Image source: Scootapie on Etsy
Why is it that when you make a public declaration that this month you will “spend no money” the universe decides to make it the month where everything breaks down?
January is nearly over and I’m happy to report that we’ve stuck pretty much to the no spend (unless on necessities) rule. Well… there were a few purchases of fabric to replace the ones that I screwed up when I started cutting my Swoon Quilt. Then there was a wee little splurge (under $100) at Target on some items for the house (gardening books are very important to us wanna be homesteaders!). There’s also been a couple of eating out moments (gnome cannot live on staples alone!). But on the whole we’ve done so much better than I thought we would.
Which is bloody handy because we’ve had way more “emergency” expenses this month then I could have forseen when we put together the budget. We’ve had to replace the gas cooktop (goodbye $1,000), we’ve had to call out an emergency electrician to unplug the smoke alarm that wouldn’t stop going off at 5am on Sunday morning (goodbye $300) and then there’s the emergency trip to the dentist because my impacted wisdom tooth was inflected (goodbye $250).
I’ve actually managed to still save money this month and that’s all because of No Spend January. I’m pretty confident that had I not undertaken to do the pantry challenge I would have continued to grocery shop and horde frozen food like I was preparing for doomsday.
I’ve even managed to entertain using food that we already had in our pantry, vouchers I had won on the internet and being realistic about how much food you really need to serve when you have people over. I impulse cooked and even learned a new skill (making jam and relish). I have found though that we’ve tended to eat a lot of the same thing again and again – now I’m not sure whether that’s a reflection of the fact that it’s summer (we’re BBQing everything within sight) or whether it’s because I tend to horde the same things all the time.
Where ever possible I’ve tried to use gift vouchers I received at Christmas time to buy things that I wanted (note I didn’t say need). It’s probably a good thing that January follows Christmas!
I’ve struggled to not buy impulse things like fabric off people’s fabric destashes on Instagram, or to over spend when I go into a shop to buy a set item. I’ve struggled to not resent having to spend money on the little emergencies that have arisen and instead I’ve tried to focus on the positives; we can afford to get them fixed or replaced, the house didn’t burn down, my teeth are going to be fine, we have each other, we’ve lost weight this month. Basically I’m seeing the piggy bank as half full instead of half depleted.
I had thought that February might be a month to ease up on the no spend, but given all the little emergencies we’ve had to pay for in January I suspect February will be another month of no spend. It’s not that bad really – we’re not going without, I still feel like we’re doing a lot and ultimately if I can ween myself off the spending we’ll be in a better position long term. Which would be brilliant.
All in all I would rate No Spend January a success. Now how to make Frugal February an even bigger success?