Friday, September 25, 2009

Frugal Friday: No Spend Month Confessions and Wrap-Up

We're coming to the end of our No-Spend Month, our family's challenge to live off of $350 for the month. Our hope for the month was to become more mindful about our spending habits, not to live in a drastic or ascetic way-- we have two little kiddos in the house, so we wanted to keep things healthy and normal.

We bought in bulk at the beginning of the month, meaning our first week was a bit heavy, coming in at $222.93

Our second week we reigned in the spending, coming in at $64.43

And this week we continued our trend of tight spending with..... (drum roll, please!)..... $64.69

Bringing our grand total to: $352.05, just a few bucks over our goal. If I were a perfectionist, I would probably be upset, but I'm quite happy with the whole thing. It was a great month of examining our spending habits, making do without, and living intentionally. I really feel it has impacted our lifestyle for the better, and I feel that we'll continue to live in a much more intentional way. One lesson I learned was that even if I really wanted something in the moment, I rarely regretted not buying it in retrospect. And, for our family, a great way of sticking to a meal budget is finding simple meals that everyone likes (burritos, pizza, stir-fry, roasted chicken) and making them regularly.

But, I do have a slight confession, and I just wouldn't feel right keeping this from you. One impact of No-Spend Month has been that we have become much more industrious-- imagining ways to make do, thinking of ways to bring in more income. And, along those lines, we started cleaning out some of the junk in our basement through selling it on craigslist. We started posting things we never used (Ben's old speakers), and things we never imagined anyone would actually pay for (an old backpack), and surprisingly started selling them, which created a little "slush fund" of extra money. We started setting the money aside for little projects around the house that remain unfinished-- specifically, an unfinished built-in bookcase that I hope to be blogging about (in its completion) on Monday.

Well, we dipped into the money a little early. I wish I could say that we spent it in something amazingly sexy and extravagant, but here's where it went: A box of Ben and jerry's ice cream, and some mouse traps. And some frozen custard on our way to our Mini-Vacation. Apparently our (ahem... my) weakness lies in the ice cream.

It just wouldn't be a good month without a little drama, don't you think?

And, I'm happy to report, that all our savings allowed us to pay down $500 of credit card debt we're still carrying around from finishing our basement this winter. Not bad.

To all the no-spenders out there: how has your month ended up?


satakieli said...

Wonderful, congrats!

We really need to do something like this. Correction: DH needs to do something like this. I don't spend much money at all (except on groceries) but he could get through his whole months paycheck in a week if I let him!

Perhaps we'll try it in the next couple of months sometime. November might be good as we'll be staying in every night to do NaNoWriMo anyway!

Adele said...

Thank you! Yes, I definitely recommend it. And I must ask, what is NaNoWriMo?

KathyH-SyrNY said...

Thanks for your insight to this
creative solution to what the
world thinks we are incapable
of accomplishing. Society bombards
us in print and media about the
'must haves'. You make us see
it's possible to live simply and
with joy!

Adele said...

Thank you, Kathy! It's been such encouragement to hear from other like-minded folks along the journey.

Rachel said...

Good for you Adele! I'm just now getting a chance to catch up and see how your month went. I'm enjoying reading some of your thoughtful posts.

Adele said...

Thanks for dropping by! And for the inspiration for the month. ;-)