Wednesday, June 24, 2009

30 Day Challenge

My husband challenged me not to use the credit card for 30 days.

Here's the back story. He has had a full time job for about a year. Before that, he was in school. Undergrad, then he decided to apply for grad school. For a total of six years (our first six of marriage) we lived on a tight budget. By tight I mean, buying a ten dollar shirt was a big deal.

I think the past year both of us have let loose a little. And by a little I kind of mean a lot. We have money coming in every month! Don't read too much into this, we aren't in debt. (Not counting school loans and our mortgage.) What I mean is that we've been paying off our credit card every month. But we've also been dipping into our savings. Not good.

So, for the next 30 days we are hitting it hard. No credit. Which means, no swimming lessons, no new clothes, no new flip flops, no hair cuts and probably other things I can't think of off the top of my head.

The goal is that if we can do it for 30 days, we can do it for the next 30 and the next.

It's not like it is impossible. It's just that I am so very materialistic. Seriously, I don't want to know how many times a day I think a sentence that starts "I should get...". It would be disgusting. They aren't all things for me, I do think about things for the kids too. And they aren't things that I don't have. I want more flip flops, a new purse, more clothes for Levi (seriously he doesn't have that many- see how I justify things), more shorts, the list continues. And the list doesn't usually get shorter after I cross something off, I just add something else. It's a sickness.

I do want to start buying from more thrift stores. So, here's where you get to throw in your two cents. How do I take 3 kids to a thrift store and actually accomplish looking at things?

And, for those of you that live in Houston, any places I should go?! Know of a Goodwill that has all the good stuff?


  1. gretchen from lifenutWed Jun 24, 08:07:00 AM

    First, I wish you the best in the next 30 days.

    I love to go to thrift shops with my oldest daughter. We have so much fun literally loading a cart to capacity with our finds. I've never spent more than $40 at a time, and I always leave with a big bag of stuff.

    We know where the best Goodwill is located in the Denver area. It's close to an area of insane wealth, so I find all sorts of amazing deals, like Oilily kids' clothes for 99 cents. Goodwills are clean, bright, and the stuff is usually in excellent condition.

    I've never taken many small children at once. Goodwills are usually large and there are a lot of racks to search and other shoppers. At least once per visit, an announcement will come over the intercom asking parents to keep their kids with them. I usually go on the weekends when my husband is home.

    Also, another tip...find a Goodwill near a Target. At least here, Target takes all their unsold clearance items to Goodwill, including seasonal stuff, clothing, school supplies, shoes. I've bought all sorts of brand new Target stuff (with the Target tags still attached) at Goodwill prices.

  2. I feel like I continue to struggle with materialism as well. We haven't had any changes in our finances for the past 5 years or so, so I feel like we are in just a continued state of saying no to ourselves and "deprivation" by rich Dallas standards. I do think I am starting to come to terms with the fact that I don't need as much stuff as I think I do, but it is such a struggle. Right now, I am desperate to get a new living room rug and it makes me a little sad how much of my energy it is taking to think about it and ponder it and rail against the fact that we can't get it right now.

  3. G - Right on. Our Goodwill has SCADS of Target stuff, brand new...

    Kiki, try not to buy ANYTHING for a week. It's trippy, but it CAN be done...and it gets sort of addictive!

  4. Great job Kristy! I can totally relate...3 years of marriage in undergrad and 4 years in dental school...stay at home income...we have school loans and soon to be a mortgage. I'm thankful for those years of learning to use what I have, going without and getting creative! And I truly hope we don't end up living like most dentists! I have found that the sweetest joys in life usually are free...I just need to take the time to recognize them as that, and to not think about what I'm missing out on. We took Financial Peace UNiversity shortly after graduating dental school and it was great! We have had to "renew" our minds periodically by listening to the CD's and reading his books. You can also find him, Dave Ramsey, on Hulu. I also read frugal mom blogs to keep me motivated and on track ( is my favorite). I still do most of my shopping at thrift stores...and love that I can find Banana Republic there...and for a fraction of the price. I usually prefer to go without kids, because of the racks you have to go through. If you had to take the boys, I would bring a snack that they can't devour quickly (and that won't turn them into sugar fueled crazies) and wear a tank top to try on (shirts at least) without having to go into the dressing rooms. Hit the book section first to "borrow" some kids books while you're in the store. Another thing that has helped is to "shop" your house first...for decorating, for cooking (shop the pantry and get creative), are you not wearing some clothes because it needs a new button or mending. Pack some toys up and rotate cuts down on clutter and it's like getting new toys! Make homemade pizza instead of ordering delivery...Visit the library...keep your eyes open for free activities for the boys and for family's amazing how many are out there! And stay out of stores. Good luck! You can truly do this! I'm sure you know this from the past years, that God truly always provides, it's our lack of contentness that makes it seem otherwise...true contentment is knowing that what you have is enough...and usually more than enough!

  5. Sounds like a good challenge, Kristy! I agree, try not to take the boys with you to GW--in ours, the kids section is the kids section; not sorted by size, gender, anything :)

  6. amen!

    oh, and my oldest kids like to thrift every once in a while, but, if you REALLY want to look, you need to go out alone!! dad has a date with his kids, you have a date with yourself, that's the way to go!


  7. Ask and you shall have some very wise friends!

    You can do it my little "Miss Perseverance"



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