It would defeat the purpose if we spent our time window shopping for things to buy as soon as the month is over. I won’t be checking out store displays, craigslist, eBay, or catalogs. I won’t be visiting blogs that feature more things I could buy. I’ll be making dinner at home. I’ll be finding things to do for free. I’ll be freeing up my time to use for something else.
I definitely use retail therapy whenever I can, especially on the weekends when we get out of the house just to get out of the house and usually end up going somewhere and buying things. Admittedly, I already started making a mental list of things I was going to buy at the end of the month, ironically thinking of it as kind of a reward for making it through the month….which also really defeats the purpose of the entire challenge. I also like the idea of trying to find things to do for free as we live in Colorado and there is an abundance of free things to do and places to see.
Honestly, our grocery budget each month is outrageous and I’ve been trying really hard to get it reigned in, but it seems to no avail. The $250 she suggested makes me kind of laugh as we’re no where near that amount, nor even the $300 she spent on a normal month. I did buy part of a cow from our dairy two months ago and a large purchase of chicken and pork last month, but there’s really no excuse for how high it is other than that we’re just not disciplined. A quick run to the store here and there really nickles and dimes us to death each month.
Aside from the groceries, buying things for the house, “miscellaneous” items, and eating out (even though we only do it once or twice a week) are also out of control. I should add to this that we’re never in the negative each month because we have a good savings buffer, but eating into that really bothers me and I’d like to stop, especially with necessary big-item purchases popping up here and there like E’s car dying and our water heater biting the dust this last weekend and getting things for B’s new room.
At the end of May, we took a look at our blown-up budget again and decided to give it a try this month. I knew I wouldn’t have to buy any meat this month and, really, I don’t need the cutting board I’ve been wanting for a while, so we thought this would be a good month to do it. I printed this budget sheet out and stuck it to the fridge so we could keep track of our progress.
I’ll admit I’m a little nervous about writing about any of this here as I’m wondering if this is just going to be a gigantic failure. But I think accountability can be a good thing and writing about it publicly is about as accountable as it gets! Our plan is not nearly as dramatic as hers as our grocery budget was not even close to how low hers was. We’re limiting ourselves to $500 for groceries, gas, eating out, miscellaneous, etc. Maybe once we get this budget under control, we’ll try a lower amount next year….maybe. 🙂
So far it hasn’t gone well. I think we definitely fall into the trap of having a new budget and getting to spend more money at the beginning of the month! We ate out twice last week. 😐 Our justification was that it was cheap and we had a coupon and E was going out of town and blah blah blah. Then groceries were more than I thought they’d be. Then the water heater blew up (which doesn’t fall into the no-spend budget) and after it was installed, we realized that our carbon monoxide detector is eight years old…so I had to go pick up a new one.
It’s not even the end of the first week yet and we’ve already spent $160….ouch.
So no more eating out! I was going to try and have a cook day for make-ahead meals this weekend, but now I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Will it save us money in the long-run or just put a larger dent in that budget?
I think it’s becoming more and more apparent that we need to do this. 🙂 I’m hoping for a better rest of the month!