January 28, 2013

A Spending Break


I'm trying something new in February: I'm taking a spending break.

This means I'll pare down spending on wants and only spend on needs. I decided to do this after reading Rachel's post about the Spending Fast then afterwards obsessing over reading the blog And Then We Saved. I know this idea sounds dull and restrictive, but I'm excited about it because of the potential to save money.

In the book The Happiness Project, Gretchen talks about people who are abstainers versus those who are moderators. Abstainers find it easier to abstain from things if they cut it all out instead of moderating. Moderators can't stand to be ruled by extremes and must moderate the rules. I, apparently, am an abstainer. And because of this, I'm going to restrict myself to NO spending on wants (see list below). I would like to commit to doing this for a month and if I am able to save, will continue doing so for perhaps a year.

Things I will spend on (my needs):  house, gas, food, bills, medicine, doctor/dentist, haircuts

Things I won't spend on (my wants):  eating out, coffee shops, clothes, books, movies, shoes, gifts, makeup, trinkets, house decor

Here are some things I plan to do to make this an easier transition:

Use What I Have
I've been decluttering but still have a cabinet full of make-up and lotions I haven't begun to use up. So, instead of buying more, I'm going to use what I have. This goes for the pantry and freezer too, (Tuna, I'm looking at you). I'll use materials I own to create DIY's for the house and to hopefully create meaningful gifts.

Get Rid of What I Don't Want/Need
This seems obvious, but I need to remove things I don't use out of my house, closet, drawers. I'm going to sell what I can on Craig's list to help my savings grow. Everything else will be given away, gifted away or reused.  This helps me save in the long run because I'm not paying to clean it, store it or add wear and tear to my home or closet. Also if I re-use something, it'll fill a need without having to purchase anything.

Take Advantage of Free or Discounted Stuff
I've already compiled a list of free fun activities around my city. I also plan to take full advantage of MidAmerica Food ($30 for a box of food ~ mostly meat!). I'll share more of what I find as I go along. I'm also part of Freecycle so if I have a need, I can always see if there's a listing and then get it free.

Make My Own Fast-Food
I'm embarrassed to admit this, but one of my biggest and most tempting money wasters is fast-food. I've formed a bad habit of grabbing a pizza or burgers on nights I don't really want to fix a meal. My plan of action is to cook meals on Sunday night for the week. I know I'm must less tempted to stop in a drive-through when dinner will only take fifteen minutes to heat. Also, I plan to use the crock pot more often. If I have veggies sliced and ready to pour in the crock pot; it'll be easier to follow through. One night of preparation for the week will help me create healthy and inexpensive fast-food.

These are my thoughts as I begin; I'll keep you posted on how I do. Have you ever done something like this?


Read through my progress: Update 1Update 2; and Final.



13 comments :

  1. I'm trying to do the same thing. Time to try and save some moola. Good luck.

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  2. I'm all for saving money, sometimes I wonder where all my money is gone and I look back through my receipts to find that I've just wasted it on stupid bit and pieces

    Please come and check out my latest post if you have a few minutes spare :)

    www.fragile-bird.blogspot.co.uk

    Helen

    X

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    1. I know, I've wasted it on "stupid bit and pieces".too. It's good to realize it though.

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  3. I used to buy coffee out every day! and then be tempted to buy cakes and magazines. I've stopped now and probably save myself quite a lot of money! Books was another one. They used to just fall in my online basket, but now I've stopped too. I've been quite good, especially this year, which apart from the basics has pretty much been no spending but still things do get through! But I'm with you on this and good luck! Heather x

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    1. Way to be good, Heather! I'm hoping that will be my tale at the end of this. :D

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  4. This is brilliant! Look forward to reading about your progress and maybe trying it out myself. :)

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    1. If you do try it out, Jamie, I'd to share stories. :)

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  5. I did something similar for two months last year and it was great. It's lingered and I make fewer purchases without thinking about them. I also did a lot of decluttering. I permitted myself to spend money on experiences -- movies or plays -- but not things.

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    1. Carol, I really love your idea of spending on experiences, but not things. It's good to hear that the mindset stuck with you afterwards.

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  6. Hi there - I loved this post - it's a really good idea. In my house when I don't feel like cooking (instead of getting fast-food), I declare it a DIY, which means that everyone makes their own supper. It might be toast and beans, fried eggs or two minute noodles, big bowls of salad or diy pizza, it's fun and the kids get to make a huge mess in the kitchen and hopefully learn to cook!

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    1. Clare, I think it's awesome that your DIY is also relationship building, because you're doing it all together in the kitchen. Thanks for the great idea!

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