Taking Stock

I decided to kick the year off by joining in the Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month Challenge to kick off my goals this year. (I want to fight the power and stick it to the man through simple living and early(ier) retirement).

Part of the homework leading up to the launch was to take stock of our spending for the past month. I used three months for an average. Now, I didn’t think I spent a lot but apparently I’m spending money half asleep and in a fog:

1) I buy an average of $800 worth of food every month. Just for myself. One person. I doubt I eat that much and the majority of it is going to waste.  I buy groceries intending to eat home-cooked meals that week, and then I work late, don’t put a lunch together, don’t have time the next morning, yadda yadda yadda … wasted groceries and fast food for lunch, and wine and junk food for dinner.

2) I have an expensive vice: e-cigarettes. I spend over $200 on it every month. It was a step down from stress-smoking turned smoking-smoking which was supposed to lead to quitting. It didn’t.

3) Monthly luxuries: Cable, Audible, a large data plan, and Massage Envy. This is an average of $350 a month (including utilities). Guess how much 140+ channels of mostly crap and an under-performing “100 mbps” costs me each month after my contract ended and I wasn’t paying attention?  $155.00.

My goals this month:

  • Eat home-cooked meals, no eating out or take out.
  • Quit vaping.
  • Cut recurring monthly discretionary expenses.
  • Victory Lap: pay down credit card debt by $1500.

If it’s possible to stick to something like this for a month, perhaps I could pull off a year and be out of consumer debt within 12-18 months. That’s $20,000+ interest wealthier I’ll be. And, if I could pay off $20,000 debt in a year, maybe I could invest $20,000 over the following year.

Can I do it? Barring the unforeseen, I’m sure as hell going to try.

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