Saturday, February 9, 2008

One month off: Results

Remember how last month I made this post about us taking one month off from extra spending? As of yesterday, the one month mark was over. I must say that it was a long month, mostly at the beginning. The first week was really hard for me. Really hard. I even got emotional a few times about not being able to go shopping. Yeah, silly. But it was hard! I don't consider ourselves big spenders,we try to penny pinch and we are big savers. So I figured that taking one month off really wouldn't be too bad. I just happened to pick the month when tons of stuff is on clearance. I think I was going through clearance shopping anxiety withdrawals.

I learned a lot about myself this past month. I pushed my self-discipline to a higher level. I didn't completely just give up on our goal, even though it was very difficult. I was able to get TONS done around the house this past month, since I wasn't out shopping or running errands all the time. I was able to remember that I don't need all that stuff, even though it might be a good deal. I loved not having clutter around. When I was at my sister-in-law's house and saw all her Old Navy bags from their clearance sale, I didn't feel bad that I didn't go, I felt relief. Relief from saving money I didn't need to spend, and relief that I didn't add to my small space storage issues. As the month went on, not spending got easier and easier. It takes 21 days to form a habit, right? Well, we saw that happening.

Now that the month is over I want to still continue. I did go out shopping yesterday to get some things I have been waiting to get (a small bookcase for my daughter's room, valentine fun stuff, new cross trainer shoes for me, a new water bottle) and while I was in the various stores, I didn't feel like I wanted to be there. I really didn't even want to look at things I wasn't buying.

Do you want to know how much we came ahead during this little experiment? Here are a few figures.

Groceries: $286.96
Previous month we spent $514.15 on groceries. That is a 79% savings on food! And we still ate very well. Lots of fruits and veggies. (Remember, I did really well on my menu planning. We did not eat out at all and I am using more of our food storage in meals.)

Auto Fuel: $263.44
Previous month we spent $326.85. We saved 24% on fuel costs by not shopping and spending money. Awesome! Plus, that 24% savings includes two family trips to Eastern Idaho. If those didn't happen the savings would be more!

We were also able to save 50% more than last month!

We saved money in every category that is under our control. I do admit that we were not perfect. While gone to visit family I did spend $9 at a really quaint craft store. And I spent $12 at a thrift store. There were a couple more times, but we can count them on one hand. Chad was very good at this, believe it or not. He had his moments like me, but overall he was very positive.It FEELS SO GOOD to not spend money. Even though it was difficult, it was worth it! All those things I was bummed about not buying a month ago I haven't thought twice about.

Now when I even think about buying something, I make sure that:

1. Do I have space for it? (I seriously gave lots of stuff to D.I. this past month while cleaning.)
2. Do I really need it?
3. What can I do to get by or use instead of buying that item?

We are going to continue to be tight on our spending. Not saying we won't eat out now (we went out to eat and to a movie Thurs night, spent $27 + babysitting) but we have some things we want to save up for and this past month really got us motivated. You should try it!

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