I really didn't accomplish much this week besides going to work, doing my job, and coming home to collapse. I've had a horrendous cold since early in the week. On Tuesday I was just sneezing and a little sniffly, which prompted me to wonder if I was finally developing the hay fever that the rest of the family suffers with every spring. But no ... Wednesday at work I went through one boxes of tissue in eight hours, Thursday's count was two boxes, and by Friday afternoon I'd lost count. Friday night I started to cough, and I spent Saturday on the couch hacking, wheezing, and going through a couple more boxes of tissues. (good thing I got them in bulk, on sale, with a coupon!) It's tapering off now, but I'm still exhausted enough that today I did the dishes in several installments, because after ten minutes standing in front of the sink I just had to go sit down for a while.
Big Guy did what he always does - he made a big pot of from-scratch chicken soup and kept bringing me bowls of it - lovely stuff, full of bite-sized chicken chunks, onions, celery, carrots, lots of garlic and ginger, and egg noodles. It makes me feel better, at least for a little while ... in fact, I'll be taking a thermos of soup to work for lunch tomorrow.
I spent a lot of the weekend browsing a variety of blogs, following links from one to another, and I was surprised at how many bloggers are on the "Not Buying It" bandwagon. Not because it's a novel idea - I've pretty much lived that way for most of my life - but because so many people use that particular label. Is it easier to be frugal as part of a group? Does not spending money feel more comfortable if you can see how many others aren't spending money either? I'm not putting them down for it - in fact, I can't help wondering if I'd do better at the whole saving/not spending/paying down debt thing if I followed their example.
So ... as of today, I'm going to actually track every cent I spend, and post the details - starting with the generic cold capsules I hauled my poor aching, wheezing self out to get this morning. Maybe someone can suggest areas where I could spend less, or even items I could eliminate entirely. I don't pretend to be an expert, and I'm always open to new ideas. Oh, and just so the tracking will make more sense - Big Guy and I have an arrangement. Since he does almost all the cooking, he pays for the groceries, and I pay the household bills - hydro, gas, phone/cable/internet. So those categories won't show in the sidebar, and neither will our mortgage payments. What I'll be tracking is just my own personal spending, not the household budget. The goal is to make myself more aware of what I'm spending on "extras"; we're already pretty darn careful about what we lay out for necessities. For instance, the coffee we buy as part of the regular groceries won't be listed, but if I treat myself to a pound of a specialty blend I will show it. I'm still debating whether to show what I spend on my monthly transit pass - it's expensive, but it's necessary. Driving to work (especially with the cost of parking downtown) would cost at least three times as much ... so I don't think the pass can really be called an "extra". What do you think?
I'm also making a list in the back of my current all-purpose notebook of all the things I have enough of that I don't need to buy more no matter how good the sale price is. Thanks to my long-standing habit of stocking up when the price is right, it should be at least two years before I'll be buying office supplies, shower gel, deodorant, hair ties, shampoo, sewing notions, underwear, garbage bags, greeting cards ... the actual list is far more detailed, but you get the idea.
I will have to bite the bullet very soon and buy a new pair of running shoes. Actually, skateboard shoes, which are far more comfortable (they're wider, and I have square feet and a ridiculously high arch) and don't have the big ugly clunky soles that almost all women's "running" shoes seem to have these days. I pretty much live in those shoes, unless there's snow - our neighbourhood doesn't have sidewalks except on the main streets, and I'm not about to ruin my good/dress/office shoes by commuting daily through mud, gravel, and roadside dirt in them. A pair of the brand I like best will run me about $75.00 on sale, but once every two years or so turns that from an extravagance into a practical budget item. Especially since it allows me to make a nice pair of dress shoes last up to ten years. Yes, seriously. Shoes I like, that fit properly and don't hurt to walk in, are hard to find; when I do find a pair, I make them last as long as possible. I don't care about fashion - and some of the recent and current styles are downright ugly - my "good" shoes are plain, comfortable classics that will always look suitable for whatever I wear them with.
Apart from the shoes, there won't be any clothing in the list. This goes back to my New Year's "resolutions" - to work with what I already have. As each new garment is started, it will be added to the "Current Projects" section of the sidebar, and I'll try to post a picture of each one when I finish them. The sweater is almost finished, so (touch wood) next post will include a picture. I'll also be adding a "Finished Projects" section - sometimes I feel like Alice, "the faster I run the behinder I get", and it will be nice to look at that list and reflect on what I have accomplished.