My experimental spending freeze has come to an end! I started out strong, began to lose hope in the middle, and ended the month with a bang...and a purchase (damn you, Kohl's!)
I didn't go into this exercise with many expectations. I was burned out from the holidays, and I needed to renew my spirit and resist adding more clutter to our little nest. I feel like keeping my debit card tucked away for awhile definitely helped me achieve these goals!
I gave myself some rules:
- No new clothes, shoes, makeup, toys for K, or anything deemed "unnecessary"
- More home cooked meals. Attempt to utilize the perfectly good food cluttering up our pantry
- Attempt to find free activities throughout the city and utilize museum memberships rather than shell out money to entertain ourselves
- Use gift cards whenever possible
- Use coupons whenever possible
- All money saved for this month goes into our "Date Night/Family Fun" Fund
I feel really good about where my money went this month. I was more organized and in control of my spending. I didn't feel drained or anxious, but felt a greater sense of creativity, resourcefulness, and positivity. Best of all, I feel like I spent some really meaningful time with my family that didn't cost an arm and a leg!
In terms of purchases, I made it to the last week of January and then I caved and bought a pair of booties. In my defense, I used Christmas money, got them on sale, and also used online coupons and Ebates. And, most importantly, I needed new shoes. I also gave my blog a makeover as mentioned in my last post.
In bigger news, I didn't buy anything new for K which was more challenging than not buying stuff for myself. She got tons of clothes and toys for Christmas so that made it easier. We found ourselves back at our local library (after not going for months), and checked books out rather than purchasing new ones. I stayed away from malls, Baby Gap, Tea Collection (my obsession), and Amazon.
We dug into our gift card collection and found several treasures we had been saving for a rainy day. Namely, two Ralphs cards (Ralphs is our local grocery store). We bought a week's worth of groceries with our gift cards! We are SO behind the times, but I finally learned more about online couponing. We saved an extra $35 by clipping a few coupons, and saving online coupons onto our grocery store's club card.
I cooked an average of four nights per week this month. I am still pathetic at meal planning, and am attempting to figure out how to organize myself more effectively and efficiently. However, I am pretty proud of my efforts and hope I can keep it up. I used up some dry pasta, frozen items, soups, and sauces that were taking up space in our pantry.
Ultimately, we saved HUNDREDS of dollars this month! I am excited to put that money toward our Family Fun/Date Night Fund and also to avoid placing any unnecessary purchases on our credit cards. Budgeting and controlling spending is essential for our household. I look forward to continual improvement!