Sunday, July 3, 2011

No Spend Month – Final Update

So…we survived No Spend Month. To be honest, I sort of feel like calling it “No Spend Month” sounds a lot more hardcore than it really was. Because we definitely spent money on stuff that we didn’t need. But I think calling it, “Paying Attention to What You Spend and Trying Not to Waste Money Month” is not as catchy.

It was definitely a learning experience and I do think that some of our bad habits were broken (or at least weakened).

  • We learned that it works really well to plan meals in two-week intervals and go to the store after we get paid for groceries for the week.
  • We learned that knowing what you have in your pocket to spend for the two weeks makes you plan a lot better and prioritize how you want to spend your money.
  • I learned that making coffee at home can be just as good as going to Starbucks everyday. I also learned that being a people pleaser makes you not want to go back and face the Baristas at Starbucks who you used to see everyday for the fear that you will have to explain why you haven’t been by in two weeks.
  • Brian learned that he can say no to going out to lunch every day and he will survive.
Two Ironic Things
  • I was going running and I just HAD to get a new shirt b/c I didn't have time to go home and get one. I stopped at T.J. Maxx on the way to run and bought one. As soon as I took the tags off, I realized I had actually packed an extra shirt and just forgot about it.
  • Brian and I spent a whole day talking about budgeting and not spending too much money on frivolous things and then I found out that Harry Potter 7.2 tickets were on sale and I freaked out.

During this last pay period we tried a new tactic where we divided up the money left over after paying our fixed bills and groceries so we each got an equal amount of “fun money” that we could use for whatever we wanted. This has also worked well for us b/c it means that Brian can go have a $50 taco night and I won’t freak out about it b/c it is “his” money and if that means he can’t buy anything else for the rest of the pay period, it does not affect me and vice versa.

One other encouraging thing that I realized that doesn’t really have much to do with No Spend Month is that when we got married we had seven different payments for debts that we owed. In a year and a half we have gone from seven payments to two and we have reduced our total debt by one third. It is really encouraging to look at how far we have come, even though we have a ways to go.

In July our focus is going to be to try to start eating better and fresher. One thing we found is that in going shopping at Walmart every two weeks, we have been eating a lot of packaged quick foods and we both feel gross and sluggish. So the goal for July is to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diets and we are going to start shopping at the farmer’s market or at a real grocery store like Harris Teeter for our groceries. So if you have any good suggestions for eating fresh, keeping fruits and veggies from going bad, or good recipes, please send them my way!


Elaine said...

wow jenn! y'all have come a long way in such a short time! way to cut down from 7 to 2 debts! i always love to hear what you're doing and learning in your life because i think you're very wise. thanks for sharing your no spend month with the blog world!

JClem23 said...

Way to go - I've loved reading about how you guys have done this and am inspired. My suggestion would be that Harris Teeter is great for their weekly specials and VIC buys and ridiculously overpriced for everything else. So try Wegmans (if you believe it, they actually have good prices) or Bloom instead unless something you normally buy at HT is on sale that week. :-)

Amanda B. said...

I agree with Elaine--congrats on such great improvements over one month's time! You have definitely inspired me to pay more attention to the little things I spend money on. I know that it all adds up; I have just never been motivated to take a good hard look at it! Sam and I both have "fun money" accounts as well. This has worked very well for us throughout our first year of marriage and has probably saved us from a few arguments. :) As for meals, I recommend Cooking Light. They have great recipes that incorporate lots of fruits and veggies. Good luck in July!