Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

My Challenging Year, Month 2 – The Spending Starve

Well, hello friends. How did September go for you all? Did you make it through the TV challenge? Did it change your life? (Or even just your habits?)

With one very small exception, I made it through all of September with no TV on school nights, and I promise to blog about my observations VERY SOON, but first:

IT IS OCTOBER!!! Which means the TV can come back on, and a new challenge starts today.

October’s challenge: No spending money on non-essential THINGS. Simple, right?

The rules I plan to follow:

Just like the last time I did this challenge, the rules are:

  1. I can buy groceries.
  2. I can buy gas for the car.
  3. I can pay for experiences like going to the movies or tickets to a play or dinner with friends or coffee with Mom.
  4. I cannot get takeout to eat by myself as a convenience, but I can get takeout if it is part of a social thing with other people. Ditto to buying coffee/ice cream: Starbucks alone = NO. Starbucks w/boss or colleague = YES.
  5. If something I own and use at least weekly should fall apart or run out or irreparably break down, I can replace it.
  6. If it is critical to my health, I can buy it.
  7. If it is critical (critical meaning it CANNOT wait until November) to someone who depends on me, I can buy it.
  8. If it is critical to the completion of my school-related responsibilities, I can buy it.

Exceptions I will allow: This really deserves a WHOLE POST of its own, but: tomorrow I will pay the deposit on the BRAND NEW PUPPY who is coming home to live with me in 59 days. Also: my work wardrobe is kind of in crisis, and if I find some good work pants, I am allowed to buy them. BUT THAT IS ALL.

Why this is a challenge for me: I like new stuff. I’m not a shopaholic BY ANY MEANS, but I do like shiny new stuff.

Why I want to try this: I am a single, professionally employed adult with no dependents. I make a good salary. It is just WAY TOO EASY to blow through $20 here and $50 there on things I don’t need, and then to NOT have money for bigger things that I actually WANT.

What I expect will happen: Um, hopefully, there will be more money left at the end of the month than usual. This seems obvious, right? And also I will gain some insight abut my spending habits and where/when/why I get the urge to buy.

Ok, now: who’s in? Sign up in the comments as usual. And if you did NOT do the TV challenge – are there any new shows I should check out?


My Challenging Year, Month 1: The TV Challenge

So. Response to the My Challenging Year project has been… lukewarm, but I am  hoping that is because you are all waiting to get details on the individual monthly challenges…?

Here is the scoop for the September challenge (and I apologize that it is a day late. Yesterday was The First Day of School — more on that in another post — and also Meet the Teacher Night, and I was at school from 7:45am until 9pm, and COULD NOT BRING MYSELF TO BLOG AFTER THAT. ) Moving on..

September’s challenge: No TV during the week.

The rules I plan to follow: I will not turn on the television from the time I go to bed on Sunday night, until the time I get home from school on Friday.

Exceptions I will allow: If there is some kind of major world-changing event, or natural disaster, I can turn on the TV to watch the news. Also, if I am at a social event of some kind where watching something on TV is part of the event, I will not be weird and hide in the bathroom until it is over. Note that the odds of me being at such a social event during the week are HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

Why this is a challenge for me: I live alone (ok, alone with a chihuahua). I do not use the TV for company or background noise, but I do tend to watch it while I eat breakfast and dinner. I have a weakness for both good stories and human drama (even the drama manufactured by reality TV), and I LIKE watching both of these things play out. Also: SEPTEMBER IS SERIES PREMIERE MONTH!

Why I want to try this: It is just WAY too easy to get sucked into the screen and a good story, and suddenly the whole evening is gone.

What I expect will happen: I will probably get more sleep, possibly more exercise. I will read more, and spend more time outside. My house may stay cleaner.

Ok, there’s the scoop. Let me know in the comments if you are along for the ride on this one, and PLEASE blog about it, if you are a blogging sort of person. If not, FB, the Twitterz and the Pinterest are good, too – spread the word, because this will be more fun with more people!

Then: hide the remote.

Put down the remote!


My (our) Challenging Year: who’s in?

School starts tomorrow. I always feel like this day feels more like New Year’s Eve than December 31. A new year. A fresh start. For me (and, it seems like, for many of my #kinderchat buddies), lots of changes this year. I have stepped out of the classroom. Many of My People have started Master’s programs and others have made the leap to new grade levels.

Changes. Challenges.

Change is good. I like change. I like challenge. I like trying things that change my routines, to see HOW a small change can create bigger change. I like these things even better when others are playing along with me. So, I am proposing this, friends: a year’s worth of challenges, a new one every month.

You can do ALL of them, or pick and choose. Ideally, you will blog and tweet about it, but you can also just share in the comments here, to let us know how you are doing, how hard or easy or awful or wonderful each challenge is. There’s no recriminations if you cheat or slip or don’t finish. Fresh starts are ALWAYS available.

Here is what I have in mind:

September: No TV during the week.

October: Buy NO unnecessary stuff.

November: Watch at least one movie, or attend at least one live theatre, dance, or music performance, every week.

December: Write at least 3 personal, handwritten notes of gratitude to people you appreciate, every week.

January: Drink nothing but water.

February: No fast food, processed, or packaged food containing more than 5 ingredients.

March: Unplug your social media on weekends.

April: Spend at least 30 minutes outside, at least 4 times per week.

May: Eat in. No restaurants, take out, or fast food.

June: Make eye contact with, and smile sincerely at, everyone you meet.

July: Explore at least one new place every week.

August: Stop using single-use disposable items.

There. Every month will have its own, more detailed post, where I will share how I plan to meet the challenge, and what exceptions I may be allowing myself. You are free to add your own exceptions as necessary, but the idea is for it to be CHALLENGING. We can do anything for a month, right? Challenges will go up on the first weekday of each month. (Which means September’s details will be up bright and early tomorrow morning!).

Now, who’s in? Comment below to let me know you’re up for it, and then spread the word:

  • If you’re joining us, announce it on Facebook, and share the link.
  • Pin this post!
  • Tweet about it, using #MyChallengingYr.
  • Blog about your plan to join us, and encourage your readers to come along, too! (Hmmm, anyone up for making a blog badge?!)

This will be fun!

(cc) photo by Joe Lanman on Flickr