But we didn't come here today to talk about cute newborn babies did we? Let's move on to January spending shall we. I have found the key to not spending money and it's quite simple.
Step 1: Become so busy at work that at your lunch hour while you sit at your desk, you work and don't browse the internet.
Step 2: On the weekends, fill your time with family activities and/or house projects so that you don't have time to go to the mall or browse the internet.
Easy-peasy right? If only it was that simple.
I did make a few purchases last month so let's recap. Keep in mind that while I am trying to control our spending in all categories of our life including eating out, grocery shopping and household items, I have only put strict budgets on 'luxury' items, that is items that are not deemed necessities.
Category 1 - Beauty Supplies
Nail Polishes - Buy 2 Get 1 Free (3rd was a top coat) - $16
Budget was $40 for miscellaneous beauty supplies - $24 under budget
Category 2 - Home Improvement
Budget was $250 so we went over budget by $35
Category 3 - Craft Supplies
Budget was $40 (readjusted from $20 after I realized kids were running out of some art supplies)
Category 4 - Clothes
Purchased: NOTHING, NADA, ZIP, ZILCH
Budget: $100 - $100 under budget!
TOTAL BUDGET BREAKDOWN:
$430 Budget/$339 Actual = 79% to Budget!
I didn't buy a single clothing item for any of us last month and for that I am very proud of myself. I don't know the last time I have done that, which come to think of it is quite shameful. But since this project is not to get me down, but to encourage me, I have to focus on how positive of a step that is for me.
The last day we were in NY I took an hour to browse some Soho shops by myself. I went into Intermix, J Crew, Anthropologie, Scoop NYC, Muji and I didn't buy a single thing and it was such a good feeling to not want anything. It was downright liberating. That's not to say that this will always be the case, but for now it is a step in the right direction. And you want to know something else?
We got our monthly credit card statement on Saturday and it was the lowest bill we have had in over 5 years! I am making progress and it is tangible and I can see the fruits of my labors. But for the first time in my life as an adult, saving money and being more conscious about spending doesn't feel like labor. I wish I could articulate exactly what is different this time around, but instead of feeling like I'm "sacrificing", it feels I don't know, normal. It feels great.
Throughout the month I constantly tried to remind myself of the pitfalls I usually fall into:
- I did in fact use cash and/or my ATM card a lot more, especially when I went to the craft store and Target to buy our usual household items.
- I planned ahead and made my lists and stuck to those lists
- We could have done better at the convenience factor, which is why we ended up going over budget on Syd's room. We bought expensive paint (Benjamin Moore) at the local hardware store where we went to get the baseboard. They are the only ones that carry 6" baseboards, so while we were there we bought the paint instead of making another trip to Lowe's that day to buy more affordable paint. We definitely fell into the old rut of "we don't want to make another trip, let's just buy it here", even though paint was twice as much.
- I did find one pair of shoes I want for Spring at Bloomingdale's, but they are still full price. I don't need them yet since it's still not sandal weather, and being the savvy shopper that I am, I know they will go on sale before the weather turns warm. It's still very much a buyers environment out there in the retail world.
To end this post, if you recall, my January service project was organizing the One Warm Coat Drive. I had a chance to count up all the coats, sweaters and sweatshirts that people so generously donated and we were able to round up just over 200 items to help families in need stay a bit warmer. 200 coats, sweaters and sweatshirts will be passed out to those in need for FREE! If you want to organize your own coat drive in your city, go here. I'll be sharing my February service project soon. I'm really excited about this month as it's a charity I have worked with before.
So did anyone play along and try to control spending habits this past month? What were your results? Were there challenges and struggles or did you find it easy to control spending after the holidays? I'd love to know how your spending habits in January trend because a) I am nosey and b) I am curious. Please share. And again, if there's enough interest next month, I think it would be fun and productive to share our successes and struggles through a Linky party. Those Linkys can be used for more than just DIY and craft projects :)