I don’t know about you, but my family spent a pretty penny this month. In fact we
probably definitely spent more than we should have. There were some necessities like new clothes for my teen because she outgrew everything this summer, school supplies for 2 of the 3 kids, utilities, and our mortgage. However, there were some purchases that could have been skipped like eating out, ordering a new release through our Disney Movie Club membership, and my tattoo. So, with only a few months left before Christmas (crazy right?!) I decided to do a spending challenge. In a nutshell, I won’t be spending any money beyond what is budgeted and necessary. There are a few things we have going on this month that will require some extra money being spent. At the end of the month we can pick up our new dog and have to pay the balance of the cost at that time, and also at the end of the month we have tickets to go to the Michigan Renaissance Festival. We will have to budget ahead of time for that one. There are always so many yummy things to eat and neat things to buy. And let’s just be honest here… I’m eating and drinking my fair share. We go once a year so I might as well make the most out of it.
So here’s what I’m allowing myself to spend money on this month:
- Groceries: this is a must unless we all want to starve. But I will try to spend as little of our monthly gorocery budget as possible. Meal planning is key! This is also when I will look in the back of the pantry, cabinets, fridge, and freezer to look for anything that got pushed to the back and forgotten about, and make up meals out of some of these items to get them used up. Of course, if there is a great sale on something we need to stock up on, I will get it. All as long as I don’t spend outside of the budget. Planning easy “to go” meals for when we will be gone around meal times to avoid the drive thru is also important. There will be a couple long distance trips this month so I will pack our first meal and we will have to buy the second since it won’t keep well being in the car all day.
- Utilities: you have to pay for electric and propane. There is no way around this one. However, I will make a better attempt at keeping lights off when not needed, the windows open and fans on instead of the AC, and doing other things like making a double batch of a meal that can be reheated quickly a couple days later instead of cooking an entirely new meal.
- Gas: I have to be able to drive my kids to their speech therapy, to Pre-k, and my family to any doctor appointments. What I can do is plan my errands around when I am out to cut down on driving.
- Mortgage: we need a place to live so this is a need.
- Our new puppy: we put a deposit down on a new puppy and she should be ready to come home at the end of September. Since we committed ourselves to the dog breeder, it wouldn’t be fair to her if we said we needed to wait to pick her up. Plus, I’m dying to get my hands on her to cuddle.
Things I won’t be buying this month:
- Clothes: unless there is a specific clothing item that absolutely needed, no one is getting new clothes. No one needs anything either until the weather gets colder.
- Books/movies/music: we have plenty (more than we need really) already. If there is something we see that we would like, I’ll put it on a list for the future. Christmas is right around the corner so by making a list, I have Christmas gift ideas already.
- Toys: this goes right along with the books and such. The kids don’t need them and I want to keep ideas for Christmas.
- Fast food: if I plan appropriately, I can either be home at all meal times, or pack food for everyone and bring it with us. Also, by watching the calendar, I can plan things like a frozen pizza or hamburger helper for a night we won’t be home for me to spend an hour cooking dinner.
- Outside entertainment: we already have tickets for the Ren Fest and the boys are already signed up (and paid) for a hands on science activity. Other than that, we won’t be spending money on things like going to the movies. We have a zoo membership so we can go there and bring a picnic lunch. I will also have a couple movie nights planned for at home.
I plan on doing a weekly update about how this is going and what I have saved. I’ll also keep track of the things I wanted to buy, but didn’t, and how much I would have spent. And of course, I’ll be sharing with you all. I will start September 1st and will go all the way through the end of the month. Who’s up for the challenge with me?!