.  So how did we do?  Not too bad.  Aside from my birthday outfit (yes, I did return that other skirt!), I purchased 1 Target sweater for Taylor for Easter, a pair of pants for Art and 2 sweatshirts for me from my old job because I had my killer discount.  I paid for part of my birthday outfit with a gift card, leaving our total spend on clothes just over $100. 

Other ways that I tried to be mindful of our spending were:
  • We used a gift card to go out to dinner for our Anniversary
  • I ran out of my night cream and mascara so I dug into my samples of Gifts With Purchases and used those instead
  • To help with costs for Taylor's birthday, my sister and I hosted a dual birthday celebration for her and my nephew and split the costs of everything.  Including the jumper and food, we each spent $95!
  • We hosted a very small birthday celebration with school friends on Taylor's actual birthday and I only had snacks and made cupcakes and just had the girls decorate them, saving money on food and a fancy cake. 
  • Taylor only received 1 birthday gift, and it was on extreme sale through Amazon
  • We were diligent about not dining out too much.
Of course there are always ways to improve and I'm hoping we can do even better in May.  In fact I've sort of put myself on a self imposed shopping hiatus all together for May (I do have 1 $50 Nordstrom gift card left from my birthday that I might use).  We are going to Yosemite next week so we might need to buy some gear for the trip which will eat into the budget.

Blah, blah, blah!  Enough about spending!  Let's talk GIVING!  Last month I hosted the Joyful Life Library Book Drive and I'm happy to report we collected just over 60 books for the Miller's Children's Hospital PICU!  What an amazing turnout.  I received books not only from local friends and family, but blogging buddies from all over the country sent books to me or directly to Miller's. 

Thank you so much to everyone that participated and helped out with this very special project.  I know Heather was beyond thankful and appreciative.  The best news was that the excitement generated off of the book drives that were started in April helped get the Joyful Life Library connected to a total of 6 other hospitals across the country! Amazing, amazing stuff!

Lastly, I'd like to announce my service project for the month of May.  I just completed my registration to be a Meals On Wheels Volunteer!  I'm really excited for this service project since I'll actually be getting out and volunteering as opposed to organizing and collecting like I've done the last couple of months.  I'm not sure exactly how they'll use me yet, but I'm hoping I'll be a driver so that I can take the kids with me and they can see giving in action.  I got this great idea from my friend Laura, after I was telling her I wanted to "do" something this month.  She suggested Meals On Wheels and I instantly latched on.  Thank you so much Laura for this idea!
There are several ways to volunteer for this great organization and there are locations all across the country.  I'm looking forward to this month's project so much and if it works out, I'd like to make it a long term volunteer option for me.  I'll of course keep you updated on how it goes.

And that my friends is it!  I'm thankful that I have this outlet here on the blog for me to talk about some of my (bad) spending habits, as well as a place to get inspired on ways and opportunities to give.  The encouragement and lack of judgment has meant a lot to me, and I appreciate that you guys even read these little recaps.  I know they're not the most stimulating or exciting posts, but it's therapeutic for me and an accountability tool.

Anyhow, thanks so much.  Back to the fun stuff tomorrow :)  I've to a recipe to share and Thursday I'll show you how I reworked an oldie but goodie item from my closet.


  1. Good for you on your Spend Less Campaign. It feels good, doesn't it? Especially tied with the GIve More segment. Love your heart! :) I hope you had a beautiful Mother's Day. xoxo

  2. Hey, Andrea. Great recap...I find it interesting and a bit guilt-inducing, which is a good thing.
    My mom is a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and she's here for a visit so I asked for any pointers. Her only advice is to bring your GPS or phone in case you need to adjust your delivery schedule b/c the printout from the organization is not always correct. Can't have you getting lost with two little ones in California traffic.
    Way to go, girl!

  3. Love that your going to do Meals on Wheels. I can't wait to hear about your experience.

  4. wonderful recap-you're super inspiring!
    meals on wheels will be fun! xo

  5. Oh I'd love to hear more about Meals on Wheels when you get going. In college I used to volunteer for Project Angel Food delivering meals for people with AIDS it was an incredible organization to be a part of. I really like the idea of bringing the kids along too.

  6. I was a Meals on Wheels volunteer when I lived on the westside (post college). It is a great organization to be involved with. Good luck!

  7. you know i love you, right?
    well, i do.
    and i have something to send you for all your hard work on behalf of the library project. thank you for inspiring so many people to think outside the box and help others in amazing ways.
    xoxo friend!


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