Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Spending Cleanse" August

Pin It Now that summer is coming to an end, it's time to take a look at the old bank account and see what kind of damage has been done. Between moving, doing a craft show, opening an Etsy shop and getting an inventory ready to be a vendor in a store, and vacation, the checking account has really taken a hit. We have just been spending a ton of money the last couple of months, and now it's time to reign it in. August is a good time for us to do this since it's at the end of summer. But every family is different, so if you choose to take on this challenge, pick a time that is right for you and your family's needs.

So I started thinking that I wanted to do some sort of save money type month, and I started doing a lot of research. I happened to come across this, and it was really helpful. She did her own no spend month and did a great little series that is full of information. After I finished reading it, I got to work on the details of my "Spending Cleanse Month". What I needed to think about were the goals of this challenge. What did I want to accomplish? What did I want to change? What are the actual reasons behind doing it?

Well the main reason is plain and simple. I need to save money. But it's also more than that. We needed to change the way we were spending. I started looking at my checking account to see what I could do to change things. Where I could save money. And the most obvious place to save, was in the food department. We were eating out constantly, and also making grocery shopping trips. Basically spending twice the money, and also making little trips to the store in between. They may not seem like much at the time, but they really added up in the end. So that's the first thing to go. I also had to cut out random shopping trips to Target and my favorite craft stores like Hobby Lobby (sob!). I have lots of supplies now, and quite a large stash that I need to bust through, so making it a month without going to the craft stores should be just fine. The last area that I can really make a difference on is gas. My husband commutes about 40 minutes to work, so there isn't much that we can do about that. But I can cut a lot of my driving out for a little while. It's really easy to over look how much gas you use just running around town, and making lots of unnecessary stops for shopping.

So for the month of August, we are going on a budget diet. We will still have all of our regular monthly bills such as rent, electric, insurance, etc., but will be cutting everything else out. We are going to only be making the necessary purchases for food and gas. NO extras such as eating out, shopping trips, or grocery store/gas station runs.

How I prepared for the Spending Cleanse Month:

The first thing I did, since I knew that we would be cutting out eating out, was take stock of what we had in the pantry, freezer, and fridge. Really try to resist the urge to go do a big shopping trip before you start this month. It kind of defeats the purpose anyways. Once I saw what we had, I made a list of all the meals I could make from the things that we already had. Once I got that down, I was able to come up with a number that we could use for the grocery budget for the month. Then I calculated how much money we were spending in gas, and basically cut that in half. Like I said, we can't really do much about the hubsters gas, but I'm making it a personal challenge to go the entire month on one tank of gas. I should be able to do this since I am cutting out all the extras like shopping. And if I do have to go anywhere, I'll be sure to combine errands so that I'm not going back and forth a lot.

Once I had all of that, I was able to get a number down for the monthly "budget". I decided that we should be able to get through the month on $470.00. To come up with this number I basically cut our food bill in half, as well as the gas bill. I was hoping this number would be smaller, but since the hubster still needs about $200 for gas a month, there isn't much I can do about it. But I am REALLY excited to get this started today!

I will be doing weekly updates about how the challenge is going, and a final post about how we did for the month, so make sure you come back to check out how it's going for us!
Have any questions about how or why I am doing this? Are you wanting to do a challenge similar to this but aren't sure where to get started?  Email me! I love to hear from you guys!

Weekly Updates:

Week One Update

Week Two Update

Week Three Update

Linking up Here:


A Diamond in the Stuff





shabby creek cottage


Tickled Pink at 504 Main

One Artsy Mama

See Vanessa Craft

The Shabby Nest


Positively Splendid


The Girl Creative

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Jennifer said...

Great idea. I've always wanted to try this. Thanks for the kick in the butt to get started! And thanks so much for linking up to our Pretty Things Party! I hope you'll be back next week!

Debra said...

Good luck. We do a no spend month every year in February. It's a short month which is why we started with that month but it's also the month we have the least going on and we are kind of in a spending hangover from the holidays and a ton of family birthdays from Sept to Jan. It's always a challenge but everyone is used to it by now and is really on board (finally!)