Posted in 30 Days, Challenge Recap, Limited Spending, Money

Limited Spending- 30 Day Recap

We are rounding the corner to Day 30 of my Limited Spending Challenge.

Overall, it has felt like a pretty successful month.  Excluding a few specific spending whims and indulgences (namely a spending spree on Black Friday and some online holiday shopping) I managed to stay pretty true to my budget of $80 per week.


The Highlights

Overall this month has forced me to become much more planned and organized.  In a typical week, I put about $40-50 towards groceries.  Keeping such a tight grasp on groceries really forced me to pay attention to what I was buying and concentrate on the priorities.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could buy the essentials (brown rice, chicken, broccoli, salad, etc.) without sacrificing healthy choices. If anything, I discovered that much of what I spend in excess on is junk food.

This month has also unearthed a creative flourish of baking.  Instead of spending money on various snacks, I managed to tap into my inner homemade baker.  I also found ways to maximize leftovers by making new meals out of them and planning leftovers for lunch.

This challenge has given me the confidence to live with less.  I feel strangely empowered to know that I can cut my spending by half of what I normally would spend and it has given me some savings that I can use towards my upcoming cross country road trip.

30 Day Review

Level of Success in Completing Challenge: B+

Likelihood of Continuing Challenge Beyond 30 Days: VERY! In fact, I plan to continue the challenge into December.



Posted in Limited Spending, Money

30 Days of Limited Spending

November 1st, I began my 30 days of Limited Spending.  To be clear, I decided to make this challenge Limited Spending and NOT Zero Spending.  There are a lot of blogs out there that brag about their success at not spending anything for a month or who offer advice on how to have a Zero Spending Month and while the idea fascinates me, I didn’t feel as though I had enough mental preparation or provisions in my cupboard to effectively do that.  And to be honest, I was a little worried that my idea to spend less as opposed to not at all was perhaps that was a cop-out. But I found this blog post: 3 Reasons to Skip the 30 Day No Spend Challenge and feel affirmed in my initial decision about my challenge.

So here are the details for my 30 Days of Limited Spending:

  • Rule #1: Bills, Mortgage, and other fixed or required payments (like student loan, car insurance or medical related bills) must still be paid
  • Rule #2: Cash ONLY. No credit cards, debit cards or checks (minus bills)
  • Rule #3: Total money to spend a week: $80
  • Rule #4: The weekly allowance must be applied to any and all non-bill related expenses including: groceries, eating out, drinks, gas, snacks, and entertainment
  • Rule #5: Try to keep life as normal as possible while still following the aforementioned rules…

I am comfortably settling into my third week of this challenge and i have discovered a few things.

  • I have been able to fairly effectively slash my typical weekly grocery expenses by about $50-100 just on swapping out non-essential food items and focusing on a few core groceries. Variety, I have sadly learned may be the spice of life but my wallet prefers it plain.
  • Despite my limitations I have placed on my grocery budget, I have actually been eating very well and am by no means wasting away or going hungry from lack of groceries
  • Little things add up like crazy: During Week 1, I made a few luxury impulse purchases like contact lens solution, a hairbrush and chips early in the week and realized I was effectively out of cash by about Tuesday!
  • I have been forced to get creative especially in how to spend my down time and time with others… because the knee-jerk reaction to grab a few drinks at a bar or go out to dinner all end up punching the wallet pretty hard.

I will outline a more detailed account of my spending in another post. 18 Days down, 12 Days to go!