Do you ever jump into something without thinking it through because it sounds like a fun thing to try? I do, not so much as I’ve gotten older, but every now and again I still do. Before starting this blog, I could have tossed the idea out when I decided I learned enough or it wasn’t the right timing. Instead, I put it out there for everyone to see and now have to be honest enough to explain I haven’t quite lived up to the challenge.
So what am I talking about?
The January Money Diet. With one week left to the month, I realize I don’t shop enough to make this challenge a month long experiment. That’s partly why I thought this would be an easy thing to do, it would start the year off right with some extra savings, but being thrifty is something I do regularly so I didn’t have those extra expenses such as the coffee habit at Starbucks, or passing by shopping centers while running errands.
Now there are people, like Frugal Trenches, who is also very frugal throughout the year but is able to give you a detailed post on her life without money for a month drawing you in and leaving you wanting more. Her month inspires me, but my life has not lent itself to a daily post on money, money just isn’t a big enough issue in my day-to-day life.
I have learned a few things, for one, I miss chocolate, haven’t had any since before Christmas. Remember when I said at the beginning that I jump into things without thinking them through? I had made arrangements to have my bathroom updated after Christmas, had to put that on hold and my daughter-in-law who will be helping me with the areas I can’t do myself (like painting the ceiling) is laughing at me over this.
Here’s the break down of where I have spent money, and yes I have spent money:
- $21. on groceries the end of December (but used for beginning of this month)
- $87 additional on groceries mid month, I did well on groceries, only buying what I needed for meals, with the exception of a container of hot chocolate.
- $6 on beads (with shipping) for the jewelry box, the remaining beads went to my eldest grand daughter for crafts
- $12 (with shipping) for a birthday present
- $21 on a piece of art (which includes shipping) that will be incorporated into the finished vanity area. When I purchased this, I did so now knowing it would take a while to arrive, and I informed the seller that I would have to own up to this as she reads my blog. Jen at Winter Owls is an amazing artist, you can see her blog here and her Etsy store here.
That’s it for my spending. So yes I have plenty of savings this month, which feels good. On the other hand, when I do spend money on something it’s needed (at least in my mind) so the items I would have purchased this month, and didn’t, include the following:
- Paint for the bathroom
- Paint for the vanity waiting to be restored
- Fabric and new legs for the loveseat which is currently propped on books on one corner. I have chosen the fabric which I found at $3.95 a yard, hoping it’s still available in a week.
- wood putty to fill the holes on the last jewelry box. I will need to purchase wood putty at some point for the projects I work on.
- Fabric for a chair I am refinishing for myself to keep.
There are things that never crossed my mind to spend money on:
- Eating out/Take out
- Clothes or shoes
- Purses or any other accessories
- beauty products
- New refrigerator I already knew I wanted to consider just having a freezer, but never thought the fridge would break first.
There are things I did think about buying:
- Craft Supplies
- And the above mentioned paint, fabric and so on
The reason for this is I don’t like shopping, I don’t enjoy the experience of shopping and I am in a place in my life where I enjoy life, I have so much to be happy for that I don’t feel the pull to medicate with a trip to the mall (been there didn’t work for me).
The question I am left with is whether or not this challenge was worth it to me. There is very little that I had to restrain myself from on a daily basis, and most of those purchases I have simply put off until the next month. If you had asked me before this where I spend the majority of my disposable income I would have told you on food. Yet obviously you can see that it’s really my hobbies restoring found items where I tend to spend the most.
Come February first, I will be purchasing paint, fabric and furniture legs, so yes all I did was delay the purchases meaning February’s disposable income will be a little short.
So here’s how I feel about the money diet:
- It’s great to stop and think before swiping the card or clicking the purchase button, but do you need an entire month to think over whether or not to purchase something?
- If you have the cash now, but wait till next month to purchase the item(s), aren’t you just delaying the outlay of money into the next time period? For example the paint I need, I know I need it, I know I need to buy it, all I did was put off a job I could have completed sooner.
- Most of all, the Money Diet is wonderful to help you get a handle on your spending if you are new to living with a budget or are trying to save for something in particular. If you rarely shop, well this might not make much difference in your daily life.
So are there other ways of saving money
Are you saving for something special, to increase your financial independence or to fund a trip? Here’s an idea I spotted and thought I’d share with you. Now I’m not sure where the money bank came from, but I have a large empty oatmeal container I could cut an opening on the top (no buying a bank just to save money). This looks easy now, but towards the end of the year it may be a little hard for everyone to stick with. If I did the math correctly by the end of the year you would have a total of $1,378 saved.
Have you ever challenged yourself to a no spend period of time? What was the longest you went without pulling out the green or plastic?
What ways have you found to make saving easier for you to stick to?