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6.12.2015

A Year Long Shopping Ban?

you might remember that i did my spending frost for a few months, to save money towards house buying.  i'd say it was semi-successful.  the months that i concentrated, i did really well.  but there were at least 2 months that i spent a lot.  but it's not over yet; my 10 months aren't up until september 1.  so i felt like i really needed to buckle down these summer months and assess what i've spent money on so far.

looking back at my spending recap posts, even the months where i did really well still weren't perfect.  i think that's partially because i gave myself an out with the word frost.  i did it intentionally, when i started, knowing that i had a lot of eating out habits to rein in and also knowing that i don't actually buy that much to begin with (i'm a minimalist at this point, i think it's safe to go ahead and label it.)  i also only did 10 months knowing that i would be spending money on moving costs come september.  i've been very successful in not buying things - clothes, candles, books, other clutter causing items - but i haven't been successful at (1) eating out less, (2) going out less in general (i don't spend much but i shouldn't be spending anything), (3) not taking cabs, and (4) tracking the little expenses (like a coffee, a pack of gum, an e-book.)  all those things together add up to more spending fails than i'm comfortable with.

i'm considering taking a page of cait's book and doing a full, year long, shopping ban.  hers is over this july and everything she's documented about it is pretty impressive.  she went a full year only buying the necessities - groceries, toiletries, a few other things she included on her list.  but she didn't buy: clothes, shoes, decor items, books, and a bunch of other things.  her blog is a great read if you're into personal finance, saving money, becoming debt free, all of that.  so definitely check it out.

of course my shopping ban would look a little different.  i'd like to cut eating out almost entirely (which means, in my world, twice a month.)  i would ban all things picked up at the last minute, like gum and magazines.  definitely no more ebooks that caught my eye on pinterest and are 'only' $4.  i'd like to really cut grocery spending down - john's portion, at least.  i pay $28 per month for my lunches and breakfasts combined.  i think that's pretty good.  (eat vegan!  it's good for the wallet!)  essentially, it would have many more details and rules than my spending frost.

i wonder if i could do it.  to not pick up starbucks when i pass one on the way to a street fest.  to not buy the pretty new lip balm, even though it's on sale.  to not order the book when the wait list at the library is 182 people long.  to not grab the cute shirt when mvb has a 50% off sale.  it's not that i spend $500 in one trip to the store, but those little things add up.  i'm just not that mindful when it comes to smaller spending.

it wouldn't start quite yet - i still have my lease ending at the end of august and i'll need to move.  (i think, things still aren't figured out, whoops!)  but i'm definitely considering it.  one the one hand, we'll be moved into a new house by (latest) next april/may.  we'll need new house things.  on the other hand, i've had a fully furnished one bedroom apartment for 12 years now.  plus john's things.  will we really need that much new house stuff?  maybe it'll be good to settle for awhile without buying things, see what we really need.  we have 4 flat screen tvs between the two of us for goodness sake, that's just ridiculous.  i think a shopping ban would be good for me.  you do not need 17 3-wick candles from bath and body works, stephanie.

while i ponder taking on a year long shopping ban, i am going to start with what cait suggested to me - a full month without getting take out.  meep!  i have done it before, right at the start of my 101 in 1001 list.  although, technically, that was fast food and i still went to normal, nice dinners out.  i'm going to make july my no take out month, and i'm going to make that include no dinners out anywhere unless it's (a) someone's birthday - i have quite a few july birthdays, or (b) someone else is buying, like my dad.  thanks dad.  so that will be a rough month but definitely a good taste of a year long shopping ban before i just dive in!

have you ever done a full shopping ban?  do you think you could do one for an entire year?

60 comments:

  1. I love the idea of a "frost" such a cute way to put it. Have you heard of a capsule wardrobe? I think it's a useful concept to keep you on budget while also having what you "need" and fun pieces.

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  2. I have definitely been giving some serious thought to trying a spending frost. Its so hard but I realize I spend extraordinary amounts of money on food & random things at walgreens!

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  3. I'm definitely all for spending frosts (I need to do one soon because of lots of travel purchases lately, yikes)! I don't think I could ban myself from shopping for an entire year though. I'd need to start with a shorter timeline for sure!

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  4. You absolutely need to! No excuse not to, when it's free :) The red panda is my favorite too. I didn't even know it existed before we went and now I'm totally obsessed with it. It's so adorable.

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  5. I am not sure I could go a whole year, but I actually was considering doing a 6 month ban.. I really buckled down the last few months because of Europe and the difference in our savings account is staggering. It's quite embarrassing actually. I want to do more travel and the only way I can convince KC is if we get the savings account to a certain amount before the end of the year.. plus I want to pay off my credit cards. Because that should obviously be #1. Anyway. I just need to stop shopping. Clothes, books, shoes, whatever. I just want to stop buying fun stuff. I don't need it. I have plenty of work clothes, I don't do enough fun stuff to warrant more fun clothes. I have a zillion ways to get free books (seriously, email me next time you are on a crazy wait list, i'm sure i could send you the book you want, i have all the books) and i'm just sick of clutter. i'm not horrible with eating out, but grabbing a starbucks or a candy bar.. yeah i'm pretty bad at. what do you eat for breakfast and lunch? i'm always up for new ideas. sorry for the long comment!

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  6. Never apologize for long comments, I love them!
    Breakfast is strictly fruit, and strictly whatever is on sale that week. This week, bananas were 22 cents a lb. 22 cents! During the warmer months, fruit holds me until lunch - I eat breakfast rather late and I'm just not as hungry when it's warm out. In the winter I do oatmeal, which is even cheaper. Oats are like 6 cents a serving or something ridiculous like that. So I'm sorry I have no fancy recipes to share! I do use the site Budget Bytes for cheap meals though, usually that's where my lunch ideas are from. Usually one of her meals is enough for me for lunches for 5 days. I'm also a vegetarian, so meat free always cuts down on the budget.
    I hear you on the savings - you honestly don't realize how money trickles out until you buckle down. We're obviously both blessed enough to have that problem, that we aren't suffering and living without a savings account, and for that I'm thankful. But I just want to be more mindful of my spending overall, and save my money for what truly matters. For you, it's travel, which I think is awesome. I think for me it's our house, and adopting animals. But it's definitely not starbucks coffee or a new pair of shoes - that needs to stop.
    I will definitely take you up on the book thing! I have a couple things I'm next in line for at the library but next time the wait list is super long, I'm coming to you! The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was legit 182 people. I bought it, but I'm glad I did because I'll read it again.

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  7. I wish i could do this. I always cave and buy stuff for the house. When I find a great deal sometimes I just can't pass it up. lol. Good luck!!

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  8. I kinda want to do this. I wonder how long I would really last.

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  9. Lame. He obviously doesn't understand how much we want one.

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  10. I don't think I could do it, but we do stick to a pretty strict budget. We've allotted spending to each category for each month and we can either spend it that month or roll it over in to the next month if we're saving for something bigger/don't need anything in that category for the month. For now, that works well for us. :)

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  11. I'm going to have to attempt a shopping ban because we're planning on going to Disney next year AND we just found out we're not getting the discount on Quinn's preschool like we though. I might start blogging about it just to keep track and keep myself accountable. My worst habit is getting extra groceries and snacks just because or because I have a coupon, even if I don't really need it.

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  12. I for one am quite certain that I couldn't want wouldn't want to do a full year ban haha. But cutting down is always a good idea and something that I need to do! Good luck with it if you decide one it!

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  13. I love Cait!


    I've never done a full shopping ban and I'd like to think that I could but I'd have to get the husband and child on board and that would be impossible. I think you have the willpower, determination, and the motivation to do it, especially if you put in the right parameters. But I think starting small is a good plan. If you can do that, then the next one will be easier and so on.


    I'm not very mindful of small spending, either, particularly when it comes to the child. But it does add up. I should go back to watching it more carefully.

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  14. After a month of trying to cut spending down, I can't imagine a whole year! While it would be great for our wallet I'm not sure what it would do for my overall sanity of no extra spending!

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  15. haha I hear you! I would definitely have to unsubscribe from all store emails and block them on my browser. I never buy things because I need them, it's because I see a good deal and decide I want it!

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  16. I don't know that I'd last the full year. I'd like to think it's like any habit, you just get used to it and it becomes easier, but I still don't know!

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  17. That's what I currently do, but I'm not so good at the roll over. If the money is in the category, I find something to spend it on! I'm just not strict enough with myself. I think I need more rules.

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  18. Definitely blog about it! I always love to read people's posts on how they're saving money and any tricks they learned along the way.
    I did have to stop collecting coupons for that reason. Unless the item is totally free, it's not a great deal if it's not something I actually needed in the first place.

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  19. Thanks girl! Haha I know when I first read Cait's post I was like 'nope. not doing that.' but more and more it's appealing to me for some reason. I don't know that I'll last the whole time frame, but I think I want to try!

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  20. Cait is awesome, I love her blog.
    Yeah I definitely could not get John on board, but I know I could get him to cut down. I'd have to seriously plan ahead though. Because otherwise he'd be all 'oh well I'll buy dinner/drinks/movies whatever because you're on the shopping ban' which would really defeat the purpose! So I'd have to have food and free entertainment planned in advance to avoid that. He's really wanting to bump up the last few months of his truck payment so I think i could get him partway there though!
    My small spending problem is always cash. I just don't track cash. I need to use strictly debit cards.

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  21. The results will definitely be fab, but it would be hard! I kind of think that it would get easier with time though. Like not shopping, spending, all that would become a habit so it wouldn't feel so limiting?

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  22. i couldn't do it but you're totally right about the lunch/breakfast thing. when i was working, i didn't spend a dime on food all year because i brought everything with me. it was a pain in the ass to prep every evening/weekend but it saved me a ton of cash too.

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  23. I couldn't do a full shopping ban because I don't have the need or the desire to. I can do anything when necessary. I'm absolutely frugal when I need to be, specifically in months when MFD's business is a little lighter than others.


    MFD said the other week - "We're stable financially. Why work for it if we're not going to spend it on things we enjoy doing or having?" And I thought about it, and he's right. I'm not not spending just to prove I can do it. The hard years and scrimping we did while he was building his business, I proved a zillion times over that I can do it.


    I'm still quite cognizant of need versus want, but as long as my bills are paid and my money is funneled into save/travel/new house fund categories, I spend my spending money as I please. If that's a daily coffee out, then that's what it is.

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  24. Oh yeah I think there definitely has to be an end game in sight. Not no spending for the sake of no spending, but no spending for a reason. I think my reason would be that (1) the little things I'm buying mean less $ for the new house fund, and I'm not comfortable with that and (2) the things I buy (like take out coffee) aren't really benefiting me. I've very rarely in my life thought 'yes, that was great coffee, that was just what I wanted.' I generally don't like coffee out, so to spend on something I'm literally like 'eh, running late, needing to get that and it didn't even taste great' makes me mad at myself. (For some people, daily Starbucks is their jam, and that's totally fine, but it's definitely not mine.) I don't feel like there's anything I've bought lately that I truly enjoyed or needed - it's been just random little crap. I definitely don't want to be doing that any more. I think I need something like a longer time framed total ban to give me the structure and drive. I'm otherwise not very strict with myself!
    But, hopefully in a few years it won't be as big a deal as it is now. Once the mortgage is paid off and all the major house updates are done, I'll be happy to buy a few random packs or gum or e-books!

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  25. The lunch options around my work are just so outrageously priced. I can't do it! Packing breakfast and lunch foods is SO much cheaper. It is a pain, but I've been doing it on Sundays to get it done and out of the way. My OCD self loves the little matching glass lunch containers all packed for the week, lined up in the fridge :)

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  26. I did save about 45% with coupons on our big grocery trip today. I'm good at it when I try, lol.

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  27. I know flat out there's no way I could do this. Like Steph said, I don't have the desire, but more than that, I don't have the willpower. I DO need to put myself on a month long spending ban though. I think I need to write out my rules and get on that. July will be starting soon and that's as good a time as any! Thanks for the inspiration

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  28. I really need to work on my willpower, it's something I struggle with. I'm going to be with you in July! I'd like to really lock it down in July and see where my weaknesses are before jumping into a full year long ban. My main budget buster is take out so July is no take out month. Eeek! Good luck to us both :)

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  29. I hate to expose my lack of belief in myself, but truly, I could never do something like this. I'm just getting around to understanding that I can't buy 10+ books on a whim in hopes that I'll read them when I already have so many unread books.
    But truly your posts like this are so inspiring. You've inspired me many times over to get my shit together. And I think if anyone can succeed at a ban, it's you.

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  30. We can do this! Let's show July who's boss!

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  31. Thanks for mentioning my shopping ban, Stephanie! You know what's interesting... I only have 3 weeks left in my ban and I'm just NOW realizing I want to start cutting out restaurants. I guess it was nice to be able to go out, when I couldn't spend money anywhere else throughout the year. But now I'm thinking about how much money I've blown on takeout food in the past couple months and I just want to stop. I think I'll be having a shopping ban round 2, when this is over. Anyway, you can do whatever you set your mind to! Put a couple tough things to give up on the list, but then make sure you're allowed to pay for a few things you enjoy too. It's all about balance. Good luck with whatever you decide!

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  32. You are amazing! Can't believe how much these little things really do add up.

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  33. Is it bad that I've never seen the Zoo lights? Maybe that's something I should add to my next 101 list.

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  34. I'd love to do a freakin' year - girl I feel like my spending habits are getting WORSE.. Every weekend it's some shit in this house I feel the "need" to buy. I don't even know how to nip it unless I cut up my debit card, lol. Once place I need to start is stop buying shit for bitches birthdays.. I swear I spent over $30 bucks on one birthday present - that's gas! Why?~ I don't feel I can justify spending that just about every month on so-and-so's birthday. What do you do for friends birthdays? I swear I was thinking of doing customized freakin' coupons - "free hugs" or some bullshit a bit more valuable than that. Lol Have a great weekend Stephanie! -Iva

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  35. I wish I could do a shopping ban for a year! I can't even manage a month! Having kids is like having three holes in my pockets. Snacks for school, new clothes, new shoes, uniforms, etc. There's always something that needs to be bought.

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  36. I know I need to buckle down but I dont know that I can do a whole year. I seriously need to save a lot in the next year though for a home so ... I think Ill start with your frost haha I need to work my way up to a total ban.

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  37. I think the Zoo is a great date idea!! This zoo looks perfect :)

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  38. I think waiting until you've lived in your house awhile to decide what you need is a good idea. Its been almost a year and I am still tossing stuff, I thought I needed but didn't really.

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  39. Aw thanks Kari! I think you could do a shopping ban for sure. I do think a year would be tough for anyone though, I'm nervous. I know one of Cait's problems was books (the original blogger who did the shopping ban first) so she has a bunch of posts on how she still gets her book fix without buying them all, if you're interested!

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  40. Ooo shopping ban round 2! That would be exciting. And I can't wait to hear about how your other goals are going, like the homemade stuff and the gardening.
    I definitely want to cut down on take out, I know that that's a major issue in my budget. I could cook some things so easily, but take out is so tempting. And of course I never get anything healthy, so my take out is pizza and ice cream. Not good! I do still need to figure out what things I am willing to pay for, so it's not a total cut off from everything.
    Thanks for being such a great inspiration! I'm pretty excited to give it a try for myself.

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  41. Thanks! Oh they really do. Just $5 a day is close to $2k a year. That's crazy, it adds up quick but we don't notice!

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  42. HA! I hear you - I'd cut up my card, but I have the number memorized from all the online shopping! Oy. Nothing I need of course, just random crap that caught my eye in the moment.
    I put a stop to most birthday stuff. The way to do it was insist on not getting anything for my birthday. Which I like, because then I don't end up with clutter. I just have 2 friends I still do birthday things with, and we just do a dinner out some place inexpensive. For another friend, I end up giving her time - usually that's helping her clean and organize her house or her mom's house. Everyone wins!

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  43. My dog is enough of a money pit, I cannot even imagine what expenses come up with kids! It must get out of hand, kudos to you for even staying on top of it. It would definitely be practically impossible to do that long a ban with kids!

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  44. Definitely the way to do it. I couldn't have started with a total ban. The frost itself is tough!! But it's been good at showing me where my major problem areas are, so I can address those before starting a total ban.

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  45. I think so too. I already got rid of things I didn't need in this apartment. I know we'll have to buy some bigger pieces once we have a house, but I'd rather wait and see what we really need and then find something perfect to fit the space. Rather than buy a bunch of ikea stuff we just toss in a few years.

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  46. I don't know if I could do it. I don't spend a lot frivolously anyway, so I don't know how to cut out the little bit of spending I do occasionally enjoy.

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  47. Ha I thought I was the only one who memorized her CC #'s! :) Glad I'm not alone. I'm going to start implementing that because lord knows I'm poor and trying to pay off student loans. Ain't nobody got time for that!

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  48. i bought this toy box for my year and half , 90 pound GSD. Saturday. Its already missing a corner. BUT it was precisely what i was looking for (and price wasnt shabby) so thanks!

    also thanks again for your budget strategies. i downloaded the 34 day trial because i do, in fact, "NAB" if ya dig.

    still hearting your blog! :]

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  49. this actually is far less minimal than i would have guessed! if this is "minimal" then i am super curious to see what "the average woman" owns. the closet looks fantastic and looks like you have your basic staples covered. also i am moderately amused that for a minimalist you have quite the collection of undergarments. i have an ass ton of tops in my closet (tbh i need to de-clutter again) and i wear like ... three bras. haha. on the real, i need to "ok" bra shopping and just purge some blouses buahahaha

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  50. Haha I know right, where did all these bras come from?! I bought out VS apparently! No, this isn't my minimalist closet. That's the view from my old place. Since moving, I've cut it down to about half of what is pictured, perhaps less. I have a Google spreadsheet listing everything in it, if you're ever interested to see!

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  51. Ahhh yes brain fart. this is what happens when you binge read a blog while at work ;P. i already did look at the spreadsheet last week lol .

    :]

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  52. I think I'd still need a small amount to spend on things I enjoy. Otherwise it would be impossible to keep going. But I definitely spend too much frivolously so I'm thinking the ban would really help with that!

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  53. haha! Oh good, I love the spreadsheet :) Even though I still have, like, 24 pairs of socks. I need to do another declutter sweep!

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  54. had rex manning and quotes of this movie on my (oh man, this dates me).... audio galaxy download list back in high school. id legit sing rex manning. for this reason and many others, as i previously pointed out before, you are probably my twin or soul mate lol. if i only had the balls (years ago) to start my blog. *sighhhh* we would be eternal blog buddies by now hahaha

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  55. I'm not sure I could do it! Like you, my big struggle isn't with the materialistic things like clothes, decorations, other random clutter etc., but not eating out would be hard. I don't do it a lot, but I REALLY enjoy it the times that I do. It's usually just our local pizza/sub shop or a couple drinks out here and there, but it's sort of my vice. I don't spend a ton of money outside of that (maybe on my dog!), but I'm always looking for ways to cut back. Ever since I went vegetarian/almost vegan four years ago I've definitely saved a ton of money there. I'll be rooting for you if you go for it!

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  56. No way I could do a shopping ban for a year. I've successfully had a few months where I've done so, though. I'm interested to read how creative you get with your (potential) shopping ban!

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  57. I think about doing something like this all.the.time. My spending isn't out of control by any means, but it could definitely be better. I have tried giving myself an allowance every month but I always end up justifying "well this is actually a necessity because [insert excuse here] so it doesn't count", which may or may not be true. I spend the vast majority of excess money on eating out, which most of the time is just stupid. A full month without takeout would be huge for me so I'm impressed that you've even done that before! Good luck getting the ball rolling with that this time!

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  58. I visited this zoo the one time I've been to Chicago. Can't wait to visit again. We love it there!

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  59. 22 cents a lb is amazing! no need to be sorry for no fancy recipes, I think I get a bit carried a way sometimes when just fruit is simple enough for breakfast and I don't need to do anything fancy. I enjoy smoothies but that ends up using like 3 different kinds of fruit, plus spinach plus milk so it's not exactly super cheap.. but it is good for me and filling, so i have to find that balance.
    We just got back from Europe (hence the delayed response, sorry!) and KC has requested that we try vegetarian at home again. I mainly eat vegetarian at home anyway but he doesn't. It's harder for him because he eats SO MUCH. I made falafel yesterday, like 20 balls and I had 6 for lunch today and yesterday.. he ate the other 15. I mean, they weren't expensive but jeepers.
    I totally agree about the savings. We would be fine if we didn't save, but then we couldn't do the things I want to do or fix things around the house, and a new pair of shoes is just not worth that to me, especially when I forget about the shoes the following month.
    But yeah, absolutely do email me. I am basically a library myself haha.

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  60. can we just talk about how i'm so ridiculously impressed with your spending freezes?
    teach me your ways.

    JK. i love shopping too much.

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