I’ve learned some important things about my spending this month. Nothing earth-shattering, but lessons that will be useful moving forward.
Even though you can save some serious cash during a no spend month, saving money for just one month will only do so much. Next week, I’ll talk more about what to do after a no spend month. Using what was learned during the month to tweak spending and money behaviors can impact future savings in big ways.
What would I have spent money on this month that I didn’t?
Groceries – even though I didn’t really need to, I probably would have stocked up on some sales
Coffee – I rarely buy a coffee when I’m out, but I’ve been tempted more than once. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to cut back on coffee consumption and it’s simply “wanting what I can’t have” at work here
Dinner out – I would have went out for dinner twice. We treat going out to eat as entertainment, rather than just a break from cooking. And when we go out, we relax and linger at the table longer, plus the kids aren’t rushing off to do something else and we have their full attention.
Lunch out – this is actually unusual for me to consider, but it crossed my mind one day. I received some stressful news and thought about calling Alan and asking him to join me for lunch. I did call him, but skipped the lunch.
Clearance Christmas items – I would have checked out Target’s clearance section. I will need more wrapping paper next year, but I skipped it. This may actually end up costing me money – but who knows what temptations would have been lurking in the clearance sections!?
You know what I like most about my grocery buying restrictions this month? The time savings! I haven’t spent more than 15 minutes a week shopping for groceries (though I look at the sales before I go).
I’ve declared a new grocery challenge for February. I really want my kids to eat healthier – and I’ve seen some improvements this month, simply because there’s less junk food coming in. So, I announced to my son that we were going to try a new healthy grocery challenge in February. He was not an immediate fan of the idea, but I intend to show him it isn’t painful to eat healthier.
So, February will be an all-organic month (and gluten-free). Though I will probably go over my typical budget of $300, I know we can do it on a reasonable budget. Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Costco and Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market all offer healthier food options at decent prices. I anticipate the biggest challenge to the budget will be milk and eggs – we buy a lot of milk and eggs.
Here’s what we ate for dinner, not including veggies and fruit (lunches were leftovers or ham/cheese sandwiches + fruit/veggie):
- Irish Ground Beef Stew
- Pulled Pork
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Leftovers/Fend for yourself (the kids usually have a sandwich or make themselves pasta)
Food I purchased:
I won’t bore you with the details. One thing I’ve noticed over the course of the month is – we don’t tend to spend a whole lot on entertainment. We’re generally pretty happy to be at home, working on projects, reading, and playing games. We get out of the house to work out, go to Taekwondo, and see family (when the weather is nice, we hike and bike). The kids generally hang out with friends at our house or their friends’ houses.
The one thing I’ve missed most is dinner out. Though we have went out once (on my parents dime), I probably would have went out a couple more times.
Confession time. I spent money this week! We ran out of cat food, so I went to Costco. Costco isn’t located near my house and I don’t like to make more than one trip a month, so I bought all the things I needed from there. It just didn’t make sense to delay it a week – that would have cost me extra time and money (in gas).
Here’s what I bought, not including the cat food:
Extra spent this week:
Paid a fee for a friend – $20
Costco – $58.21
Shampoo (for my son) – $1.06
Eggs (not on exception list) – $0.79
Food – $9.88
Gas – $31.13
Prescription medication – $11.31
Week 4 Total: $132.38