No Wonder My Purse Was So Heavy

I do not spend my change.  I save it in a Simply Lime bottle and then cash it when the bottle gets full.  Sometimes I just throw my change in my pocket, but lately I’ve been chucking it in my purse.  And apparently two months of that added up.  I wish I would have weighed my purse before and after…

$12.70

I’m rich!  That’s the best part of not spending change.  You don’t miss it, but when you get it all back, it’s huge.  It won’t be long before I need to take a trip to the bank…

This photo was actually taken before I put that change in there.  It’s now up to that faint line above the change.  It usually takes about two years to fill the jar.  I emptied it for the first time right after we moved in, then once more about two years later.  We’re on the fourth year, so it’s due.

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Checking in… about halfway

I’m about halfway through my six-week ban on spending.  I think I’ve been doing pretty well, but there have been a few unavoidable things, plus one seemingly necessary splurge.

I did really well in January.  The only things I spent money on were going out with friends, and frankly, I think going out with friends is absolutely necessary.  Especially celebrating your awesome buddy’s birthday by dressing up as her goth cousin and going bowling…

I am full of angst. While wearing my awesome bowling shoes

Because my awesome buddy has a public persona to keep up, I will leave the pictures at that.  Rest assured it was quite possibly the most fun I’ve had ever.  I highly recommend going out and doing something mundane with your closest friends in wild costumes.  Seriously, it will improve your life tenfold.  And I’m saying this as a shy person who prefers to blend into the background.

Then February rolled around, and I think perhaps I was going a little stir crazy.  I decided I needed to surprise The Hippy with a short trip, so I blew some cash on a hotel room.  He has since guessed correctly what the surprise was, so it’s not really a surprise, but it should be fun.  Seriously, who manages to guess that I’m taking them to the Spam museum?  WTF?  Or, perhaps, FTW.  I also found an amazing deal on makeup (because this summer I need to play the goth role again, and I don’t want to need to borrow makeup every time), which I wasn’t going to buy yet, but I got my makeup FREE, just paying shipping.  So, yeah.  I also bought a soda, because I forgot mine at home, and I brought some trim to complete a project.

So, between the last four weeks, I’ve spent about $150–less than that, actually.  Which isn’t BAD, I guess, but it’s not great.  Which is why I’m extending the challenge through March.  And maybe April.  That, and the fact that I’ve got doctor’s bills looming, and I don’t want to have to rely on tax rebates.  I would like those to go to savings.

Really, the point of this is twofold.  One: To save money, obviously. Two: to be aware of where my money is going.  If I’m making a conscious effort not to spend money, it’s much easier to know where my money goes when it goes.  It’s not rocket science, or anything.  It just forces me to be creative and figure out ways to do without or do with what I already have.  Especially fabric.  Seriously.  I have too much fabric.

Money, Money, Money, MONEY… MON-NAY

Believe it or not, this is not me.

I made a few mistakes over the last few months, and my bank account is suffering. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in dire straits, but I prefer to have a FAR bigger cushion than I currently have.  That’s why I’ve decided (after a wonderful party last night that was totally worth it) to not spend money until the end of February.

I’m allowed to spend money under four circumstances and five circumstances only:

  1. Bills
  2. Grocery
  3. Gas for truck (so I can get to work and earn money, duh)
  4. Fast food ONCE in Jan and ONCE in Feb.
  5. Snow pants

The first three are fairly self-explanatory.  #4 is for a couple reasons…  I’ll be eating (supposedly) healthier.  It will also challenge me to make sure I’m not being lazy.  It means bringing food to work, even when I don’t have dinner leftovers. In the meantime, I think I need to be coming up with as many brown rice recipes as possible, because if The Hippy isn’t around, I ought to be eating the uber healthy and filling things that I can’t get away with sharing with The Hippy.

#5 is probably most baffling.  You see, I have no snow pants.  But I NEEEEEED snow pants.  I need them before winter is up so that I might do awesomely free activities such as ice skating and sledding.  I would preferably like to get them ridiculously cheap, because, well, duh.  But I need them.  I’ve actually even toyed with the idea of making them, but I’d have to make sure I can get an amazing deal on the fabrics.  Actually, if I wanted to go that route, this weekend would be a really good time to do it…. 50% off coupons!

In regards to #2, I have been thinking about doing at least some of my shopping at Aldi’s.  For some reason I’m scared, even though I’ve heard really great things.  I almost feel like I need someone to hold my hand!  Help!  Any tips?

The dinner bell tolls, and it tolls for me to use my oven squirrel to retrieve my Shepherd’s Tot Pie (recipe sometime this week).

B&M BS…

Currently I’ve got my products in two stores: I Like You in Minneapolis and Nature’s Blessings in Pennsylvania. My partner and I have been actively trying to get ourselves in other stores, but it’s been a slightly uphill battle.

One store has been impossible to get a hold of. Granted, my partner and I work full time, and can’t really make phone calls during the day. When we can make phone calls, they aren’t open.  We have a deadline, though, and we’re sticking to it.  We actually want to hit as many stores that day as humanly possible, so we’ll see where that gets us.

There is a major question that keeps coming up:  What is a fair cut for the shop selling your item?  A general consensus is that 60/40 is the most common break down.  It’s what we follow at I Like You, and I’ve heard of many other stores with the same split.  Some shops charge a rental fee instead of commission.  We rent space at Nature’s Blessings at a relatively reasonable price.

But what to do when it feels like the shop is taking advantage of the artists they are seeking?  The obvious choice is to say no to the store.  There’s really no question about that, but past that, what can you do?  It sucks to sit by and watch as someone takes advantage of the independent artist community.  It’s a bit like being able to see the hint of some horns from under their hat, and not being able to warn anyone about them.

If artists and crafters had some sort of a union, we’d be able to band together to get the fairness we deserve.  I’m not saying shop owners don’t deserve 40% or even 50%.  There’s a lot of money and hard work that goes into a brick and mortar, work and money I don’t have to give.  But I shouldn’t be expected to shell out what amounts to three days of labor every month.  Not when I’m not getting anything in return to make it worthwhile.

Maybe this will come back to bite me in the butt someday, but I’m willing to take that chance.  If I don’t stand up for myself, who will?