trimming the monetary fat

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!

coffee posterWhen 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?

3 thoughts on “trimming the monetary fat

  1. I suffer from over buying the same sorts of things, particularly when it’s on sale. Internet food shopping is a great option as you don’t get tempted by things you don’t need as much. Unless it’s on sale of course!

  2. I’ve tried no spend months, and failed miserably. It’s like I force myself to shop when I tell myself I can’t. I have all the deals emails go to another email account, and that helped. That way the deal is there if I know I’m going to be shopping somewhere, but I don’t see it so the temptation is gone. I had to do that with groupon, I was buying massages like they were going out of style. I still have a starbucks living social deal I’ve never used… With just two of us, I’ve had to start breaking down the grocery shopping trips to more often, sometimes 2x a week for meat and produce, because like you, I was throwing away. I have a food saver I got as a wedding gift, and that thing is amazing. I use it all the time (when I remember of course) for meat. Sometimes my biggest waste is defrosting meat, forgetting, eating something else and then it’s gone bad by the time I remember it’s there.

    • Oh my gosh – I do the EXACT SAME THING! I hate it when I defrost the meat and then forget about it – ugh! I thought about getting one of those food savers but at this point, I can’t fit another appliance in my apt! I will say, my goal this week is to JUST eat what’s in my freezer. Hopefully, this will be a good baby step!

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