Yesterday I read a cool blog post (and then later more on the same subject) by Small Notebook. Naturally, I found it on pinterest first. The pin was, “31 days, 3 people, $250 No Spend Month”. I clicked on the website and read through it all. It was great.
One of my goals for 2012-2013 was to start spending less on things and more on experiences. I did pretty well. There absolutely were times when I would falter and suddenly go on these spending binges. It was weird, like I couldn’t stop myself. Then I would pull myself together and either take some things back or put the trip behind me and went back to spending more wisely.
This year, I made the same goal and wanted to stay more mindful of my spending. Eh, I’ve done okay but there is a lot of room for improvement. My going out for coffee habit was getting a bit ridiculous before I started making my own ice coffee. I’m still not sure how or why I went off the budget wagon for McDonald’s coffee but I think I convinced myself it was so cheap so it was okay. A slippery slope my friends! Oh and not to mention, I was all over the egg McMuffin minus the Canadian bacon. Well, thankfully, I completely OD-ed on these and have had two since May. Get this – I did some lazy math (meaning I did everything in my head and sort of rounded the numbers) and I am barely paying $.50 a coffee a day, maybe less!
When I read the above article, I started wondering what could I live on for a month? Ideally, it would/should be less than $250 considering it’s just me (well, and Simon – little dude has expensive tastes!). But I have never quite figured out how to do this. I don’t eat out actual meals that often, it’s really the coffee habit. So what am I spending money on?
Still not sure – seriously. I do think I spend way more on groceries than I actually end up eating. You know that stupid Ziplock commercial where they say people throw out an average amount of $ on food waste each year? Yep, I am one of those people. I don’t mean to – I eat leftovers, honest! But I do a lousy job of eating everything I have purchased. Produce goes bad as does meat or I am not able to eat all of what I bought. Not to mention, sometimes I am just too lazy to make meals out of what I have purchased and end up eating egg sandwiches or cereal.
Ugh – I need to cut down my food budget. Not to mention, when I go to the store, I end up buying little things that add up that are not food related. Last week when I was de-hoarding I found 4 bottles of hand soap I had stocked up on who knows when. Two weeks before that I purchased two other bottles of hand soap because they were on sale at Target even though I didn’t need those either (I didn’t remember the other 4). Oh and I am a complete sucker for a new kind of product. I also like to buy supplies for some kind of crafty project (that I may or may not end up using) and smelly goods. Great scott, I don’t need to buy another candle!
I have made some progress though. I stopped opening e-mails from GAP, Old Navy, Michael’s or whoever else sends me “coupons”. By deleting these right away I am not as tempted. This tactic has been wildly helpful. And like the article says, not looking at these helps to make these less desirable. But I am considering the above tactic – a no spend month. Like the author describes this doesn’t count bills or medical costs. What it does include are gas, groceries and any other incidentals – i.e. race entries! I’m considering this project for August. I’ll be getting back from visiting my family and work will kick back up again. Hmmm… I am going to seriously consider this!
What about you? Ever gone on a spending hiatus? How did it go?