Money Goals (This is real talk, y’all)

As I mentioned in my post about preparing for the New Year, I’ve taken a look at my budget and spending habits for 2017.

And holy cow I suck.

Okay, so it’s not that bad. I don’t regret my 7 trips around the good ‘ol U.S. I don’t even regret the one to Canada (I tease, I tease). I don’t regret the car, or the books, or the clothes, but boy-oh-boy did I spend a lot of money on eating out. Like. A lot. Like. Um. Thousands of dollars.



Here’s the thing, I struggle with committing to a purchase.. unless it’s food. Then I’m like – who needs money? “Gimme them P.F. Chang’s Gluten-Free Hokkein Street Noodles, no Meat please. Oh, I’ll take the Edamame appetizer, too.”

And every time I attempted a budget after becoming debt-free..

Well, let’s just say: I didn’t follow through.

So it’s time to get my act together again. After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to attempt a 5-part challenge for 2018. Lemme break it down:

  1. 30-Day Spending Freeze
  2. Live on $1,500 each month for day-to-day expenses
  3. Use the cash envelope system
  4. Get one paycheck ahead
  5. Only purchase 20 items or less that cannot be used up, and only if I’m willing to give up an item I already own to create space for the new one

It’s pretty simple, eh? Okay, if you’re anything like my mom, you’re probably like “wuuuuh???” about #2 and #5. Don’t worry, I’m about to freefall into detail.

30 Day Spending Freeze

A spending freeze, if you’re not familiar with the concept, is when someone stops spending on anything that is not a life necessity for a specific amount of time. For me, that time will run from January 2nd through January 31st.

I’m doing this for three reasons. One, I need to get past the “I just got rid of everything, so I get to buy stuff” stage of decluttering without doing any damage to my minimalist reputation. I want to break the habit of buying. Two, I want to break the habit of eating out and (hopefully) jump-start my weight loss goal (more on that later). Three, I want to use all remaining funds to build a cushion for my goal to get one paycheck ahead on bills.

The rules for the spending freeze are pretty simple: no spending money that doesn’t have to be spent. Therefore, dining out (groceries are needs, Chipotle bowls are not) and shopping (toilet paper is a need, new sheets are not) aren’t going to be an option.

$1,500 Per Month, Cash Envelopes, and Getting Ahead

I’m mainly doing the $1,500 challenge out of curiosity. In my ideal future, I’ll be self-employed part-time and doing whatever I want with the rest of my time. If I want this to be a thing, I have to learn how much I can cut my cost of living. I always thought that  $1,500 a month would be a plenteous budget and easily feasible as a minimalist. It’s time to challenge that theory.

I do expect spontaneous adventures (a day at the museum, a celebratory feast with my friends, etc.) to come up that I wasn’t able to plan for in my budget. But the $1,500 does give me about $100 of wiggle room for those events, so long as there aren’t multiple uh-oh-this-wasn’t-expected events each month.

With the rest of the money, I’ll be building my savings account, taking a couple of trips, and paying down my car.

Wait.. paying down the car?


Yes. Yes she does.

After becoming debt free back in May of this year, I decided I deserved a new-to-me car. Lucy (my ’98 Honda Accord) had seen far better days and was beginning to struggle with day-to-day life. Enter Veronica (Ronnie), my smokin’ hot mama of a black 2014 Toyota Rav4.

I mean, yeah, my decision was not Dave Ramsey approved by any stretch of the imagination. I did it anyway. I expect to have it paid off in 2 years, and it’ll boost my credit score (which will come in handy when I’m ready to move into a new apartment in 2018 or 2019), and it has already allowed me to avoid having to rent a car on multiple trips. Lucy, babe that she was, was definitely not fit/safe for roadtripping.

Anyway, I’m like way lazy when it comes to tracking my spending (hence I can’t stick to a budget), so I’m hoping the cash envelope system (Dave Ramsey approved) will do that for me. When the money’s gone, it’s gone. I dunno. We’ll see how it goes.

The final way I plan to force myself to stick to the challenge is by getting one paycheck ahead. Once I’ve done that, I can automatically put all the money wherever it goes at the start of each month. That means I look at my bank account once a month, and then forget about everything but the cash envelopes after that. This may or may not be a good idea… I’ll, uh, let ya know.

20 Items or Less

I’m getting rid of a lot of crap. LIKE A LOT. If you could see the pile in my hallway and the pile at the bottom of my closet, you’d likely be horrified. DON’T WORRY. I haven’t tossed/donated it all yet; I haven’t forgotten my resolution to wait until January 1st. But gosh my apartment is feeling swell. And I’m loving that feeling.

So I don’t want to reclutter it after I declutter it – ya feel?

PLUS, fewer purchases equals less spending.

And I’m a freak who likes to make unrealistic goals. If I don’t achieve them, who cares. If I do – whoa. I’m a friggin’ rockstar.

Anyway.. That pretty much sums up my minimalist money goals for 2018. How ’bout you? I’d love to chat money with you in the comments below. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Money Goals (This is real talk, y’all)

  1. Love your goals! I used the envelope system for a year and it was good. My only advice is:take the cash out! I would sometimes get in trouble because I’d wait a couple days to get cash and use my debit card for a few purchases.
    I had found it challenging but totally worth it as it gave me a re-set.
    I’m so excited to follow your tackling these awesome goals!


  2. eating out is the hard part for us. I have accepted the fact that I DO NOT have time to meal prep and give my family a home cooked meal every night. I work full time, and have just learned to not feel bad about it anymore. I can’t do it all. We aren’t even home at the same time every night and my kids are starving as soon as they get home from school. take out, frozen chicken nuggets and tater tots with the occasional lasagna is a norm for us. I am trying to commit to family dinners at the table where I actually COOK, every Monday. Tuesdays I work late, Wednesdays are the frenzied church night, Thursdays are boot camp night for me and Friday night is, and always will be feed the kids early night and grill steak for Rob and I to eat on the couch while watching Criminal minds and Blue BLoods (This is what date night turns into when you are old, and Yes, we get all excited about it every week) So we have just learned to budget it in, I buy less of things to make a home cooked meal with, always keep kid staples around (ramen,soup,nuggets,ect.) and go with the flow from week to week. I actually found that I spend less, and waste less if I go the store more often, knowing what my next three days are going to be like, rather than buying supplies to make 4 home cooked meals and then getting panda and Caines instead because I run out of time. I do pack my lunches alot and try to focus on healthy meal plans so I don’t eat mcDs fries every day. And now I want Caines and fries………


    1. You are one of the busiest peeps I know by FAR. I don’t have nearly the excuse you do for eating out (which it sounds like you don’t actually do that much of it). And hey, there’s nothing wrong with nuggets and tots! I lived and breathed those growing up. For me the issue is that I budget in eating out, but then surpass that by, well, a stupid lot. I gotta break that habit. I also plan to attempt to buy groceries for fewer days at a time. I’ve got another bad habit of letting food rot in my fridge. I always have such good intentions on payday, get groceries for the next two weeks, and then eat out more than at home so it just goes to waste.. Oops..

      Aaaaanyway… Your date nights sound perfect to me! Chilling on the couch with a plate of food and Criminal Minds on the TV is my idea of romance for SURE. ❤ 😉


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