Monthly Archives: February 2007

NBI Days 23-25

Being sick is great for not spending any money.

Feb. 23, Friday: Had to cover a story at my synagogue for the paper, so we agreed that I wouldn’t come to the office. Only spent $15 for gas, otherwise I was pretty well-behaved.
Was pretty much out of it on Sat., Feb 23, so nothing there.

Feb. 24, Sunday: groceries, $161.91.

I hate buying pet food. Between the dogs (about $13) and the cats ($10, plus $4.50 for litter), that’s almost 20 percent of the total tab. Similarly, I object to paying for toilet paper and other paper goods, garbage bags, foils and plastic wraps, and laundry items.

I also splurged on some herbal team that purports to help supress the appetitite. That was about $9 for 36 servings, so when you break it down, it doesn’t seem that horrible.

Whenever I finish the shopping, I always wonder “where’s the food?” I see fruits and vegetables, sure; bread, milk, juice, eggs; cold cuts; pasta and sauce; cookies and ceral. But for some reason, that seem to count.

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NBI: Days 20-22

Tuesday, Feb. 20:

Since we got out of work so late, and I was feeling under the weather and didn’t feel like making anything when I got home, I broke down and bought a Wendy’s special burger (I won’t go into the lurid anti-nutritional details): $5.11. I suppose I could have waited til I got home, but I was also a bit under the weather, which made me weak and vulnerable. Since I’ve been on Weight Watcher’s, I’ve been pretty good about avoiding fast food outlets, which saves money in itself. WW, by the way, costs $39.95 a month. Necessary? Probably not, if I had more will power, but I imagine this falls into the same realm as therapy. Necessary for some, not for others.

Wednesday, Feb. 21:

Took the day off since my daughter was still on President’s Day/week/month break.
We spent most of the time visiting friend’s whose younger son was having his tonsils removed. I took my daughter and their older son out for lunch ($16.86) and a snack ($4.14), neither of which were “necessary,” but it was a nice thing to do.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wonder how Levine would have fared had she had kids to consider.

Thursday, Feb. 22:

The day isn’t over yet, but I thought I’d mention…

After my WW weigh-in this morning, I learned I gained 3 pounds since my last visit. Since I get a monthly pass, which saves a few bucks, I find I don’t go each week (I wonder if they count on that). I’m still down 13 pounds from when I started, but I’m about 6 pounds heavier than my best weight to date. Still have a ways to go to get down to my target, and with the warm weather setting in, which is moe conducive to exercise, I think its very doable.

Anyway, in an attempt to get back on track, I bought some WW products at the local supermarket (groceries are OK, even though I probably could have done without them): 2 yogurts, one box of muffins, almonds and sparkling water, for a total of $8.41.

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NBI Days 16-19

Friday, Feb. 16: Nothing spent

Saturday, Feb. 17: $1.34 on cat food. Hey, the cats have to eat, too.

.60 library fine. I never feel bad about having to pay these. I figure it goes to a very worthy cause and whatever the fine, it’s still cheaper than buying the book.

$1.50 for a danish. Not a necessity, but once in a while don’t we deserve a little treat?

I actually got a small refund when I exchanged an extension cord for my digital tape recorder for the proper one. And I didn’t have to pay a late fee at the video store, so I saved a couple of bucks there, too.

Sunday, Feb. 18: Had to cover a high school basketball game so even though I spent money on tolls, it will be reimbursed.

In the evening we had dinner with our friends with whom we’ll be going on a cruise in late summer (now that’s certainly not a necessity). We ended up splitting take-out ($20). Unlike Levine, I have not told anyone of my “plan,” so it’s a bit awkward to just blurt it out.

Monday, Feb. 19:

$3.00 on two danish. Yeh, I know. but they’re very good danish.

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NBI Days 12-15

One of the problems with these “journals” is simply keeping up, esp. on a daily basis. So it’s time to play catch-up.

Monday, Feb 12: Nothing spent, although I did go to Barnes and Noble. But I had a gift card, so it didn’t count.

Tuesday, Feb 13: The office closed early today, fearful of the coming winter weather. So instead $20 for a perscription (a necesity), plus $1.50 for a candy heart for my daughter for Valentine’s Day. Oh, and roses for the wife, $21.34 at the A&P. All necessities, I think all the men out there will agree. Would Levine? She devotes a chapter to the practice of gift-giving in which she claims things needn’t be expensive to be appreciated. At the same time, she tells of her boyfriend’s efforts to make paper animals for gifts, which don’t seem to quite make it. In addition to the fact that they’re not very good, they take a lot of time to produce. So what is the actual cost? In a college course of macro-economics, we learned about the economic cost of a thing. If you have a dollar to spend and you buy a candy bar for sixty cents, you don’t have that sixty cents to use to buy something else. It’s something I try to drill into my daughter’s head, with mixed results.

On my way to play tennis that night, I was also going to stop at Amazing Hotdog for a snack. Necessary? Of course not, but I was a little depressed because I had to take the perscription so I thought a treat was in order. Unfortunately — or perhaps not — they were actually out of food. This isn’t the first time it happened, which is surprising and annoying.

Feb 14: Amazingly, nothing spent today. Of course, being snowed in didn’t hurt. My daughter was off from school and my office was closed. Unfortunately, Faith’s was open, although she did come home a bit earlier. The weather prevented us from going out or ordering in, so we made do.

Feb. 15: Nothing spent. I find it’s not to difficult not to spend on a weekday. I almost always bring lunch from home and if I go to they gym (a necessity at $22 a month?) I have no opportunity.

Feb. 16:

Gas, $15. I have to cover something for work on Sunday, plus I don’t like being so low during such cold conditions.

Rachel’s allowance, $10. When I was a kid, I got fifty cents a week. I remember one time I went to the bakey and to buy the newspaper for my mom. I was told to take my allowance out of the change. Instead of buying one baseball magazine for the fifty cents, I bought two, rather than wait until the following week. My mother was quite angry for this “transgression.”

Maybe it’s always been this way, but I don’t think kids really have a grasp of money. In an economics class in college we learned about the economic cost of a thing, which basically says if you spend money on “A,” you don’t have that amount to spend on “B.”

Although my daughter gets her allowance, plus whatever she makes babysitting or petsitting, her tastes are expensive. Maybe it’s the area we live in or increased marketing strategies, peer pressure, etc.

She was quite upset because she lost her digital camera at a neighbor’s Super Bowl party and it hasn’t turned up. I’m upset because it means that whoever found it has not been honest enough to return something that obviously doesn’t belong to them. And we’re not talking about a ball point pen that could easily be mistaken as one’s own. So she is wondering what she’s goign to do without the camera, as if it’s a mandatory piece of equipment for teenage life. Granted she’s a good photography for her age, but if she thinks her parents are just going to replace it, she’s wrong (she originally paid for it from her bat mitzva money).

She put up a fuss, saying that she didn’t know why she should have to pay for such things as cameras, or game consoles when none of her friends do. The response that a) we may not have the money that other families do to spend on such items; b) that we don’t care what goes on in other families; or c) that we disagree with the parents who just buy the kids everything they want, works sometimes but I can see her point.

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NBI- Day 11

Grocery day. And groceries don’t really count, right? Like last week, I was pretty careful not to be impulsive (although I did buy three bagels of crunchy snacks. On the other hand, I didn”t buy cookies). Later in the day I went to the butcher, where I bought:

2 packages chicken breasts
1 3-pack of potatoe knishes
1 london broil
2 packages ground turkey
1 package “mingon steaks”

Totals: $42 and change, for a total grocery bill of $170 (the meat lasts for several weeks, so it can be “amortized.”)

However, I was a bit frivolous: on the way back I bought a sugar-free blueberry turnover ($1.25) and stopped at a fast food place (less than $3). It’s not even so much the money, as the activity, even though I know the food is not the best for me.

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NBI –Day 10

My wife and daughter spent the night at grandma’s house (grandma lives in town, but my daughter thought it would be fun). I brought over bagels for breakfast. I’m sure there’s food around the house, so how far does (or should) “tradition” go in the NBI plan?

Bagels $6

I suppose it’s too much to believe when someone tells you, “it’s all right, don’t get me anything,” for a celebratory occasion. Valentine’s Day, for example. If would come across as the buggest curmudegon if I said that I thought giving flowers was silly becaus ethey die so quickly and cost so much. The price of a decent boquet could feed a family of four, yad, yada, yada. But would it be “practical” not to go the floral route? What do you think?

Valentine’s day gift – $35 (I bought the card last month)

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NBI – Day 9

Feb 9 — Received a review copy of Levine’s book. Yippee! Now I can make notes. I used to be shy about writing in a book, as if they were holy relics. If I wanted to take note of something, I would use a post-it, but my philosophy has changed.

What better way than to write directly where you need to? It might even be fun, if someone else ever reads that particular copy, to see your comments.

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