Archive for February, 2009

No spend challenge-week 4

Last week of the challenge and I realized,  it’s a mindset, not a goal.  Just an experiment to see if I/we had self control enough to say no to the “extras”.  Here’s the detailed list.

2/22 Sunday, Kohl’s  (pants for Cam)$24.14 on a gift card I already had, so actually $0 out-of-pocket

2/23 Monday, $20 to water for Life for sister’s birthday, Walmart $9.22

2/24Tuesday, Braum’s $7.84, Walmart $9.18

2/25Wednesday, Quiznos $3.00 drinks (free sandwich coupon)

2/26 Thursday $30 guitar lessons, $10 Walmart

2/27Friday $20 Aldi, $20 haircut, $12.80 CVS ($10 on my med reimbursment card, so only $2.80 out-of-pocket)

Total for month of February $729.55, including $445.48 groceries for a family of 4, plus 1 dog and 1 guinea pig.  Wow.  That’s quite an eye-opener for me.

I’ll be putting together my final thoughts on this month in another post next week, as well as a comparison of the last few months spending to see how we did.

Coincidentally, financial guru, Dave Ramsey, was at church this Saturday morning, the last day of February and my No Spend Challenge Month.  He was taping a series of 3 messages that will be shown later in the month of March on the weekend at church.   Awesome timing for me and hopefully for Kevin too.

A word about LOST

Just a word.  I don’t have much time.  If you don’t watch LOST, you won’t understand, sorry.

Something I have to keep telling myself is that Ben ALWAYS lies.  ALWAYS.  kinda like Satan…no, exactly like Satan.

Remember way back when?  When we thought his name was Henry Gale?  It wasn’t.  He lies.

His mother taught him to read…LIE!  or joke…I couldn’t tell which it was supposed to be.

For some reason, I occasionally think, “Oh, now he’s being sincere.”  He’s so dad-gum convincing! So believable.  and then I kick myself when I realize I’ve been duped again.

So, I repeat to myself, “Ben ALWAYS lies!”  and, just for good measure I’ll add, “Satan ALWAYS lies too”–you know, just to keep grounded in reality. 🙂

Satan’s not stoopid

Satan is not stupid…he’s evil, but not dumb.  When he tempts us (not if, but when) he knows where we’re weak.  I don’t believe he can read our thoughts, but he can certainly watch our actions.  He sees our weaknesses and does not hesitate to exploit them.

Beth Moore says it like this:

Satan never wastes a fiery dart by aiming at a spot covered by armor.  The bull’s-eye is located dead center in our inconsistency.  That’s where the enemy plans to bring us down.

Victory over sin and temptation in this world is NEVER accidental or coincidental.  It comes from careful strategic planning and CONSISTENCY!  Therefore, I must RESOLVE to avoid areas I know I’m weak.  I’ll give 2 examples–I have others–but I’m not writing a book today.

  • Avoiding movies and TV shows that focus on relationships (which is pretty much all of them) is a must for me.  I’m not going to dive into the reasons why, b/c I already have done that here and even as far back as here.   Except LOST (I make that one exception for better or for worse).–I know, I know, that flies in the face of “consistency”.
  • Also, I avoid catalogs and sales fliers and all other marketing attempts to make me think I need or want something.  Avoiding TV also helps me avoid commercials–bonus!   And I despise shopping, so that keeps me out of the dangerous mall.  But, I–like the rest of Western Culture–enjoy stuff that makes me comfortable, pretty, convenienced, etc., and I can very easily get “tricked” into thinking that I need that really cool trickling fountain for my bedroom that’s currently 40% off!  oh, yeah, I get sucked in easy.

A break in resolve in the tough areas of your life, will give Satan a foothold.  So consistency is necessary to protect yourself from those fiery darts.

No spend challege-week 3

I’ve been a real blog-slacker this week and last.  I’m not sure if I’ve just been too busy, or uninspired, or maybe a little of both.  Anyhow, down to business.  This week was much easier to spend less.

We eat pizza at least once a week (we’d have it every day if it were up to the teen) so this has been hard.  I mean, there’s only so many ways to make homemade pizza, and it’s NEVER as yummy as the pizzeria kind.  But, I’ve made crust in the bread machine, and we’ve used English muffins and flatbread, and the refrigerator rolled dough–just for a little variety–you know, so it seems FUN, and not just like you’re missing out on the good stuff.

Also, Cam and I made homemade cinnamon rolls last weekend.  That was fun and the kids thought it was a special treat.  They didn’t need to know that it was much cheaper than any other pre-made sweet breakfast treat!

2/14 Sat. Lowes $28 and $36 flowering plant for vday from Kev (awww, so sweet!)

2/15 Sun $8.06 Braums

2/16 Mon $0

2/17 Tues $30 guitar lessons

2/18 Wed $0

2/19 Thurs $0

2/20 Fri $9.43 Braum’s, $134.90 Walmart *ouch*

Total so far this month $535.77.  Wow, that seems like a LOT especially since I’m not even counting gas for the cars!  To be honest, I’m a little disappointed.  It really seemed like we weren’t spending much at all.  Hmmm…

Sometimes I think it would be more fun ( or at least more gratifying) to detail what I did NOT spend….to list all the times I said no to what I wanted to buy.  The 1/2 gallon of ice cream at Braum’s when I was grabbing milk, the Sonic drinks, the Panda Express dinner out with friends, the Taco Bell that I drove by…the list goes on and on.

And I’m still contemplating on what to do with the “extra” money that we didn’t spend this money.  Give or Save?  A little of both?  I’m praying and have asked everyone else in the family to pray about it.  So we’ll see!

Water is Life

I first read about this ministry last year when a group of students from an Edmond elementary school was raising money to purchase these “water sticks”.  It is a filter/straw that hangs around your neck and can be used to make dirty water drinkable and safe.

I can’t imagine letting my child drink water that was not clean.  But for some moms, clean is not an option.  If they don’t drink anything, they’ll die, so if all they have access to is dirty water…they take their chances.   Breaks my heart.  This is a reality I have trouble comprehending.  I mean, we’ll dump out a glass of clean water b/c it’s “old”, i.e, it’s been sitting on the counter for a couple of hours, and get a “fresh” glass of clean water.

I already own part of a well–that was a Christmas gift from a friend.  She knows me well.

Check it out.

Check out their site

No Spend Challenge-week 2

Wow, it’s been a busy week!  First a birthday, then some tornado excitement, Big SWITCH, the first guitar lessons, my laptop is in the computer hospital, and we’re finally to Friday!  Man, did I ever need a day off!  

Just to clarify on the “challenge”, there are, of course, many expenses (utilities, car pymnt, insurance, orthodontist, etc.) that are fairly fixed and can’t be controlled.  When I say “spend nothing” I’m really just talking about the expenses that are “controllable”.  I’m also not including money spent on gas.

I’m detailing my spending for my own benefit (and for Kevin’s in case he’s “creeping” –love ya, honey!)  😉

FYI: I did not replace the vacuum (as desired 😉 ) but took it to the shop where it took only $6.95 to unclog the hose and I cut my own hair (twice) to hold me for another couple of weeks!  Both very good solutions to last weeks “crisis”.

Thursday 2/5 $15 for that silly domain name I bought (live and learn)

Friday 2/6 $14.15 Aldi, $14.88 books for Cameron’s birthday, $26.67 Walmart for groceries

Saturday 2/7 $6.47 birthday balloons

Sunday 2/8 $26 Ice Skating

Monday 2/9 $8.28 Braums

Tuesday 2/10 $0  (this was “tornado” day–too much excitement to think about errands or groceries)

Wednesday 2/11 $1.43 Walmart

Thursday 2/12 $6.95 to fix vaccuum, $30 for 2 guitar lessons

Friday 2/13 $12.95 Pop’s (Special Vday surprise!), $44.06 Walmart

We also gave an undetermined amount of money to Cory for Double Wolf Dare Week at Santa Fe High School “for charity”.   It was approximately $35–there was money handed out nearly every day and I kinda lost track!  Assemblies, t-shirts, talent show admission…jeeesh.

For a total so far this month (almost half way there!) of variable expenditures $289.38. Wow, that seems like a lot, although we’re at less than half of what we ordinarily spend on groceries and cash.  

 Next week should be even easier b/c it doesn’t contain a birthday. or a school charity event.  those 2 things alone took just under $100 spent in a week!

Interesting…to me.

Ok, really…I suck.  Really, I do.  I think some evil vanity monster just took over my mind.  I just spent 15 completely unnecessary dollars on a domain name….DURING my Spend Nothing Challenge month!

I was doing some blog “maintenance” and saw a little thing flash across the top that told me I could buy my own domain for only $15/year!  How in the world could i resist?!  who would have guessed that would be available?! I realize I could have waited until March 1 to spend the 15 ridiculous dollars on my own domain name, but WHAT IF (and this is a big what if)…what if some other Cari Kelley was looking to purchase their own domain in February 2009?  I would have missed my chance FOR EVER!

This is the kind of stuff I”m talking about when I said I can be somewhat careless spending money.  Do I need to own  Of course not!  Do I want it, well…I guess.  You’re probably thinking, “it’s only $15!”, but the amount is not the point….it’s the mindset.

And the truth is, I have NO idea what (if anything) I can do with  When I type it in, it just comes straight to my blog.  Whoopee.

no spend challenge–beginning week 1

The first day of my “spend nothing challenge” I realized that I was in desperate need of a haircut.   Now, why did I not notice this until I decided to be more aware of how much I was spending?!  AND!! my vacuum cleaner is not sucking.  that’s just great, b/c I CANNOT live without a working vacuum.  I have a BLACK dog that lives in the house and sheds alot.  We have WHITE tile!  And did I mention that I have a big black dog that sheds!!??  Ick!

It’s alright.   I’m not panicking.

“Groceries” bought so far $35.  I started with a fairly stocked cupboard.  I brought my lunch to work everyday and we ate dinner at home too.

Feb1 – $25 at Walmart (Kevin’s trip–remember I said he’s not necessarily on board, so I don’t know what he bought)

Feb2-$10 Braums-milk, juice, eggs

Feb 3-$0


Feb5-$12 ordered and paid for birthday cookie

$47 spent.  not too bad so far, but it should get interesting as the birthday weekend approaches.  AND we have free tickets to see a Thunder basketball game at the FORD center tomorrow night.  Can we pass up the concessions??

Oh well, it’s all about the journey and what can be learned right?

Challenging the status quo

Economy, recession, lay-offs, buy-outs, blah, blah, blah.  And I don’t even watch the news!  It’s not that I’m “irritated” by it all, but … jeesh, can we hear something positive?

Just today, a guy came into the church needing help paying his rent and car payment–he was more than a little behind on his car pymt and is probably going to have to sell the thing or lose it.    Another lady called the church b/c her family had nothing to eat in the house.  They couldn’t afford groceries.  I see stories like this EVERY SINGLE week!

Part of the reason I am doing this Spend Nothing Challenge is just to bring an awareness of what could be. And to take a step back and rethink where we spend money.  Challenge the way we think. Shift my trust in our ability to provide for ourselves, to completely trusting in God’s ability to provide for us.  And then honor our money/resources like they came from Him. I know I can be somewhat careless with money and it seems like that’s not honoring to God.

The thought crossed my mind to give away want we don’t spend this month.  Wouldn’t that be a statement?  I’m not quite there yet…I’ll pray about it though.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

In Fuse (LC’s 5th and 6th grade experience)  this last weekend, the kids (and I) were taught about the importance of reading God’s Word.  Not reading your bible is like walking around in the dark.  We might think we know where we’re going, but if you do it  long enough, you’re gonna smack into something…or trip over an obstacle that someone drops in your path.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path Psalm 119:105

Having a bible and not reading it is like walking around in the dark with a flashlight NOT turned on.  This world is dark place–few would argue with that.  Sin, and the pain that it causes, are every where you turn.   Obstacles and temptations are all around us.

The words of Psalm 119, sing the praises of God’s word and His commands.  The psalmist begs God to:

encourage me by your word v28

expand my understanding v32

turn my eyes from worthless things v37

give me life through your word v37


give me the sense to follow your commands v73  (gotta love the NLT’s way of saying it!)

We can’t completely avoid sin and the pain that it causes just by reading the bible, but I believe that, as it says, it can be a lamp to our feet.  God’s word will help us navigate through the darkness of this world.  Choices will be clearer.  Falls will be less frequent.  Temptations less attractive.

Do whatever you have to do to make reading Gods word a priority.    Your life (the one God wants for you) depends on it.