The Husband declared this “the best sandwich ever”:


He is so easy to please – it’s just a grilled cheese with an apple! 🙂


I had a shot of wheatgrass, the other 1/4 of the apple, and a chocolate orange slice on the side:  🙂




Other snacks of the afternoon included more chocolate orange slices, chips, and cereal.  Not very balanced – need more veggies!




Responsible Spending Challenge Update


WOW! I am so floored by how many of you identified with my recent spending problems!  So many of you are in the same boat.  :(  But, TONS of the comments offer really great tips that I’m going to integrate all month!


I want to clarify that the Husband and I aren’t broke-broke.  :)   Once I got the book deal, I quit my job to write.  It takes a while to get the advance, so we’ve been living off savings.  We expect to be liquid again in a few weeks, so don’t worry – our anniversary trip to England is not in jeopardy (plus, that’s actually paid off).


However, this has been a blessing in disguise because it showed the Husband and I that we need to get our spending in control regardless of our cash flow issues.  We want a house, a baby, and maybe another dog!  I don’t need Starbucks more than I want those big-ticket items.


It’s a simple equation:


Today, I decided to search my apartment for things I could sell.  I listed three textbooks for sale on, and one sold within 3 hours for $60!  Booyah!  I also posted some household items on 


Next, I tackled my messy closet.


Before and After (don’t judge me! I’m a very neat person, except when it comes to my closet….):

IMG_3100 IMG_3103

I found about 10 name-brand shirts and pants in really good condition that I’m going to sell to the consignment shop later this week!




My wallet feels fuller than before.  🙂



  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 30, 2009, 8:56 pm

    You closet looks like mine! I’m very neat, except for my closet. And my car.

  • Anne November 30, 2009, 9:02 pm

    Congrats on de-cluttering your life and trying to work on finances. Last year, I couldn’t figure out why I had no savings and was making way more than I had the previous year. I stared out with and to track my expenses. I realized that I could put away almost $500 per week if I concentrated on it. So track my money now with an excel sheet (it makes a pretty pie chart) and put away savings when I can. Of course traveling for weddings takes away some money . . .

  • Rose November 30, 2009, 9:21 pm

    Good call on selling some goods! I should do the same.

    Oh – and no judgement on the closet. You should see the tornado in mine right now.

  • legalstyle November 30, 2009, 9:24 pm

    such a good idea! i’m totally going to sell my law school books at the end of this semester. although i’d love to keep them to put on my shelf for posterity, this chica’s gotta live! and seriously, will i ever open one? no.

    great advice caitlin! i’ll look forward to you posts in the upcoming months.

  • ashleigh November 30, 2009, 9:24 pm

    I like that you looked around for things to sell! i need to do that so badly. i buy things and then get sick of them so easily. i have so many throw pillows that don’t match anything in my apt and comforters because i change my mind about how they look. i need to decorate my apt and stick with it! i’m happy to hear the england trip is still on, you will have a blast!

  • katey November 30, 2009, 9:26 pm

    I work at a consignment shop… most places take alot of stuff.. think earrings, shoes, purses.. esp. brand name items!!! maybe you have a few lying around 😉

  • Karla November 30, 2009, 9:27 pm

    Selling things is such a good idea! I’m going to dig through my stuff when I go to my mom’s house for winter break!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 30, 2009, 9:27 pm

    ooooh that grilled cheese looks yummy!
    Congrats on the ‘clean up’ 🙂 I really need to knickle down and do that at home too!!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite November 30, 2009, 9:28 pm

    I’m exactly the same way… neat freak and super organize everywhere but my closet… and maybe the bathroom…

  • Lee November 30, 2009, 9:28 pm

    I’ve sold a bunch of clothes at Plato’s Closet. Do you have one of those near you?

  • lauren @ Eater not a runner November 30, 2009, 9:33 pm

    Wow good work on the organizing….my closet could use some work….

  • Erin November 30, 2009, 9:34 pm

    Little changes can definitely add up to big results. It’s amazing how much STUFF we all have — it’s been fun clearing things out slowly. 🙂

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) November 30, 2009, 9:34 pm

    I know your super busy (and short on time!), but participating in a focus group is an easy way to make cash. I signed up with a market research company online and am occasionally contacted to participate in groups – the pay is usually $150/200 for 2 hours. Sweet!

  • Teacherwoman November 30, 2009, 9:37 pm

    Great idea on selling things! I might have to look into that myself!

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) November 30, 2009, 9:42 pm

    great idea with! I need to try that out myself.

    I want a baby like crazy. Whenever I want to buy myself things I remind myself that I want to have a kid one day. Then again I recently rationalized a DSLR purchase with “think of all the money we’ll save on baby pictures!” oy.

  • Matt November 30, 2009, 9:42 pm

    I have sold some stuff on eBay and made some good money. Good luck with selling everything!

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) November 30, 2009, 9:43 pm

    Geez, you waste no time! Way to go!

  • Marisa (Trim The Fat) November 30, 2009, 9:45 pm

    Great job, Caitlin! Very resourceful!

  • Lizzy November 30, 2009, 9:48 pm

    i have a few textbooks that i should sell too! Great idea!!!!!! Today i even put up a facebook status that i should sell things on Ebay. i think no matter your money situation theres always money to be made, and selling stuff on ebay is such a great idea!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) November 30, 2009, 9:49 pm

    Dang that book sold fast! I need to post some of my textbooks too. That’s the cutest baby photo 🙂 That face totally wins over Starbucks.

  • Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) November 30, 2009, 9:49 pm

    Very resourceful my friend.

  • Amanda November 30, 2009, 9:55 pm

    Good idea with the consignment – I have had luck doing that too! A few other great sites – … you can put up books, dvds, and cds that you don’t want anymore and swap them for ones that you do want! Also will buy your old electronics (cell phones, ipods, cameras, calculators, etc)

  • Brittney November 30, 2009, 9:55 pm

    That’s awesome that you found stuff that you can sell. I really should think about trying to make some money off of my old textbooks.

  • Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now November 30, 2009, 9:58 pm

    Don’t worry, my closet is always a disaster!

  • Marissa November 30, 2009, 10:09 pm

    That’s awesome you were able to sell those textbooks!

  • Jenna November 30, 2009, 10:42 pm

    love apples in my sandwiches, they are a great addition!
    glad you are finding other ways to make some quick money!

  • Jolene ( November 30, 2009, 10:44 pm

    Those big ticket items are definitely better than Starbucks!! Especially the baby 🙂 I cannot wait to read your blog once there is a baby in the mix!!!!! (someday?)

    • Caitlin December 1, 2009, 8:10 am


  • Julie @savvyeats November 30, 2009, 10:44 pm

    Baby + dog + house > greater than lots of things. Especially starbucks. Thanks for putting it in perspective!

  • MarathonVal November 30, 2009, 10:47 pm

    I’m curious what your thoughts on regarding spending money on the healthy food that we food bloggers consider essential, but are much more expensive than foods found in the typical American diet – I’m talking wheatgrass shots, etc. I think it’s important to spend money on organic, healthy food, but it’s not good for my budget and I often have a hard time convincing my husband that it’s worthwhile!

    • Caitlin December 1, 2009, 8:10 am

      luckily, that is one area the husband and i agree it is essentially to spend money on – good food (i.e. organic). just because its cheaper upfront to buy conventional doesnt mean its not super expensive in the long run (morally, ethically, physically and environmentally). however, like all ways of shopping, you can spend a lot of money buying organic or you can shop smart. we haven’t been shopping smart. 🙁

  • Mica November 30, 2009, 10:47 pm

    Hey, a chocolate orange is like a fruit, right? At least it’s fruit-shaped…

    Hm, right now, I’d pick Starbucks over babies, but then again, I’m a terrible person.

  • Kasey (Fit For Wellness) November 30, 2009, 10:49 pm

    Wow… that sandwich sounds amazing!
    I actually love going through my closet and then selling the things I no longer want at Buffalo Exchange.

  • Amanda November 30, 2009, 11:06 pm

    Do you think you could maybe do a post on great gift ideas for the holidays? I don’t know what to get people, and I also don’t really know what I want myself!

    Also, grilled cheese with anything is super satisfying! I especially love it with pears!

  • healthy ashley November 30, 2009, 11:06 pm

    I don’t know, Starbucks is pretty good… 😉

    Good for you for cleaning up the details of your life… from your finances to your closet I’m sure you’ll feel a bit lighter!

  • Good Taste. Healthy Me November 30, 2009, 11:22 pm

    Awesome!. I really need to clear out some stuff as well. My boyfriend and I are purchasing a home so we’ve been realllly cutting back too. It’s amazing how much money we can save when we put our minds to it. Here’s to more money in our pockets! 🙂

  • alli November 30, 2009, 11:37 pm

    that’s great! you don’t mess around! selling things online is a great idea! i’ve got a few things on craigslist that i need to re-post. thanks for the motivation 🙂

  • Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) November 30, 2009, 11:38 pm

    Great job looking for stuff to sell- you will feel cleansed by the time you’re done. Love the way you hang your visors!

  • Deirdre November 30, 2009, 11:45 pm

    Wow that is quite a title! Oh and my whole room/apt is basically clean but my closet is HORRIBLE.

  • Cady November 30, 2009, 11:58 pm

    Yes! Getting off to a strong start like this is the best way to keep yourself motivated.
    I love that you two are prioritizing NOW, ahead of time. You really have no idea how those gradual changes add up until you actually see the results.
    The $700 posted before seemed a bit excessive for two people. Maybe cut back on the healthy pre-packaged foods (chips, cereal, etc. Those add up SO FAST!) and focus even MORE on whole foods, which are usually cheaper.
    For a long time, I fed me and the boyfriend (pretty dang healthfully, if I must say) on about $50 a week! It is possible to eat very healthy foods and still save money.

    • Caitlin December 1, 2009, 8:12 am

      i agree – good tips. too much convenience food, even if its healthy food, is bad for the wallet!!

  • Cindy December 1, 2009, 12:09 am

    What kind of brand names are you taking to the consignment shop? I could perhaps do the same, myself.

  • Heather @ For The Health Of It! December 1, 2009, 12:24 am

    Good for you girl!

    Now remember, next year, that anniversary trip(or any traveling) can be expensed as a business venture too. heehee.
    Have fun!

  • SweetiePotato December 1, 2009, 12:53 am

    Oh, I love the grilled cheese & apple combo! I’ve never thought of that — I always do just grilled cheese w/ tomato & spinach. I’ll have to give it a try!

  • Jaclyn December 1, 2009, 1:37 am

    Caitlin–why not post the name brand clothes on your blog, maybe an auction? It would save you a trip in town and I bet it would generate you a lot more cash then the 15 percent the cosignment shop would give you!!

    Plus, we want to support you 😉
    <3 Jaclyn

    • Caitlin December 1, 2009, 8:13 am

      aww you are sweet! 🙂 i dont think they are worth that much – we’re not talking about coach bags or anything, just ann taylor shirts. ya know?

      i was thinking about a bake sale.. LOL

  • Jaclyn December 1, 2009, 1:38 am

    Caitlin–why not post the name brand clothes on your blog, maybe an auction? It would save you a trip in town and I bet it would generate you a lot more cash then the 15 percent the cosignment shop would give you!!

    Plus, we want to support you
    <3 Jaclyn

  • Jaclyn December 1, 2009, 1:38 am

    Caitlin–why not post the name brand clothes on your blog, maybe an auction? It would save you a trip in town and I bet it would generate you a lot more cash then the 15 percent the cosignment shop would give you!!

    Plus, we want to support you 😉
    <3 Jaclyn

  • christie, honoring health December 1, 2009, 6:31 am

    Thanks so much for the mint tip yesterday. It took me a little time to convince the husband to use it, he is sketchy at security issues, but once he was on board and we loaded all of our info on there, it was a huge eye opener. I had no idea how much I was spending. I joked on the comments yesterday that I have an organic food and yoga habit that is costly but I really had no idea how much. Now, I know and will start being way more cautious.

  • MegaNerd December 1, 2009, 6:56 am

    Starbucks > Baby in my opinion.

    I have some stuff I want to sell too, let me know if you want to go together.

  • kilax December 1, 2009, 6:57 am

    My husband just listed some stuff on ebay yesterday and already has bidders. Yay! Our unwanted junk (well, not junk but you know) is someone else’s treasure.

  • Erin December 1, 2009, 7:29 am

    I’m really excited to follow along on the Spending Challenge. I just spent 120 bucks on clothes last night, and while they are all things I can wear for a long time, I felt that spending guilt afterwards. Especially with it being near Christmas and I could be buying things for other people!! I totally agree with the liquid assets/clearing out the bank account to do fun vacations, etc. And I LOVE I just actually have to use it 🙂

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg December 1, 2009, 7:41 am

    Good work on that extra money! It’s amazing what you can make just by selling stuff that’s lying around– we made a buttload of money selling stuff on craigslist before we moved this summer– and it was all just stuff we would have taken to Goodwill!

    It’s funny– I feel like I never see you drink Starbucks on here?!? Is it just not pictured, or am I just not paying attention?

    • Caitlin December 1, 2009, 8:14 am

      its usually on the weekends, so you might miss it. but its definitely pictured (those freaking lattes are like desserts!!) LOL

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) December 1, 2009, 7:49 am

    Starbucks or a baby LOL. Hmmm I don’t know, Caitlin, have you tried their holiday flavors?! hehee
    Nice job on finding things to sell. That’s something I need to work on, too.

  • Anne P December 1, 2009, 8:07 am

    Great idea – I always sell stuff online and in consignment shops, too. You feel productive, your house is less cluttered, AND you have extra cash! 🙂 Win/win.

  • Caroline December 1, 2009, 8:20 am

    I totally hear you on the Responsible Spending Challenge. My husband and I realized that we may run out of money by next summer and need to be super careful until then. I have a account but haven’t used it in ages, lets see how much we can decrease in what categories!

  • Kelly December 1, 2009, 8:28 am

    A baby, house and dog are so much better than starbucks! I love your equation. 🙂

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat December 1, 2009, 8:32 am

    Sounds like this wake up call came at a good time! My husband and I want a house and kids too so I’m glad we decided to wait because I can’t imagine being in the financial situation we’re in now with those kind of responsibilities to boot. Good luck with the challenge, can’t wait to see how you do!

  • Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn December 1, 2009, 8:37 am

    Baby?! 🙂
    pretty awesome.

  • RhodeyGirl December 1, 2009, 8:47 am



  • RhodeyGirl December 1, 2009, 8:49 am

    I mean, you know, one day, not yet 😉

  • Laura December 1, 2009, 8:57 am

    Your challenge is what I am doing at the moment, going back to uni for a second time, its awful how ones spending can just get away from you! I come from a family of savers and I don’t know where I get my money-burning-a-hole-in-my-pocket gene! Caitlin- don’t forget to keep some money to buy things for your trip to the U.K.- its soooooo cold here now, where I am there is still a frost and black ice and its almost 2pm- so don’t miss out on getting those warm boots and coat (and warm things to run in!). I totally identified with one of your earlier posts about whether to get a woolen coat or not- I haven’t got one now, but I’m so cold and can’t find warm synthetic ones. Did you think anymore?

    • Caitlin December 1, 2009, 9:00 am

      i dont need to buy a coat (i already have a wool one, oops). but i know there are tons of vegan-clothing websites! maybe you can find one that ships to the UK?

  • Ashley December 1, 2009, 9:01 am

    Thank you for the photo of your cards in ice. love it! I love this post b/c it really hits home to so many people. =)

  • Becca December 1, 2009, 9:04 am

    Yay for cleaning your closet! I bet that feels great!

  • Kim December 1, 2009, 10:59 am

    Have you considered sending your clothes to goodwill? Even though it is a “donation” you get credit on your tax return, and I have found that I actually get more money from claiming donations of clothing items than from selling them to consignment shops! Then you can feel good about donating as well as get some $ for those name brand clothes! Just a thought…
    Kim 🙂

  • Jordan @ Salt Sweat Sugar December 1, 2009, 12:12 pm is amazing!

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama December 1, 2009, 12:46 pm

    I love selling my unused items!

  • Christine December 1, 2009, 1:06 pm

    Cleaning out closets is definitely a good idea. Might have to do that soon.

  • Allison K December 1, 2009, 5:04 pm

    My husband and I aren’t currently ready for a baby, but my Sister-in-law is currently pregnant, and it’s been eye opening for me how much a baby costs!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) December 1, 2009, 6:39 pm

    That’s the question I asked myself and Hunni because we are going to adopt and need to save for the fees.

  • Elizabeth (The Dallas Celiac) December 1, 2009, 11:22 pm

    Starbucks is more important to me than babies, actually (we’re not having kids). So, I vote Starbucks!

  • Lara (Thinspired) December 3, 2009, 2:31 pm

    I’ve been wondering why I haven’t been getting your posts and just realized it is because I had your old site on my laptop RSS feed! Shows how much I use my laptop! Glad I have your updates again 🙂

    I think you have a great attitude (well, with everything, but especially with this) about savings and money. I rarely go to Starbucks, get my nails done, or other “extra” things like that because it’s just not worth it in the Big Picture!

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