First, I have lost 5 lbs. It's not much, but the numbers are moving in the right direction, so I'm pleased.
Second, to report on my $250 budget for groceries, eating out, and household necessities. I did not meet this goal y'all. In fact, I went about $100 OVER. There were several contributing factors to my overage... I had the chance to buy meat from Zaycon- $1.69/lb for chicken breasts and $2.99 for 93% lean ground beef. I split 40 lb cases of each with a friend, but still, I hadn't anticipated spending so much on meat. Also, several Food Lion grocery stores are going out of business in the neighborhood so I stocked up on baby food and items I rarely see on sale (like yeast and cocoa powder) at a 25-50% discount. Also, we did our Bountiful Basket almost every week- I think this is the best value for fresh fruits & veggies I could get, and I need those on hand if I'm going to lose weight.
So anyway, I'm calling January a success because we still significantly reduced our spending in these areas, and despite some unexpected car repair costs, we did not have to pull money from our savings. And the items I spent money on were carefully considered and I knew they would reduce our spending over several months... so I put the long term benefit ahead of the short term goal. That is actually progress for me. :)
As for not buying anything new- I did it! And I had some fun experiments in January! I made homemade yogurt in the crockpot! I baked bread. I froze veggies. I packed 95% of Rob's lunches (we did miss a few.) We packed picnics instead of eating out. We had date nights at home after the kids went to bed (DVD, board game, ice cream.) We read more books from the library and used more library services (storytime, birdfeeder making activity.) We visited the temple in Columbia, SC. I didn't feel like we "missed out" on having fun in any way. I bought myself a "new" outfit at Goodwill, just to test the waters, and I was really pleased. I couldn't believe how many designer label items were there- some with tags still on. So I got a pair of brown cords (Coldwater Creek,) a white dress shirt, and awesome red shoes for $15. I was worried when we were invited to a little kid's birthday party that I'd have to make an exception, but then I decided we'd give a gift card to one of those bouncy places instead. Fun experience gift + I did not buy any plastic junk made in China that will end up in a landfill = happy me.
And finally, my goal to speak my mind more freely. I'm working on it. To do something proactive in this area, I made a profile on Mormon.org and posted it to Facebook. I'm not in the habit of openly sharing my beliefs... in fact, talking about anything close to my heart inevitably leads to waterworks. So I'm taking babysteps and starting out by sharing more in writing.
Now on to February! I'm not sure... I want to continue along these same lines, but with Valentine's Day and my birthday, we do have some plans this month. Also, I realized a few things that I'd like to purchase that will save us money in the long run (hair clippers for one.) So... I'm going to continue with my weight loss goal. And I think set a $400 budget for groceries, eating out, etc. $100/wk! Yay!! That should be an easy goal to meet after this past month. :) Any suggestions?