Money-making project: Build bee motels and sell them on Etsy!
On Thursday, I sat down with a notebook and went month by month through my bills from 2013. One of my goals for this year is to get a handle on my spending. I want to end 2014 with zero credit card debt and a notable increase in my savings account. That certainly didn't happen this year--why not?
The $14 purchase is why not. $14 doesn't seem like all that much, does it? $14 for fabric or sewing notions, $14 for a skein of sock yarn, $14 for a book.
But if you spend $14 often enough, it adds up to a lot of money. I will not reveal here how much money I spent on fabric and other craft supplies in 2013, but the sum is appalling--and about twice as much as I would have guessed. Twice as much! The funny thing is, it's not the big cash outputs that were the problem. They happened once or twice a year, and I was very conscious of them.
No, it was the little dribs and drabs that did me in. The fat quarter cut of fabric. The used book from Amazon.com. The fact is, I have nickled and dimed myself into a budget crisis.
So yesterday, after writing down all the numbers, adding them up, and nearly fainting when I saw the results, I came up with a budget. A real budget--not the imaginary budget in my head that I'd been sure I was sticking to. A budget that requires I write down every purchase I make and subtract it from my monthly allowance. A budget that allows for fabric purchases, but insists that I shop my own stash of fabric first. A budget that tsk tsks at the very thought of idly tossing a magazine in my shopping cart as I wait in the checkout line. A budget that insists I go to the library instead of the bookstore.
When I realized what I actually spent each month, well, it was sort of embarrassing. It's like that moment you step on the scale and realize you've gained twenty pounds. You have no idea how you gained twenty pounds. It's not like you eat cake and ice cream every night. In fact, you thought you'd been cutting back.
But when you finally look at reality--how much you really spend, how much you really eat/smoke/drink/live on the Internet--it's also incredibly liberating. Now you know the truth and can do something about it.
I hope to blog more this year--I'm shooting for twice a week--and will keep you updated on my new frugality. I plan not only to spend less, but to earn more, mostly by teaching, but by selling as well. I'll share my experiments with making my own dish detergent and cleaning supplies. I'll give breathless accounts of my experiences with getting books through inter-library loans. You will be riveted, I promise.
Do you have plans for a more frugal 2014? Please share!