Thursday, January 31, 2013

"No Spend Month" Comes to an End

Today is the last day of my No Spend Month and I must report to you that I did okay. Not great. But okay. I spent less money than usual and I thought carefully about every purchase. I took time to consider whether we needed that item or merely wanted it. I didn't shop the after Christmas sales because I knew I wouldn't buy anything I needed.

No Spend Month Blog BadgeI did buy some new clothes this month, but I needed them for a new job that I started last week. See, I had work clothes, but my daughter decided to be helpful and do laundry...she washed all of my good shirts with some of her jeans...and an open chapstick...and an open lipgloss! After 3 attempts at removing the oil spots, I cut them up for rags. Here's the clincher, though: I did not buy a single item at full price, only spending $101.00 including tax for 9 shirts and 2 pair of pants! Original prices for these items added up to over $500! I won't need clothes for a long time now and , as an added bonus, it feels so good to have clothes that fit. (The clothes that got ruined were purchased when I was 22 pounds heavier, but I was trying to make them last a little longer.)

I did not eat out for lunch this month. I pulled out the lunch bag that's been collecting dust and...get this...I used it! Salads, leftovers, snacks, and even drinks went to work with me and I was able to abstain from the temptation to hit a drive through or order an expensive salad from a local restaurant. 

Speaking of local restaurants....My daughter and I frequent three local restaurants so much that they know us and know what we want to eat. Of course, I know that it's expensive and is only necessitated by laziness. We only went out to eat twice this month and we were smart about our bill, ordering water with lemons and taking advantage of the free salad with any entree at one restaurant (we ate the salad for dinner and the entree the next day for lunch). 

Our grocery bill was about half what we normally spend in a month and we ate healthy foods all month long. How did we do that? I opened the cabinets, threw out the out-of-dates and stales, organized the super healthy foods into one cabinet, the canned/boxed but still good for us foods into another, and the stuff we should only eat occassionally (sugar, flour, pasta, etc.) into another. When  we could really see what we had, we found out that we had so much more than we realized! We bought some local meat and produce, as well as milk and eggs, but otherwise we ate what we had been collecting in those cabinets!

I spent less gas by carpooling with my sister whenever possible, too. This didn't happen much, but those little trips add up and over a year we could both save a good bit of gas by continuing to ride together whenever possible.

Most importantly, I attended a budgeting workshop at church and I made a real working budget!!!!! And I'm learning to live by it! It's posted on the refrigerator so that I can easily look at it and my daughter can see, too. I showed her how to read it and we cross things off when the money we budgeted for that category is gone. 

Did you take the No Spend Month challenge in January? If you did, how did it go? If not, you can still try it for February or any month you choose. Click here for more details and the link to the original post from which I got the idea.  Or click the piggie picture above to see all of the helpful posts on Growing Slower that are intended to help you get through your own No Spend Month.  

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