Monday, March 28, 2011

Karaoke for Hunger Review!

Saturday night I got together with some friends asking them to make a contribution to the food shelf, Neighbors, Inc., that I work at for Minnesota Food Share Month. We went to the VFW for karaoke night in Uptown and it was a great time! I did say I was going to get pictures, but hmmm...yeah. I really need to get better at taking pictures. Also, I realized that in a bar I need a camera phone with a flash...which I don't have. A recap of the night: my girlfriends and I got up and sang "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel while our friend James cheered us on. Then James and I were going to do our rendition of "Mustang Sally." James was going to be the lead and I was super pumped because I was going to be the backup singer. However, it was an epic fail as I think the old dude controlling the tickets lost our ticket! Booo! I told James that we would rain check Mustang Sally for another time. I really wish I had gotten a video now! I vow to get better at pictures! However, I did get this one blurry shot of the VFW as my friend Kenna was driving away. She didn't have time to wait for my slow camera on my phone.  ENJOY! ;)
And there it is! VFW entrance as Kenna flew away! ;)'
While at the VFW, I used the last of my $25 budget, purchasing a $3.75 Vodka Collins. James later took pity on me treating me to a Crispin Cider! Thanks JAMES! I owe him one!! PS. If you are into art, check out my friend James' blog here.

I made my 3rd bath of Greek yogurt this weekend and the 3rd time was the CHARM! I was super excited to end up with some very thick, creamy and non-sour Greek yogurt! I added blueberries and honey to it today and it was DELICIOUS! I think I've determined where my flaw was in my prior batch. I don't think the pilot light in my oven kept it warm enough to incubate. My oven has a setting below the 200 degree mark that says, "Warm." This time I utilized that setting and it turned out perfect! This is the recipe that I utilize.
After draining out whey.
Mixing to make nice and creamy!
Leftover whey.
Contraption I designed in my kitchen to drain whey. I know...but I had to so it would work! :)
After making the Greek yogurt and inspired by my success, I went on to try and make homemade ricotta cheese with the whey. That was NOT so successful. What I ended up with was a teaspoon of curds that I wasn't even sure were ricotta or not! I will try again in my next batch of yogurt. :) I'd love to be able to make something out of that rather than throw it down the drain! I know you can use it for protein in many other things like bread, shakes, etc. but I'd really like to make ricotta. I will continue trying!
Heating whey to 200 degrees.
What was leftover: ricotta or not ricotta? That is the question.

Enjoying my hard work!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

More. Snooze.

Here I am again! I seem to be taking some breaks in my blogging, but I am working on being productive so you all will have to bear with me. I appreciate it! One of the reasons that I am feeling as though I do not have the time to blog as frequently during the week is that I am needing to reevaluate some of my habits recently so that I can become a better me! I frequently blog at night after I've achieved many things for the day and often stay up very late blogging. This leads to a tired Alyssa come the following day and I don't feel that I am able to be as present as I would like to be during my work day. As such, I've made a new goal for myself to try and be in bed at 11:30 pm every weeknight so that I can be 1) on time to work 2) present during the work day and 3) much more healthy! This means I will not be able to blog every night of the week. I hope you can all understand. :)

During this past week however, I have achieved some great things!

I met with a consultant with Women Venture again and we reviewed my business plan. I also was able to get some more concrete answers about financing. I have been working hard this week in nailing down some costs so I can proceed forward with my business. Pretty psyched about that!

As I indicated in my goals, I would like to learn some more hobbies so that I can put them to use and they can continue driving me towards my goals. This week, I signed up for 3 classes. Two of these classes are through Minneapolis Community Education and one is through a studio I found called Rush Creek. I will be taking a gardening in a pot and a canning class through community ed. I hope to grow some of my own vegetables during the summer and to can these for use in the winter! I signed of for a ring making class through The Studio at Rush Creek. I recently had an idea about making rings. I am very excited about this as well! I will be taking pictures and blogging about these classes!

I made a new dish this week! Red beans and rice! Of course, as I was making it I was singing, "Baby got back!"  "Red beans and rice didn't miss her!" It was pretty good. Helped empty some more cupboard space. I actually used this recipe, but I didn't use the bacon fat or any of that. I modified it quite a bit according to what I had at home.

Tonight is karaoke for hunger night! I am very excited and I will take pics! :)

Anyone care to share some new endeavors they are working on? Any new classes? New things you are learning?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It was a very long weekend this weekend with lots of running about with friends and family. My sister came into town for a visit so I went home for a night and spent time with her. It was great fun!
Trying out a mohawk hat for size at MGM.

Before going home, I met with my friends, Kenna and Heather, for a lunch. It was my second time out this month.  We went to Midtown Global Market for some lunch and to browse around. There was one sit-down restaurant in MGM but when I saw the prices, I knew I could not afford it with my $25.00 limit for this month. I kindly asked my friends if we could go to one of the stands nearby and they happily obliged. I ended up with a coffee and a $5.00 pancake and bacon plate. Pretty good! All in all, the meal was $7.94. Not too shabby.

That brings my anti-Sarah Palin donation campaign total up to: $20.43!

I still have the karaoke outing for the food shelf to go to, so perhaps I can find ONE drink for $4.00 then, my month is complete!

My major achievement this week however, doesn't have to do with the anti-donation campaign, although it is somewhat tied in. While at home, I took the opportunity to do my last training with my sister-in-law, Amy, at the Hastings YMCA. Check her out for training sessions! If you are in Minneapolis, check out my friend Mary at the Blaisdell YMCA! They get results people! :)

Amy and I regularly take body measurements throughout the course of my training. We measure inches as well as body fat percent. We measured first and I had lost in some areas. I didn't think I had changed that significantly. After, we took my body fat percent. I was amazed! I dropped 3% body fat. Now at my lowest ever recorded body fat percent! I could believe it! This is the lowest I've been since before I started my OLD job, the job I hated! Before 2008! I don't know what to attribute this change to except that now I am eating at home, am less stressed and much happier with life. I don't think that I'm doing anything that different that I hadn't done in the past except for eating out less and cooking more at home. It appears to be paying off!

I still enjoy pizza, but I make it at home from scratch. I still divulge in snacks as I used to, but try and make them healthy snacks. However, I don't eat much boxed foods anymore (on a very rare occasion, some mac and cheese) but mainly, I've been cooking it all from scratch. It appears that getting away from going out and boxed foods has made a significant difference. I assume I have eliminated many of the preservatives and additives in my food this way. So, I'm sticking with this now! Not only for my pockets but for my waistline!
Too good to pass up!
What was your big achievement this weekend? What small changes have you made in your life that have yielded big results?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reveling in small victories!

Today I was admiring some small accomplishments I have made this week. Yes, I get excited about the smallest thing, but to me, they are huge victories on my path to accomplishing my goals.

I finished an entire bag of navel oranges today. Yes, that is one of my victories: finishing a bag of oranges! Here's the thing; I'm notoriously picky with my fruit. There is something about food and texture that tend to clash for me, causing a sort of "wasteful" effect. I like my fruit firm. Almost all of it. Plums, nectarines, oranges, strawberries, grapes, apples...the list goes on. Texture can make or break a food for me. That being said, I've never been able to finish a bag of oranges on my own. I would buy it but then would throw many of them out because I would think they were too mushy for me. I pushed on this time and realized my perceived mushiness on the outside, wasn't really mushy at all on the inside. Today, I finished the very last orange! Very exciting for me!
Sunkist oranges: no match for me!
Also, I've actually been getting down on cleaning out my freezer! I've eaten a lot of the stuff in there already. It looks semi-full still, but believe actually was much more full. I've eliminated stocks, beans, lots of chicken. I've also finally gotten many of my beans and diced tomatoes down too! I guess I didn't really need to go to the store all that often anyways! ;) I'm still working on cleaning it out, but this has been a bit of a small victory for me this week. As for my fridge? It's pretty empty except for a few things I bought today. Yep, that's why I need to go and visit ALDI.
Freezer: Frozen soup, stock, chicken chili, 3 bags cheese, chicken and some veggies. 

Fridge: Not much but some strawberries, leftover frosting,  milk, apple juice and string cheese (told you I'm an addict).

Cupboard: This was FULL of dice tomatoes, beans and tomato sauces before. I'm doing a good job of cleaning it out! ;) 
Lower shelves: Grains: Lots of pasta, beans and rice to go. Won't need to buy that for a while!

I've also discovered ALDI has ruined me for all other stores. I went to go there tonight and forgot it closes early. Instead, I went to Rainbow. When I got there though, the prices seemed ridiculous to me! I couldn't justify paying that much when I knew there was another store down the road that offered the same things at much lower prices! I got only what I REALLY needed and decided I will make a trip to ALDI after work tomorrow.

What small victories have you been celebrating this week?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Singing for Hunger!

As promised, a post about giving back.

If you live in Minnesota, you might know that the month of March is Minnesota Food Share month. If you read my blog often enough, you also might know that I work at a food shelf...and I love it! March is a month when food shelves are notoriously low on their supply of food and funds. Therefore it is focused on as a month to restock the food shelves. For every pound and dollar that each food shelf sees, they will receive funds by outside organizations according to how much they receive. If you want to donate to a food shelf in MN, March is the month to do it!

While I am of minimal financial means right now and can't make as large of a contribution as I would like, I also know that I have fantastic friends who are very generous and compassionate people. I decided I needed to create some type of get together or event with my friends where I can ask for a small contribution for the food shelf, thereby hopefully allowing me to make an even larger contribution to the food shelf!

Thus, I decided: I needed to make an event for friends and friends of friends to get together so that we can collect these contributions! I was trying to brainstorm possible ideas. I mulled over a fun run/walk, a biking event, a potluck or any activity I could think of for people to get together. Problem is not everyone likes to bike, run, walk and I don't have a large enough space for a potluck. I decided to call on the genius of my friends! I spoke with my friend, Kenna, that smart cookie! She keeps me on the straight and narrow when it comes to organization. If I didn't have her, my head might fall off and I wouldn't be able to find it! I told Kenna I needed some motivation and help with brainstorming. She helped me think of the perfect idea! A karaoke singing night with friends! It will be at our local VFW and I just invited heaps of friends in the hopes that they can make it and asked that everyone who come please bring a donation of $5.00.

I have some fear in failure, that the event might not work out as greatly as I planned. I'm realizing I do fear some failure with these things, but I also remind myself that I need to get over that. You cannot achieve anything great without some failure! And when you fail, you need to push on! I reminded myself, that even if only 5 people are able to attend, with 5 donations, that's $25 and that is AWESOME!
I think what IS important is the desire to promote change, and what is MORE important is an action to do so.

(Funny side note: After writing that, I went to Neighbors' Facebook page. This is the quote that was posted recently. Talk about positive reinforcement!)

"One person can make a 


and everyone 
                      should try."

- John F. Kennedy

In keeping with my giving back theme, I wanted to give you all the opportunity to do the same. The food shelf I work at is called Neighbors, Inc. We do a lot more than just hand out food...there are so many great services provided to our clients. Please do check out Neighbors, Inc. on Facebook. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, we also are always looking for more volunteers. Our volunteers are so awesome and do so much for us! We could not do it with out them! For anyone with the desire to contribute to Neighbors, Inc. for Minnesota Food Share month, please send donations payable to:

Neighbors, Inc.

You may send donations to:

Neighbors, Inc.
218 13th Ave. S.
South St. Paul, MN 55075

What are the positive contributions that you have made lately? What action/step can YOU take to TRY and make a difference?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sickly but blessed.

WHOA! Ok faithful readers, yes... I know! I haven't blogged in a while. Well, to sum it up, my "feeling a bit under the weather" manifested into a full blown cold/flu and I was in bed all week long. My, myself, my pink long johns and I! I know, I know, it's the perfect time to be blogging then, isn't it Alyssa? I thought about that but the sheer misery of not being able to breathe and simultaneously using a full roll of TP everyday just didn't inspire me. BUT! I'm back and happy to be here! ;) Thankful to have my health - for the most part - again! ;)
My bed, pink long johns, and my half-used roll of TP! :)
So, what have I been doing besides lying in bed? I did accomplish a few things! I have been at a standstill on my business plan due to one minor detail: MONEY! Okay, not such a minor detail. I have scheduled an appointment with a financial advisor to get working on that though, so I'm pumped! ;)

Sonya and I
The other night, by coincidence, I ran into my long time friend who I was very close with when I lived in Australia, Sonya, on Facebook. I love Sonya dearly. She is an amazing and beautiful woman, inside and out. Sonya and I had an instantaneous connection when we met. She was one of those people for me, where you meet and feel like you have known each other for years!  I feel that she can read me like a book. I think she gets me and I get her (at least I am pretty sure I do!). We haven't spoken for ages. Being that we have a 15 or 17 hour time zone difference between us doesn't make it the most convenient for talking. I know we think of each other frequently and even though we don't have the opportunity to talk much, when we do, it is awesome and I treasure it. We spoke briefly on Facebook the other night. Sonya asked me about my business plan. I discussed with her that I was at a point where I can't continue further and that I'm waiting to have these meetings. Sonya expressed how proud she was of me for making all the drastic changes I've made in my life to risk starting this business. That really meant a lot to me. Even though I've been working on this for a while and I know I have the support and encouragement of my lived ones, it's really great to HEAR it sometimes. It was great to have someone ask me about where I am at. Also, it inspires me to keep pushing forward to my goal, knowing that people are cheering me on and rooting for me. Beyond that, it makes me accountable for accomplishing my goals and I need that.
Sonya and I, isn't she a doll?!
Sonya shared with me some other goals that she is currently working on and a new transition in her life. I'm so proud of her for continually challenging herself and continuing to grow. These are the people I seek to have in my life. Sonya and everyone else I'm so blessed to have in my life, thanks for being a part of it!

In other news, my mother and father, bless them, took pity on me in my sickly state and dad helped me get some stuff in my apartment done. It's slowly coming together! They later took me to an early dinner and I really enjoyed having the company after such an isolating week. My big sis and I also had a lovely chat last night and I really enjoyed catching up with her. She and her hubby are on an exciting new adventure starting the foster-to-adopt process. I'm so happy for them and I just can't WAIT till I have a new niece or nephew OR nieces and nephews to spoil and smother with love!

All in all...this post is to say one thing: I'm BLESSED!
Do you have people that hold you accountable in your life and cheer you on to accomplish your goals? Who are they? What have they done lately to cheer you on?

So what's up for tomorrow?! Giving back! I'm getting a plan in action! ;)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Love you, just as you are!

I am a bit under the weather today so this will be a shorter post. 

I was made aware, several times today via Facebook, that it is International Women's Day. 
Happy Day Women! ;)

After work today, I went and got my hair done. It's been about 2 months and my red is going blond again. I'm trying to space out my visits though. As much as I LOVE my hairdresser, Tina, to save some money, I can't go quite as often as I probably should. I've thought about doing my own dyeing, but am just scared it will turn out the color pink. So, I'd rather stretch out my visits and make sure I get a quality cut and dye each time. Tina does do EXCELLENT work and I love having her cut my hair. (Bonus: she's super nice and fun to talk to!) You can find her at the Spalon Montage in Woodbury, I highly recommend her!

After Tina put the dye in my hair, I was thumbing through a magazine. I came across an article about women and how absolutely hard we are on ourselves. The magazine states that I believe it was something like 93% of women have up to 13 negative thoughts about themselves every day with regards to body image! That's horrible! One of my many thoughts with my goals was doing the goal with clothing. This was an attempt to and goal to feel good about myself and find the clothes for MY body. Clothes that make my body look its best, rather than focusing on what I need to change about myself to feel better. I DO feel better getting gussied up in these nice fitting clothes and outfits. In turn, those positive feelings transfer to other positive feelings about myself and I feel I actually do accomplish more. This was a goal to remind me, to feel good about me. A goal to focus on one positive piece, getting an outfit that I feel good in each day, to start the day out right. Wouldn't it be nice if we all said more positive things and did positive things for ourselves everyday and the positivity would than radiate? 

What things do you have that are negative, that you can turn into a positive? I am a pear-shaped woman. For the longest time, since I was little, I always wished I had straight hips. I wanted to be able to wear the clothes so many straight-hipped women could! I wanted to wear low cut jeans, but couldn't fit my butt in them! Of course there are times that I don't like my curvy hips but now, every time I feel this, I remind myself of this: I was blessed with curvy hips and a very feminine body structure. Sure, I may not be able to pull some looks off that rectangular shaped girls can, but I can put the va in va-va-voom. That makes me beautiful and womanly. 

I say, on this day and always, women: radiate and focus on your positives. Put together an outfit that makes you feel good about you, paint your toenails, get your hair done, put on make up if you don't normally put it on, do positive affirmations, exercise to feel sweaty, alive, healthy and appreciate all your awesome body can do for you and its sheer awesomeness, do what brings positive feelings and makes those continue to flourish. 

On International Women's Day, let's turn our negatives into positives!

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"
-Dr. Seuss

Monday, March 07, 2011


This weekend, I attended a birthday party for my good friend, Mary. The party was at Punch Neapolitan Pizza, a place I'd never been to before. As I have my anti-donation/budgeting campaign going on, as any good budgeter would do, I checked the menu online first. The prices were reasonable.  I thought that I would be able to swing it if I just didn't have a drink. I got the margherita pizza and it was delicious! It was $6.74 with tax. Not too bad for a huge pizza. It was quite tasty! I opted for water at Punch fearing the worst for the bar that was to come. 
Punch.  Note: decently sized pizzas! :)
We later headed over to one of my favorite places to dance, The Front. They play a really fun variety of music and it's a laid back atmosphere that isn't like going out to the "club". I love it! I requested some Dee Lite and danced the night away! I did splurge on a single drink at the bar. It was $5.75 including the $1.00 tip I left (I may be on a budget but wouldn't skip out on tipping!). I was quickly realizing that this $25.00 budget is going to be REALLY difficult. I've already spent $12.49! Half of my budget! I was also invited to another birthday party next weekend...I don't know how I am going to manage. I am quickly beginning to worry that I may have to donate to Ms. Palin. I REALLY don't want to do that so I'm going to have to figure something out! If there were no parties, I feel like I could easily stick to this budget, but as I have been invited out, I'm struggling. Are there tricks that I don't know? Is $25 way too unrealistic?
The gals and I at The Front.
I wanted to get Mary a present for her birthday, but as funds are tight, I realized that wasn't an option. I opted for making her something. I made her a lovely dozen of cupcakes from scratch! I had most of the ingredients already at my house and swung by ALDI for a few extras. I did buy the frosting though, as I didn't have time to make my own. The recipe I used can be found here. It is the very first one listed.

'Happy Day Mary!'
In other exciting budgeting news, I used my tax return to pay off some credit card debt I hope to soon eliminate, bought renter's insurance as well as car insurance. By switching to a different company and combining both of these, I will be saving $120 per year. I also no longer have to purchase AAA as the car insurance company that I switched already had towing and rental car reimbursement as part of their plans! Another approximately $100 saved! I was very happy about that!
Me and the "Bou" mug!

I used one of my 2 "coffee out" days today! It was heavenly. Caribou Coffee has a sale on medium mochas for $3 between 3pm and 6pm. Furthermore, I purchased a travel mug a while back which saves me $.50 per coffee! Nice! I got a really cheap mocha today and I used the gift card I got from my brother and sister-in-law to buy it! If I keep that up, I can make that card last! ;) I do love a Caribou Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha though...YUM! So glad they exist! Thanks Caribou!

What is your "going out" budget? What do you do when you're invited to lots of events? Any tricks that you have found to stay within your budget?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

I am an addict...ALDI is my drug!

I had my very first visit to ALDI yesterday. It was AMAZING! I have to say that I was very impressed with the selection there. Despite the fact they only have 1,400 of the "fastest moving items", I sure didn't notice it.

Some purchases that astounded me:

Another store


Garlic powder 2.87 oz. $1.74 (on sale)
5.5oz $.99
String cheese 12 ct. $3.99
12 ct. $2.49
Milk 1 gal. $2.99
1 gal. $2.39
Tomato paste 6 oz. $.75
6 oz. $.39
Veggie chips 7 oz. $3.79
7.5 oz. $1.69
Strawberries 16 oz. $3.99 (on sale)
16 oz. $1.69
Pasta sauce 24 oz. $2.39 (on sale)
24 oz. $1.79
Macaroni & Chz 1 box $.79
1 box 0.29

The grand totals for these items? Another store: $20.43        ALDI: $11.72

That's a difference of $8.71 or approximately 43% savings! That is more than when I was couponing and this time, no coupons were involved! I'd say that's a pretty good deal!

I don't think I've seen Mac & Cheese that cheap since I was a kid! And the spices?! Don't even get me started on the spices! Do you know how much those teeny little jars of spices cost at other grocery stores?! ALDI is my new place!

I walked around and realized that some items, (of course), if I found a coupon for them, I could get them a bit cheaper. The only problem is I don't ALWAYS have a coupon at the same time I have the NEED. I only have so much cupboard space to store them till I do have the need. I will continue clipping some coupons for certain items that I do not desire to bend on; i.e. some personal care items and some meats. If I ultimately see a great coupon purchase, I will utilize it. However, I plan to continue doing the majority of my shopping at ALDI. I am now a convert. :)

With regards to food this week, I've been cleaning out my freezer. With the purchase of a butternut squash and some chicken I cooked, I uncovered some frozen pasta sauces in my freezer that I could stand to use. I made a delicious butternut squash soup last night and had it for lunch today and will tomorrow. I also froze a bunch. I made a new chicken stock tonight and will be making another soup with that tomorrow but will be freezing most of that soup for future meals. ;) I realized a new mission to deplete my freezer and some cupboards is an undertaking that I need to work on. Why buy more when I have a ton here already?! This is what I will be working on over the next week.

Have you ever shopped at ALDI or another discount supermarket like it? How did you like it? What are your impressions? Do you continue to shop there?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Old habits die hard...

Yes, it is once again that time of the month that I dread: divulging my spending habits to the world.

Unfortunately, this month I did not make a chart to divulge everything. I simply did not keep all of the receipts. For next month, I have cleared out a folder in my filing drawer just for receipts which I can review and confirm with my bank statements as well as then identify my purchases for all of you lovely people. :)

This month's total? $205.22


I really fell of the bandwagon this month! I spent $72.28 of that on going out to restaurants and roughly $130 on groceries. Of course, there were other things that I did not track as I did not keep the receipts. I know I spent some extra on dining out with cash that wasn't included.

My struggles lie in maintaining a social life and eating out. Most certainly there were times that it was not a social event and it was my own fault. Namely, one day I ordered take out food at the Chinese restaurant next door from work as I forgot my lunch.

My friend, Jason, and I went out to brunch one day. I owed him some money anyways (he borrowed me one night so I could once again, spend unwisely on food at a basketball game he got free tickets to and so generously invited me! Thanks Jas!) so I bought his brunch. I cannot deny that I did enjoy this dining out for brunch. The restaurant, Hazel's, was one that I hadn't been to ever and they had an AMAZING "Hippie Cake" - a pancake that had granola in it. Once again I'm torn between how to maintain social contact and live on a budget. Hazel's was very reasonably priced and had I not splurged on all of the other outings during the month, I would not be feeling so guilty about this very pleasant outing.

Another problem that I have encountered is that, with the new dodgeball team, I pay $4 a week to play. After each game, we all go out to a small Mexican restaurant down the street, El Paraiso, and I usually have only one beer which during happy hour is only $2.00. It's really great to me to be able to go out and make new friends. Lately however, I've been questioning, should I give up my newly acquired happy hour habit? I do believe there is one other person who goes and usually does not get beer. Can I go and just enjoy the company, some water and the free chips rather than buying a beer each time? I have plenty of beer I can drink at home, for much cheaper! It is not so much about beer for me. I could go without the beer. It is the sheer socialization involved in going out. Maybe tomorrow, I will try and leave my happy hour habit behind and only enjoy the company.

I've devised a new experiment with shopping as well. What I am currently doing, clearly isn't working. So, I not have... "The ALDI Experiment". I've decided to begin shopping primarily at ALDI. It is a store that has some very interesting concepts with regards to grocery markets and how they eliminate costs for consumers. I would like to try to use this all month. Of course, I may spend some extra money on meat items that I would like to buy organic and local, however other than that, I would like to see what I can do with the ALDI Experiment. I've heard that you can have some amazing savings with this store. I hope to see that next month! I went to shop there today as I needed some items. Unfortunately, they were closed when I got there. I had to go to another grocery store but I tried to pick as little as necessary to make it through to tomorrow so that I can shop at ALDI. I'm looking forward to this new experiment in budgeting!

Contemplating my spending habits this month, I wondered how I can ensure that I change this for the next month. I've been continuing to listen to "The New Frugality" by Chris Farrell. In part of the book, he discusses using motivational tools to ensure that you fulfill your goals. One of these is by committing to a goal by way of saying that if you don't accomplish the goal, you will have to do something you dread. I began thinking of organizations that I knew I would hate to donate to. I asked for some help from my friends and this is what I came up with: My Anti-Donation Campaign. Yes people, I cannot think of anything worse (though I'm sure there may be).

I am setting my spending goal for going out to restaurants for $25.00 for this month. This does not include coffee. Remember, I have allowed myself 2 coffees out per month and thanks to my lovely big brother and sis-in-law, I have a gift card to Caribou Coffee that should last me about 2 months! I also have a travel mug I purchased from there now so it will give me 50 cents off per drink too! :)

If I spend more than $25.00 on dining out this month, I will be forced to donate to Sarah Palin's Political Action Committee. I will make a donation of $25 should I not fulfill my goal! Wish me luck! That should be enough incentive, wouldn't you think?

Do you have any "Anti-Donation Campaigns" or bets that you make with friends in order to fulfill your goals? What are they?