Sunday, July 1, 2012

No-Spend Method

Sunday, July first will begin our No-Spend month-long adventure. What does that mean? It's done different ways, but the aim is to experience a month of buying only what's needed.  I read the blogs of those who've gone before and came up with the following method. After paying monthly bills and donations, we have discretionary money that is spent on gasoline, groceries, entertainment, and household (which includes toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products, clothing and extras). Our goal is to spend a third of what we usually do on these categories. 

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When I told someone we were doing this, they joked, "Buy twice as much the month before!" And I laughed, but with the start date a month away, I found myself scheming, "If I buy an extra book of stamps, I won't have to squeeze that in next month...No - that defeats the purpose!" So I reigned in my planning, but I still felt nervous because I keep a slim pantry and knew we wouldn't get far on the "free" food of those with deeper pantries. So today, we executed a thoughtful month-style grocery trip, totaling 185.61. It technically occurred outside the month, but still counts against us. We did it early for peace of mind (I love being prepared) and so we can keep grocery trips down to a weekly run for fresh stuff. Anticipated benefits:
  • less frustration when cooking because I have all the ingredients
  • save time and gas going to the store
  • save myself the stress of being in a store and wanting to buy something I shouldn't  :)
From Sunday on, we will put $10.00 in seven envelopes - one for each day of the week. An eighth envelope will be titled Fun Money, where we can put any left-overs from other days. Not sure we'll feel free to dip into it too soon since most people say week three is the hardest, but it's still something to look forward to. 

You should also know, we topped off both vehicles today, but didn't count it because they were near full anyway. Part of our plan to save gas is parking the second car most of the month. Brian's agreed to ride his bike to work since it's not very far and he can shower there. Going into this we also decided not to include the highlight I'm due for. It's something I've decided to spend money on regularly and like monthly bills, I can't easily skip. So I'm going to enjoy it. : )

We're excited to see what our life looks like when consumerism takes a back seat. My deepest wish is that it will slow us down. As every summer approaches, I dream of a simpler life than the school year's been; more time together as a family, going the same direction.   

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