Friday, July 30, 2010

No Spend Month: What We Learned

I have been thinking a lot these last few days about what we have really learned from our No Spend Month. I have been asked by many people if we will ever do it again. I am not sure. I have been asked by a few if we have had a hard time only spending $250.00 on food and anything else we needed to purchase. It wasn't that hard. There were a couple of days that I just didn't want to set foot in the kitchen and cook another meal or clean another dish, but I sucked it up and did it anyway. I missed the luxury of eating out occasionally. Not that we eat out a lot on our regular budget, but it is nice to not have to cook all the time. Other than the short trip to Lexington where I ate out a couple of times and Bryan relied on Taco Bell back at home, we only ate out twice, once at the Farmer's Market, where we split a breakfast, and then tonight once we realized we had enough money left to pick something up for dinner.
During No Spend Month there have been a few things that have been deferred until later. For instance, Bryan mentioned he needed wiper blades a couple of weeks ago, but we didn't invest in new ones because of No Spend Month. Next week he will get new wiper blades. We ran out of propane for the grill this month and next week we will refill our propane tank. I have really missed being able to cook outside and keep the house a little bit cooler. Seth needs a few more 12 month outfits because he is growing like a weed, so I will be hitting the consignment stores again.
Although I think that No Spend Month would be easier to do in January or February when all you want to do is stay inside anyway, we have looked for ways to have fun for free like going to a Concert in the Park or walking around the neighborhood in the evenings. We went to play in the fountains when my parents came to visit instead of going to the local orchard to munch on peachy deliciousness. When we did spend money on something we wanted to do we made choices. We chose to go to the Roller Derby and gave up going to a Hot Rods game with friends.
We sacrificed quite a bit with the food that we bought. I love cheese. I love Gouda and Muenster and specialty cheeses. I haven't bought any of those. I changed recipes to accommodate different, less expensive cheeses. I usually buy the Harvestland brand of chicken at Wal-mart which is slightly more expensive but oh so much tastier. I haven't bought it this month. I bought the cheapest meats, syrup, cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups, the cheapest pie crusts, bread, eggs, and milk when I usually don't. Now I know why I don't buy the cheapest of those things. I didn't go to the Farmer's Market after week 1 partly because our garden was thriving, but also because I knew the fruits and veggies would be more expensive than if I bought them at Wal-mart. I have read a lot about how you don't have to sacrifice quality of foods on a budget, but I wasn't able to master that on our budget. Local, tastier foods just cost more and I chose not to pay the price this month.
I think what we have learned the most is that we are comfortable with our spending. Sure we waste some money, but for the most part we buy things that we need and are cautious about things that we don't necessarily need. We try to be frugal whenever possible. We buy lots of things used instead of new. When we do buy something new, we try save up to buy items of high quality so that it will be a lasting investment. We realized that there are a few things that we could cut out if we needed to, but we are happy with the choices that we make with our money. Overall it was an interesting experience and yeah, we are glad that we did it.

1 comment:

  1. Good job Stephanie! So happy you got to eat out the last night.

    I think the thoughts behind the idea of how "you don't have to sacrifice quality of foods on a budget" is more like you can still choose quality food, but not necessarily the same food. So high quality eggs cost less than cheap beef, but if you really are set on buying beef, then yes the higher-priced food is generally better.

    Good for you to feel good about your normal spending.