I decided that I'm going to try to get through the month of February spending as little money as possible. Of course I'm still going to have to pay utilities and my mortgage, etc. I will have to eat, but will not eat out and can only buy junky food at the store if it's buy one, get one free. I need to establish some more rules:
1. no impulse spending. at all.
2. can't buy gasoline, but I can start the month with a full tank if I want.
3. if I need to buy something like toilet paper, I can buy in bulk if the unit price is cheaper (I'm out to save money, not waste it).
4. no purchase of alcohol. I can drink what I have left at home. From this point on, I can't buy a new bottle until the end of February. I can buy more beer to keep at home as long as it's before Jan 20th. I won't stock up on it though, because that seems like cheating.
5. only buy necessary things for my bikes. I have spare tubes if I get a flat so I shouldn't need that. If I get a blowout or something then it's ok to buy a new tire since it's needed.
6. I can use groupons if they expire before March 15th. This would get around the no eating out rule, but I couldn't spend more than the groupon amount. I can't change my groupon buying behavior in order to have more of them in February than I otherwise would.
7. If I come across a really good deal (better than 50% off), then I can deliberate on a purchase. If it's something I would have had to buy anyway, then it makes sense to get it cheap. If it won't be as cheap in March, then I can pick it up.
Last of all, I will keep track of everything I buy that is not a regular, recurring bill and see how much I spend at the end of the month.