Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spending Fast


Did the word send a shiver down your spine? It does mine. My husband makes a very nice salary and we live in a modest (read - small) house. Yet somehow it seems there is always more month than money. I will admit it - we have a tendency to live beyond our means and we aren't always good at self control. And while there are many, many people who are truly struggling, we feel the pinch every now and then. Oh sure, I do a budget. But that is it. I write out on a piece of paper where our money should go each month but then fail to make sure we only spend the allotted money on groceries, or entertainment, or whatever. We took a 13 week class - paid to take a class - on getting our finances in order, and while we have made some improvements, we definitely need to get back on track.

So I proposed something radical. A spending fast. For a month. September. September will hopefully be a low key month for the Groves household. Gas and groceries. That is it. That is all we will purchase. Of course, I will still pay all the monthly bills. And Heaven forbid we should need to dish out some moola for something medically related, we most definitely won't hesitate to. Obviously if some emergency crops up, like both cars break down, we won't just hitchhike for the month. But trips to the mall, or even worse, Target, will be on hold. Eating out - not gonna happen. We will have to say no. No to invites out with friends. No to being lazy and going out instead of cooking. This will probably be more of a challenge for Matt since pretty much every day someone pops their head in his office inquiring if he wants to get a burrito at lunch. And I fully appreciate the challenge for him. His job is stressful and getting out of the office for an hour at lunch is sometimes very necessary for his sanity. It won't be easy on me either. Starbucks just brought back their Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I have to go an entire month without one. I wait all year for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. And while I can try to mimic them at home, they just aren't the same.

So what will we be doing? Well, I don't know. This is going to be hard. We very often go out for lunch on the weekends. For some reason, lunches on the weekend are just better out. I am going to really need to be on my game as far as grocery shopping and menu planning. I usually plan about 5 dinners for the week and the rest is filled in with eating out, leftovers, or whatever.

Despite September coinciding with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which gave me pause and made me reconsider the idea, it also lines up with the start of football season. Sundays are taken care of entertainment-wise. And we have memberships to the zoo and arboretum. We will just have to pack lunches (which is honestly better anyway since zoo food, while convenient and kinda a novelty, is overpriced and kinda crap!). Hopefully the dreadfully hot weather will abate and we can enjoy some parks and forest preserves again. We have a gym membership and Lily loves the childcare there. Matt and I can go work out on Saturday mornings. Really, there is so much to do that doesn't require spending money!

I will be upfront though. Matt and I are going to see Roger Waters perform The Wall at the end of the month. The {very, very pricey} tickets have already been paid for. However, there will be a few {extremely overpriced} beers bought by Matt. We may go out to dinner first. It is a long planned and very overdue date for us. And my husband is turning into a shaggy hippy, so I will give him a pass and let him get a haircut. He just couldn't find the time recently. Other than that, I can't foresee any expenses that can't hold off until October. And maybe by October, we will decide we don't need whatever it is any more!

Wish us luck!


emilymcd said...

I'm rootin' for you, girl. I think this is so great. Purging. Cleansing. Wonderful.

It will be hard at times. I can't wait to hear your results at the end of the month!

Rachel Coltharp said...

So proud of you!!! AM looking forward to hearing the hard/fun updates as the month goes along.

Molly said...

You are completely in my thoughts and prayers. I will even NOT invite you out to McDonald's, on purpose. he he he

Maybe we could have a lunch/playdate, here instead?

Molly said...

You will definitely be in my prayers. I will even try really hard NOT to invite you to McDonald's. he he he

Maybe you and Chickie could come over for a lunch/playdate, instead?

Kelly said...

Thanks for the support ladies! And Molly, definitely! And I appreciate the no McDs invite!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with this, Kelly. I'll be interested in hearing about how it goes!!!

Frugal Babe said...

Have a great spending-free month! I gave up thrift stores back in May, and have found that I don't even miss them. Sometimes just telling yourself that you're going to do something (and the rest of the world if you have a blog!) is all you need to kick-start a new habit. Good for you, and enjoy the budget breathing-room that this month will give you!