Thursday, January 24, 2013

crash and burn.

the title of this blog is is reference to our no spend month. gosh, we were doing so great. we had all the food we needed and gas in the cars. it started with something so simple. keith was invited to a "happy hour" with his co-workers. they don't do them often. so he felt obligated and wanted to go. there goes $17. and a few days later... pizza sounded sooooo yummy. and unfortunately we did not have the supplies to make our own. naturally, that just made us want it more. there goes another $15. then our friend phil was in town, so of course, we had to go out for drinks. there goes $28.
it really is difficult to be social on a minimal budget. yet, we've managed to do it. i mean, we have exceeded our $250 budget, for sure, but we are more aware of our spending choices. so if we do this again, which i think we should, i think the rules need to be changed just a bit.

the biggest thing is including gas in this experiment. we either need to know exactly how much money we spend a month on gas so that we can include a more accurate allotment for gas. or we need to take gas out of the no spend month budget. whereas gas is somewhat of a variable cost in that it changes slightly each month, it is also a cost that we must incur each month. unfortunately neither my nor keith's job's are within walking or biking distance to our home. so driving is our only option. so, next time i think we leave gas out of the no spend month.

by having $250 and not including gas. we can still be conservative with our grocery expenses, still have room to do other things and pick up any miscellaneous items. we only spent $140 on groceries this month. we did not pick up any miscellaneous items like shampoo, toothpaste or foods we are dying to eat. if we did this again, by only spending $140 on groceries, we'd have room to get random items and go out with friends.

it was a good month for us to try this experiment as we had many extra expenses: doctor visits, vet visits, tax bills, etc. so, unfortunately we did not get to save as much money as we would have liked, but do not feel as financially strapped as we would have otherwise.

if we learned nothing else from this, it made us both very aware of what money is going out. even when we went out with friends, we didn't eat as much food or have that extra drink because it costs more money. for example, i went with flo to watch the hockey game on tuesday. i had a $20 bill. i did not want to go over $20, including tip. so, i thought about that when i ordered my meal and my drinks. i think setting a price limit, for whatever you are doing, is helpful to saving a few dollars. whether it is at the grocery store or out to dinner. think about it, if you just go into the grocery store and buy what is on your list and whatever else you want: the delicious looking bottle of wine, a frozen pizza you didn't need and that bag of chips. that is easily an extra $15-20 out the window. for what? for nothing. that extra $20 spent every week adds up. now imagine if you were saving that money?

so being aware of where our money is going and sticking to our budgets and price limits are the biggest things we'll take away from this. it will be helpful for us in the future as we begin to save for our future and the long-term. it's not to say that we now can't do things we like to do. it's just that we feel more aware of where our money is going. so we can now make better choices of where we choose to spend our money.

maybe next time we'll try this during a month that isn't 5 weeks long ;) we should have chosen february. teehee.


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