Resolution Activity: Cheat Jar

Pardon yet another Oprah reference, but I too have regained a significant amount of weight (~20 lbs) in the second half of 2008 that I need to re-lose, hopefully by my sister’s wedding in September. I had developed several really good habits that I consider the cornerstones of my success, and I need to get back into them – and in a way that helps with one of my weaknesses: I feel like if I don’t do everything right that day, there’s no point doing anything right. So, as a spin-off of Shtinkykat’s swear jar plan, I’ve come up with this:

Cheat-for-Charity: $1 Each, Every Day

  • Eat 3 servings of fruit
  • Eat 4 servings of vegetables
  • Walk no less than 4 miles a day (or equivalent workout)
  • Keep calories in the 1700 range

For each of these things that I fail to do, I have to cough up $1 a day. Screwing up could cost me as much as $120 a month – OUCH. Funds will be used to buy supplies for the homeless teen shelter I support.

Since I’ve been keeping a note of these things on another website for over three years, I tracked back to Jan 1 and found that I “owe” the jar $28 (out of a possible $36). Yowza, that’s an expensive 9 days! Tonight I will be dropping off (as per their wish list):  2 gallons of milk, 9lbs chicken legs, 4 boxes of cereal, 2 tubs of quaker oats, garlic powder, Oreos, Garnier Fructis shampoo, unwanted candycanes. This will involve a 2.7-mile walk, which will total out my day at 5 miles – phew! That’ll save me a buck.

Oh, speaking of my hefty shop, I checked out a different supermarket about a 20-minute walk from where I live (yay – mileage!). It’s meant to serve the “inner city” and is located 2 blocks from just about the only urban housing project left in Manhattan. 3 x 1lb packs of bacon for $5, woohoo! But my best deal was Quaker products: Cap’n Crunch and Quaker Oatmeal were on sale for $2 each, with a $3-off-5-items coupon in the circular. Plus I had manufacturers’ coupons for all of them, so I snagged 2 big boxes of cereal and 3 cannisters of oatmeal for a grand total of $4.20…add to that the milk and you’ve got 60 x 18-cent breakfasts, which I think is 2 days’ worth. Cool.

Okay now, enough procrastination – off I go for a trudge in the snow rolling a little suitcase behind me.


3 Responses

  1. You are brave to heed forth in the snow to obtain your goal of 4 miles a day. LOL! Well wishes on your cold journey.

    Question to my comment. I called our local food shelter and asked them what tops there priority list of needs. And they thanked me profusely. I went out and bought half of what I intend: shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tuna, instant oatmeal, jello, and apple juice. Actually, I bought a lot on coupons and stuff that was on sale at Walgreens. And it worked out, cuz its what the shelter requested. I still am going to buy canned tomatoes, beans, and boxes of mac n’ cheese (although the latter I don’t care to buy cuz its so bad for a person, but I will).

    Anyway. Admittedly, I did feel a small sense of peace to the deed. I am not quite sure because it is new to me. Kind of awkward. Silly right? Cuz I am doing something good for some families out there right. Did you ever feel this way when you started donating?

    And how when you donate do you know its really going to a good cause? Well, the teen shelter, yes… I see it is. But your donations to the Thai house, and feedvillages, etc… Aren’t you afraid your money is not going where intended?

    And lastly, I am really doing this because I want to give back to the agencies that helped me out when I was a single mom. If it wasn’t for the wonderful Salvation Army Child Care, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They were really there when i needed help the most. So that is the food pantry I am giving to. I do make good money and the charity reciept may come in handy when filing taxes next year. But there is a sense of guilt that comes with me saying ‘yes i would like a receipt.’ I have never asked for one before when donating clothes. Is it wrong to say, ‘yes’ to a receipt for your donations? I feel awkward in doing this too.

    How to get past the awkwardness and feeling guilty… Wierd huh? To feel this way when you are helping someone.

    Sorry for the long post, but I really am looking forward to your wonderful advice.

  2. Great plan and a good cause. I didn’t set any fitness goals, though I should have. I do better with finance and life type goals, I always fail the weight loss ones. You are brave to make that long trek in the cold and snow, you’re an angel.

  3. Money Funk – Not silly to feel awkward…I feel like that every time I drop stuff off. I blame it on the woman in charge, who doesn’t say anything or even look up when I ask where I should unload the stuff. It’s very off-putting, but it’s fun to go back to the cooking area and unpack the food – the kids get all excited, like it’s Christmas. And the volunteer running the kitchen is a much warmer person. I think the discomfort comes from staring a huge wealth gap in the face, and feeling like you could (should?) have done more.

    As for the tax receipt, my accountant doesn’t want me showing charitable contributions…long story. I would take the tax receipt if I knew someone who itemized so that they could claim the deduction, but I don’t. I like the UK system where you can “covenant” your gift and the charity gets the money from your tax deduction, boosting your contribution’s value by about 1/3. But here, charitable giving is part of freaking tax planning! Bizarre. As long as it doesn’t cost the charity anything, I’d take it.

    Miss M – I worked up a sweat in my down jacket and fleece-lined leggings, wheeling 30 lbs of supplies through the “wintry mix”. As for setting fitness goals, it works best for me to aim low and avoid disappointing myself. My usual walking target is 5-7 miles a day!

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