31 Day No Spending Challenge Week 4


31 Days Final Thoughts

Please visit Ruth, at Living Well Spending Less to read all the details of this challenge.

It’s Thursday evening as I am writing this, and although the month technically doesn’t end until Saturday, I think it’s fair to say the lessons I have learned will not change in the next 48 hours.  Let me recap week 4 so far and then I’ll tell you how I felt about this challenge and where we’re going from here.

Week 4- Spending went a bit crazy.  Any other month of the year, I probably would not have felt guilty in the slightest about the spending, but because I challenged both my husband and myself to not spend, there is some guilt.  I rarely spend money on myself other than (ick) smoking and eating out.  I have had more and more trouble over time finding clothing and shoes that fit properly.  I hate shopping for clothes and even more for shoes.  Shoes used to be my addiction!  In fact, a prior boss never really knew how short I am, 5’4, until I stepped out of my shoes in front of her one day!  Ha!

Between weight gain and water retention issues finding clothes and shoes that fit have been a nightmare.  Last week the only pair of pants I had that fit finally decided the world needed a glimpse of my bare thighs, and although I protested this decision, the distinctive ripping sound and breeze proved I lost the argument.  Now, I had no pants fit for public viewing, no shorts, a pair of flip flops (that I wear at work no less, because really…who sees my feet?) and a broken ego.  I had to go shopping.  It simply could not be put off any longer.

Luckily, it was Memorial Day weekend.  I HAD to go to Catherines, a company not well-known for being inexpensive, but they carry are large variety of sizes.  When I arrived with my friend, Tammy, they were having a huge Memorial Day sale.  My intention was to try to find a pair of shorts and a pair of jeans for around $100.00.  Well, the sale was spend $200 and get $100 off.  Leaving me right at my $100 clothing budget goal.  I was able to get 2 pairs of jean style capris, a pair of khaki shorts, and pair of shoes that FIT, and a pair of earrings to hit that final $200.00 mark.  I still feel a bit guilty, but I am trying to get over it.

We also did not quit smoking.  There is no excuse and no reason, we just didn’t do it.  I AM going to spend the month of June cutting back just to see if I can wean myself down.  My husband is really good at cutting back, but I struggle with it.  I don’t like being a grumpy ogre, but I need to face that addiction and move along.  Life is about moving forward!

I’m still really annoyed with the health insurance issue.  We pay about $230.00 every 2 weeks for insurance, so our budget was off by $690.00.  We did not hit our savings goal, nor did we pay off any of the extra bills I hoped we would have gone.  Bright side, the health insurance starts on Sunday, all of our bills are paid and there is money in savings.  I need to double-check my budget for the beginning of next month, but I think we will be able to transfer over another $300 or so into savings, meaning we have about $450.00 in savings.  That is $450.00 more than we had last month, so overall, I am pleased with that progress.

On another bright note, I was playing around in a new photo editing program I found and designed the idea for my blog header.  I was able to change some things and redesign the header myself in Photoshop and I am absolutely in love with it.

What we’ve learned

1.  Sucking it up for the month has its challenges.  We were not perfect, but certainly better.

2.  We need to add a small amount to our monthly budget for clothing.  Letting it go too long is just not acceptable, especially when I need to look professional for work.

3.  We need to really work on making sure we have the correct food on hand for packing lunches.

4.  We are also going to consider upping our grocery budget a bit and adding some nicer meals to our at home budget so we’re not tempted to eat out.

5.  Even though my husband does almost all of the cooking, he would like more input from me on dinner ideas.

6.  We need to budget for date nights.  When we don’t plan them, we end up nickel and diming our entertainment or eating out.

7.  International Delight Iced coffee in the Mocha flavor is a very acceptable replacement for buying coffee elsewhere.

8.  When we work together and agree to not spend, it goes much better than the push and pull of a couple who are not on the same page.

9.  Using cash and envelopes has made budgeting so much easier!

10.  We need to start adding extra categories to our budget for things like, minor home repairs, car maintenance, and possibly even a “Oh crap it’s not an emergency, but it’s urgent” pile.

11.  I missed a few MAJOR sales over Memorial Day Weekend.  I need to consider awesome sale cycles even for no spend months in the future!

Final Thoughts

We’re glad it’s over.  We absolutely would do it again, perhaps a few times a year when we have 3 paychecks in one month.  For now, we’re glad to be able to breathe a bit and say we did it, not perfectly, but we did it.

Author: Jill Stewart

I am a 37 -year-old woman from Arkansas who is happily married to a Scottish immigrant aka “the hubby” “the hubs” or if I am calling him directly “YO YOU!” We’ve been married for 3 years and it’s been a crazy ride, and unfortunately our finances have been beat to death in the last few years. We have two dogs and a cat, no kids. The Blog- What’ll you find: Financial Information as we try to become debt free My attempts at working and trying to maintain a home to the standards I like My adventures in learning how to sew Arts and craft projects Funny tidbits from my life including living with a Scottish person, the dogs, and other oddball things that happen to me. What you won’t find: Much on children. I don’t have kids and I can’t have kids. Recipes- I don’t mind cooking, but unless it’s something really special, don’t come here looking for the weekly recipe! You won’t find it- unless you ask my husband. If you’re interested in what you see, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for emails! Most of all, leave a comment or ask a question! I am always happy to hear from you!

5 thoughts on “31 Day No Spending Challenge Week 4

  1. God job this month!!! Get over the shopping guilt! 🙂 It really helps budgeting for clothes every few months so you can get a few new pieces here and there and because you budgeted for it there isn’t as much guilt about shopping. I’m glad you were able to find some things! I am a flip flop girl so when I go shoe shopping that’s what I end up with…When I worked I only wore heels… I do miss wearing heels! Date nights are a MUST! I ran across a site that had all kinds of marriage stuff and had great frugal date night tips. I will have to find it and email it to you. It’s always fun to try some new things besides just dinner and a movie!

  2. Wow, I was so happy to read this. I was thinking today about trying this challenge out and sharing on my blog. I too smoke and wasn’t sure how much info I wanted to share but I’m glad that you did! I have been spending WAY too much on my morning coffee, and lunches. Thank you so so much!!!

    • Hello Cortney,

      I’m happy you dropped by! I like meeting new people!!!

      My opinion on how much to share is this: If you share anything less than the truth, you’re lying to your readers.

      We smoke, unfortunately, it’s a vice that everyone can see and EVERYONE loves to judge. YAY for anti- smoking campaigns right? Drink wine all day every day and that’s cool, but light up a smoke and you’re suddenly killing off babies in 3rd world countries! 😉

      Regardless of my opinion, do what makes YOU comfortable though, and if you write about it. let me know! I love reading and encouraging when I can! We are going to start doing this challenge every time we have a month with a 3rd payday in it.

      Good luck!

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