Monday, December 31, 2012
A Happy New Year
1. We saved big time. This year, we easily could have splurged on several things like a new car, dinners out, and more vacations or weekend getaways. But we didn't. When I was hungry after a long day of work and desperately wanted to pick up In-n-out Burger, I came home and cooked something instead. We allowed ourselves one meal out a month (at about $50) and strived to do the rest of our eating at home. When we felt like we needed some time to disconnect and re-charge our batteries, we could have booked a hotel room at a nice hotel, but we went hiking instead. When birthdays came around, we went out to dinner and kept gifts out of the celebration. Oh, and in case you forgot, I did not buy any new clothes all year. We did not keep a specific budget but just aimed to spend as little money as possible. And I can't tell you how satisfying it is to see that number representing net worth grow and grow.
It's so easy to spend money and our culture does a good job of making you feel like you can't live life to the fullest if you're not spending money. But I've learned that that's not true. It's easier than you think to have fun while only spending money on gas, rent and groceries.
2. We cut cable. Around August, we started to notice that a lot of our free time after work was being spent "clearing the DVR". It was a never-ending battle to get the "space being used" number down to 0%. So we decided that once our current contract was up (in October), we would not renew. Our choice to get rid of cable TV was not a money-saving decision, but a decision about time. Since limiting our cable and thus, greatly reducing our TV-watching, I've found that we talk more at home, we have more free time and we get more sleep. In short, I don't miss having cable TV. Not one bit. (Disclosure: we do have Netflix, which allows us to enjoy movies and other great featured shows, on our time.)
3. We bought a juicer. In October, I caught wind of a documentary called "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". Since we had cut cable earlier that month, I had the time to watch it on my laptop. The hubby heard sound bites of it while I was watching and, by the end, we both decided that juicing might be a great way to get more nutrients in our diet and, ultimately, get healthier. The hubs was looking to lose some baby weight and I had been battling little headaches which were getting seriously annoying. We decided to purchase this juicer (which we love) and made a trip to Costco to stock up on produce. We've since purchased large Mason jars which we use to store, transport and drink our juice. I drink one every morning (along with a small breakfast) and hubby has replaced breakfast and dinner with juice.
In short, we feel great!