Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No Spend September

Helloooooooo to my Sweatpants fans!!!  I'm so glad to be back at it after taking some of the summer off.  Life was BUSY with Peanutty and Sweet Pickle home, but man was it great!!!  A summer full of movies, picnics, trips to various zoo's, lunches and dinner out, museums, BOTH kids had birthdays complete with parties, play dates, and spending a LOT of money.  I don't regret a single penny spent, but now that summer is officially over, it's time to get my poo together (I'd much rather use the choice swear word, but I'll refrain) and save instead of spend.  I can't attribute all the household spending on just the kids, I too had a summer full of "girls days" and dinners out with friends and even a couple dates with my sweet hubby...which we all know can really add up.  Again, I wouldn't trade any of the fun and memories to save that extra buck, because let's face it - we all need to get out every once in a while.  All in all, it was an amazing summer...that went by WAY too fast. 

Now that I've established how much fun the summer was...it's time to get back on track to save a little extra moolah.  Months ago I blogged about our budgeting.  I know it was a confusing series, but I hope you all gained a little out of it.  I recently explained it to my SIL and she understood it and was considering putting it into place at her house.  It's so much easier to explain than to type it all out.  Well, the budget was great for all the "necessities" but didn't help with all the summer spending - all of the fun stuff came out of savings, which is what we have set in place...but sometimes, it's just the shock of looking at that balance and realizing "for all that is holy, we need to bulk that up!".

I've read on numerous blogs about having a 'No-Spend' month.  You are in complete control of the rules and regulations of this challenge.  Ours are clear and simple:  No spending money on ANYTHING that isn't a necessity.  Yes, we are going to pay all of our bills, and do our budget every week, but we will also be doing a lot of other things to save money.  For example (brace yourselves, it's bullet time...we all know I can't get a grip on those tricky bastards):
  • Eating out of the pantry.  I'm not talking busting out a bag of chocolate chips and munching on them for supper.  I'm saying, take inventory of what you have in the cupboards, freezer, fridge, pantry and make meals out of it.  Sure, we will still go to the store, but if you're like us, you have a box or 7 of rice or pasta that should be eaten.  The time is now to eat up some of the food you already have in your possession.  Eating out of the pantry will mean less money spent at the store, and more money you'll be saving.  Yes, you will have to replenish some of the items you eat, but maybe the items you've made aren't one's you'll buy again since they've been in your pantry for two years. 
  • No going out to eat.  At. All.  This means no girls nights out, but it doesn't mean not seeing/spending time with friends or family.  Instead, have a girls night in where everyone brings something to eat (potluck girls nights can be fun too), and you can either have a gab fest, play games (board games are a lost art - don't you think?), or paint your house...hehehe - this is something I'm contemplating inviting all my sweet, dear, loving friends to do with me.  Be prepared ladies!  No grabbing lunch while out running errands just because it's easier.  Train yourself to either run errands after breakfast and get home before lunch.  Or pack snacks/lunch to eat on the go.  Hubs and I take our lunches about 99% of the time for work.  Leftovers are a great thing to have and when we don't have that, we have meat, cheese and crackers to grab.  We almost always have stuff to make salads.  I personally LOVE to have turkey pepperoni on my salads.  It's delish!!!
  • Every time me and Sweet Pickle go to Target - I treat her to a cake pop.  That won't be happening in September.  While we only go to Target about twice a month, it's not that huge of a deal, but Hubs and I are also wanting to teach the kids the value of saving and not "needing" or getting everything they want.  Again, this will only be about a $4 savings, but hey, it's 4 bucks!!!
  •  No getting a soda, candy, pizza, etc. from the gas station.  Seems silly but adds up if you do it too frequently.
  • No taking money out of the ATM.  It's fast.  It's easy.  It's convenient.  Not this month it isn't.  It's amazing how you can get cash out and next thing you know it's gone but you have no idea where it went.
  • No spending money on hobbies.  This is my personal problem.  I want to sew, so I go get fabric.  I want to organize something, I get baskets/totes/containers.  This won't happen.  Yes, I still have my budget file accordion for my little projects around the house, and I just recently used it (on a later post).  But, sometimes that little $2 roll of washi tape at Target makes its way into the groceries.  Not this month!!!
  • Entertainment
  •  Furniture/home decor 
  • Staying home.  Seems simple right?  I'm so fortunate to get to stay home part time and work part time.  On the days I have off, it seems like we're going somewhere.  Living in a small town, going "somewhere" takes about 20 minutes of driving.  So, instead of running a little errand here and there on my days off, I'm going to run all of them in one day OR run them while I'm already in town for work.  There's fuel money I'm saving right there, not to mention the temptation of going to a store that I don't need to only because I'm right by it.  
  • Alcohol/other vices (coffee - Starbucks?)  Hubs gave up soda a couple months ago, cold turkey.  The man loved his Mt. Dew.  But, he decided to cut it out of his daily diet.  I've never been a huge soda drinker, but will drink a can about once a week.  However, we all know my HUGEST problem is the wine...and by wine, I mean Tazo iced chai.   I will NOT, gulp, be purchasing any more chai for the month of September.  Sure, I could stock up on it, but I think that would be counterproductive.  
I've already mentioned my September challenge to a few of my friends so they're aware that if we're going to get together, it'll be either without me, or a home date!  My husband is on board with my challenge, but he's not really the problem - it's more me and the kids.  Yeah, let's just blame the kids.  Wink, wink.  I'm getting Peanutty involved as well.  There is a certain toy he is pining over, and I told him that if at the end of September he still wants it, he can purchase it with his own money.  Sweet Pickle has no idea or concept of money.  She DOES however understand when she points at something in the store (it's ALWAYS some kind of snack - never a toy, seriously) that she wants and I tell her "we don't have money for that today" - she gets it and backs right off - most of the time.  Hey, she's 3!!!

Please understand that this is experimental and a challenge isn't labeled as such without some kind of strife/hard times.  But, we are all ready and willing to give it a go.  You'll all be follow us on our progress throughout the month with my blog.  Lucky you!!! 

I've missed this and hope you'll all continue to tune in every Tuesday for my blogging shenanigans!!!  Hope you all had wonderful summers!!!

Until next time...

Side note:  I'm not proof reading this!  I've got a 3 year old that is turning my living room into a Silly Putty nightmare!!!