I haven’t done one in a while, and I will admit that I often fail miserably when I try. I usually do great for a week or ten days and then….poof. I’ve been trying to follow a strict budget this year, but not having the success I’d like. I’d love to start significantly adding to our savings every month, and being able to leave that $$ there, rather than dipping into it way too often. We’re getting three paychecks this month, so it feels like a good time to start.
I already feel a little bad because I had to pay for a few leftover May bills today but I’m not going to let that discourage me!
So, how DO you do a low-spend month and not feel it? And what does low-spend (or no-spend) really mean? The beauty of it is that you can make your own rules. Some people are so strict they don’t buy groceries or even gasoline. Others simply cut out non-essentials. I do a bit of a hybrid. Since I tend to keep my pantry, fridge and freezer stocked well, a low-spend month is a great way to use up and flush out everything so things don’t end up expiring unused. Yes, the stockpiles will be gone but this doesn’t mean they have to be replaced immediately. Personally, my pantry is so full it stresses me out, so using it up will be a blessing.
For me, this all means that I won’t spend our regular income on the following:
~ clothing, shoes, make-up, non-essential toiletries, etc.
~ eating out, trips/vacations, movies, amusement parks, etc.
~ books, games, DVDs, etc.
~ collectibles, pet grooming (I can clip and bathe the dogs myself…not well, but good enough), toys, car washes/detailing (another something I can do myself for free)
~ haircuts (I usually cut the family’s hair, and I can even trim my own if needed) or coloring (again, we’ll DIY it, but only if we already have the supplies)
~ any grocery shopping except for perishables that are essentials like milk and eggs, limited amounts of fresh produce at the discount farm stand
~ I will bake my own bread, tortillas and other baked items from things I have on hand
This doesn’t mean we can’t do anything fun, but rather that we will pay for it with side-hustle money. (Which I don’t have a lot of, but some, depending on how the market is for the things I sell.) We’re doing a $100 date-night budget and I’m doing a $100 personal budget each for hubby and I.
Walmart for $105. This was kind of a bummer since clothes are NOT fair game according to my rules, but hubby decided today was a great day to buy new khakis, so $40 of this was two pair of pants for him. He buys maybe 2-3 articles of clothing a year and definitely needed new pants, so we made the exception. Ugh, already breaking the rules, that’s us! 😉 We also purchased 5 gallons of milk, a 1/2 gallon of half and half, a quart of coffee creamer, 4 huge bottles of generic Listerine (two would have sufficed but we kinda absent-mindedly grabbed two 2-packs), a large box of Eggos, five cans of Peace Tea (treat!) and a large box of mini corn dogs. I have a waffle iron so the waffles are a splurge, but they’re my go-to quick snack for those nights I have terrible reflux and need something to settle my stomach. Can we count them as medicine? 😉
Ebay for $40. I paid for items I purchased a few days ago and forgot to pay for. I got a piece of clothing for one of my collectible dolls and the rest was a few photo backdrops, coming out of my $100 personal allowance (way to go spending almost half on day 1! LOL) I’m starting work on my CPP from PPA (a photography certificate) and I’ve been putting off buying the things I need to pass the photo submission. I also need a backdrop stand, a couple more backdrops, a new light or two and a new calibrator for my monitor. I’ll get the light stand this month but I will most likely spread the remaining purchases out over July and August since they aren’t really necessities and I want to spend as little as possible this month!!
Registration Renewal for $174. Ugh, another May bill I overlooked…it expired May 28. I did my best to be frugal by canceling the $25 personalized plate.
Vitalchek for $60 ~ 18yo lost his birth certificate and I ordered a new one several days ago, however, the charge came through today. He is supposed to reimburse me. We’ll see.
McDonald’s for $1.09. One large Coke, paid for with change from the console. We normally would have thrown on fries and/or ice cream cones, but hey…we’re trying to have a low-spend month! 😉