February Habit: Love Notes and a January Habit Recap

For our February habit, I'm going to write a Love Note every day to inspire romance and friendship in my life. I don’t know everything about love but I do know that if I want to feel more love, I need to share more love ;)

I’m hoping for them to be hand-written. Most will probably be to Greg but I'm also predicting some notes of gratitude to friends near and far, current and past. I am trying to get better about verbalizing my love to others after losing some very special people this year. To a romantic February!

+ Reflections on our January Habit: No Spending: No Spending January has been a great success! Well, that and a failure but more on that in a minute. The goal was no-spending on non-essentials for the whole month. We wanted to save money, bring more awareness to our expenses, and focus on finding free alternatives while using up what we already have.

We cut our spending in half on groceries, restaurants, drinks (we only bought one drink out this month!), and shopping. In a fortunate twist, I won our farmers market raffle this month and have free coins to use at the market for months to come! That further helped the cause. 

It felt like a game to use up what we already had. I gathered items that were consumable, and wrote down a list of pantry/fridge/freezer items that weren’t essentials. I tried to find recipes that could use them up without having to buy too many additional ingredients.

We used up pasta, frozen beans, spices, rice wrappers, lots of eggs, nuts, lemons, frozen broth, frozen wine. We made recipes like howsweateats.com's (1) Roasted Garlic Potato Soup, My New Roots' (2) Rice Wrapper Samosas, iamafoodblog.com's (3) Fried Rice, and A Cup of Jo's (4) Eggnog French Toast!

For entertainment, we used restaurant gift cards for dates, enjoyed a few free events at The Commonwealth Club and watched movies on Amazon Prime. We even had some free meals at Greg's office and many birthday parties.

This brings me to the failure. This month, we bought tickets to four (future) concerts/events and two (future) flights! That's more than we usually buy in a couple of months!! To be fair, or by Greg's reasoning, these were not to be enjoyed this month. The flights are work-related and family obligations so they might be considered essential. The concerts/events are ones we were afraid would sell out and a few have. But still!

(breathing room in our freezer)

(breathing room in our freezer)

Overall, we managed to save about $700 this month and clean out the pantry/fridge/freezer in the process. (Good timing! Our new pantry and laundry room will be ready next week.) We learned that the core benefit of no-spending is delayed gratification. It restricts buying based on impulse and focuses spending on purposeful goals and the future! Moving forward, while we may relax our no-spending guidelines, we will certainly keep the habit to first use up what we already own. 

+ A nice reminder to use the lovely gifts you receive: “Open the jam, the journal, the wine. Slather that fancy lotion all over your feet. Put on those sparkly earrings even if you’re just going to the grocery store. Because someone gave them to you out of love. Accept that love. Burn the candles.” http://www.shaunaniequist.com/burn-candles/