Posted by Sheryl on February 20, 2013
This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
So just because I made the rules, I changed them when it suited me. As of my last post, I had $20 cash, $70 Optimum points, and $50 grocery credit left over. I have since found another store loyalty card that I had $20 to spend. Here is what happened.
I used the other $20 last week, and have not touched the remaining $50 credit. I have $15.75 left of my original $50 cash. I started to run out of the things I buy at Costco, where I have no “credits”. Looking at the big picture, I cannot justify spending twice as much per pound at the store I have remaining credit for. I spent $59.80 on my debit card.
Total dollars, I spent all I had available to me at the start of this challenge. For the sake of keeping honest, I said I would spend $50 in cash, and the value of my store credits to see how long it would last. I feel I have reached that limit, though not in the way I set out to. My pantry and fridge are stocked fairly well, so I don’t anticipate having to go grocery shopping again until the last week of the month. I’d say I’ve done fairly well, and exceeded my main goal of paying for my overage at Christmas. As a personal interest, I’m going to continue to see how much longer I can last on my remaining cash and $50 credit, I’m thinking 2-3 weeks.
What I’ve Learned From All Of This…
- I’ve had an Optimum card since they first came out with the program. I agree that it is a generous program, and had been thinking about switching my credit card over to that point system. I won’t be doing that now. To get full benefit from the program, you have to plan around the specials they have, bonus points days and mega redemption days. So unless you need to do a big shop there, the rewards program isn’t as great. I still have a stock pile of soaps, detergents, razors, paper products, skin creams etc from the last mega redemption I did. Cashing the points in at the lowest tier to buy milk or over priced groceries just doesn’t seem worth it. I have enough points for the second highest tier of redemption, and I’m going to leave it there until it’s time to do a big shop there again.
- Saying I’m on a spending challenge is a great way to politely decline invitations to spend money that I didn’t want to. Yes I’ve been living like a hermit for the past almost 2 months (and enjoying it).
- On the down side, I’m not sure I like the discovery I’ve found about my mother. Her thing (even before my dad passed away 7 months ago) was to go out for a meal. She doesn’t even seem to care what the food is like, as long as she is in a restaurant. Since I’ve been declining her invitations to go out for food, she doesn’t seem to have as much use for me. (I was always a lot closer with my dad than her). She says she’s lonely, but any time I go to her house (usually to fix or move something), I always feel like she’s trying to get rid of me as soon as it’s done. I know she loves me and is still grieving, and I may be too direct and introverted for her to relate to. She comes to my home for the day once every weekend, she watches my TV, eats, asks me the same questions 4 times and goes home. She is here just to not be alone. Any time I try to engage her in conversation, she either avoids answering any questions, or gives answers that halt any further talk. I’m not sure what, if anything, I can do about this. It may just be a case of putting up with it.
- If anything, my relationship with my boy friend is stronger from all this. He has been supportive and willing to cut back on our lifestyle without any complaints. It feels good having someone with me on this challenge. My ex got angry when I asked him to curb his $80/week coffee truck habit.
More than anything, I feel that I have regained control of my spending. Groceries can still be “retail therapy” for me, but that habit is fading. With less time spent shopping and preparing fancier meals, I’ve started using the gym in my condo, and feeling better from that as well. I have some good momentum to make this year a great one, and am looking forward to seeing how far it can take me.