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No spend challenge spin off, what have you learned?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just as the title says. I have joined on and off 3 or 4 times now and I learn or take away something new each time! Esp if I set goals for the month as I have learned from some of you.

So something I have learned- for a long while we were able to do groceries under $400 a month and that included going out once in there. Then we had dd2 who is now a 3 yr old with a growing appetite, gas increase which bleeds into costs, and who knows what else and now I need to think $50-100 more monthly. Plus we are selective about buying and cooking organic, local, cook from scratch etc.

Or I need to factor in the you know what hits the fan into monthly budget more.

So share, what have you learned, saved or whatever with our no spend challenge?:
post #2 of 15
I've definitely realized how the little things add up. The amount of money we waste is insane for how much we make. At the end of the month I start thinking about what goals I can change to make next month better.
post #3 of 15
i've learned that its hard to really look at our spending. Its bad, but if we don't think about it than it's not really That bad, right? Seeing it all typed out is a slap in the face- reality can be shocking. For us that is a good thing, our spending is out of control.

This is my first month doing the challenge, and i went out of town for a big chunk of time and haven't been able to keep it up, i plan on doing next month fully so i can get a bigger picture.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolansmummy View Post
i've learned that its hard to really look at our spending. Its bad, but if we don't think about it than it's not really That bad, right? Seeing it all typed out is a slap in the face- reality can be shocking. For us that is a good thing, our spending is out of control.
This. I'm shocked at how much the grocery trips, lunch out once or twice a week, my coffee (eep) and random things I pick up add up.
post #5 of 15
I agree it is hard to see how much you spend without thinking about it. I have swapped out debit purchases for anything other than household expenses - groceries, etc. and will probably do that next month to see if I can make it with cash only.

SO for me, I have learned:
1. I will swipe my card for $5 here and $3 there and it adds up - FAST and HIGH.
2. I spend less when I plan more.
3. Accountability helps.
4. You all are supportive and full of great ideas.
post #6 of 15
First I want to thank Prudence again for the threads, they have helped me so much. :

I also want to thank Amy for starting this thread so we can share what we have learned

Things I have learned:

1) It is so easy to spend a ton of money on food. Between our co-op, Costco and regular trips to the grocery store I found that I was often spending over $1000 for a family of 5 (and my littlest one was barely eating anything yet)

2) Little things really add up. A lunch here, a snack there…amazing amounts of money can be spent

3) Having three children really does increase costs. Whenever I go to buy something now I have to buy at least 2 and as soon as dd3 is bit older it will be 3.

4) Childcare costs are a HUGE part of our spending. We have a wonderful Nanny who our kids love and who loves them but it is very expensive. I have a good job so it is still worth it for me go to go to work especially in the long run, but in the short term…WOW!

5) My girls are worth EVERY penny :
post #7 of 15
This is our first month and I learned that we spend a lot on silly things... This thread has inspired me to:
1.) reduce my coffee habit to about once a week. It was 3x4 times a week.
2.) really try to eat what we have and reduce our grocery shopping trips. Each extra time we go to the store we spend
3.) re-evaluate regular spending. DO WE NEED or DO WE WANT! This has been a struggle for DP.
4.) like magpie said Accountability helps. I really do not want to come back and post that I spent $X.XX on something stupid.
5.) I have started a spreadsheet to track everything.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie1972 View Post
3. Accountability helps.
That is the big thing for me.
post #9 of 15
Until doing the challenges, I didn't realize how much I was going to the thrift store. And how much I would spend there. "What a deal. A like new shirt for DD for 99 cents. What a cool bowl, I could resell it." (Did happen!)

When I participate in the challenges, I have to make sure to give myself a few trips to the thrift store. Sometimes I don't even spend a penny, and I am more aware of my NEEDS versus WANTS at the thrift store when I am on the no-spend challenge.

I also realized I need to scale back the grocery shopping. I am so focused on getting a deal, that we just buy more than we need or is practical.

I'm currently expecting our second child so I'm not participating this Spring. But I am going to be on the lookout for the stuff we need/want at garage sales and craigslist. Mostly we need some furniture pieces for DD1 and some new safety items.

Accountability to myself and to others is important. And setting goals or limits helped. It's very hard to do $0 unneccessary spend. But if I allow myself a little freedom, I usually do okay.
post #10 of 15
The biggest eye-opener for me when I joined the no-spend thread last year (I didn't start them, I just took over when the original poster stopped doing them) was that I spent money every single day.

I think of myself as a thrifty person but before doing the challenges I spent a dollar here a dollar there every. single. day.

It is truly hard for me not to spend.
post #11 of 15
Definitely we are spending more on food than we used to, and the little trips to the store during the week, getting food from more places (regular grocery as well as Costco, coops, etc) adds up.

At the same time we eat in more than we used to; I shudder to think what the food bill was *really* like then!

I also have realized that I really need to try to get on the same page with dh re: our budget. We have discussions and I think we are on the same page, but then it turns out we are not. I need to keep working on this.
post #12 of 15
Things I've Learned

1. My dh is an awesome frugal dude! He just focuses his OCD on not spending money and it works like a charm. Makes me almost wish I had OCD, at least his mild version.

2. My material desires are easy to alter. I see big changes every month.

3. I need to get "credit" in the Quicken spending report each month for every category I have done well in. Hoarding cash and envelope spending do not work for me. I am giving my cash hoard back to the bank at the end of this month.

4. I need to come up with a non-bill (discretionary) spending total that is not made up out of thin air, but is actually based on fixed costs - bills.

5. I need to learn to manage big-ticket costs like travel without freaking out that "the month is shot," even though I have a year's budget that allots money for all these things.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunchy*VT*Mom View Post
The biggest eye-opener for me when I joined the no-spend thread last year (I didn't start them, I just took over when the original poster stopped doing them) was that I spent money every single day.

I think of myself as a thrifty person but before doing the challenges I spent a dollar here a dollar there every. single. day.

It is truly hard for me not to spend.
That has been a surprise to me. We don't have any debt and are responsible in our spending, but I when I challenged myself not to spend I was really shocked at how often I felt I "needed" something. I was really surprised at how often I thought, only x more days and then maybe I'll buy y, like a binge dieter or something. I need to rejoin!
post #14 of 15
What I learned:

My BIG, huge, enormous lesson this month is that food allergies have trashed my grocery budget!!!!! We were diagnosed with multiple allergies (wheat, oats, eggs, dairy, all cheese, tomatoes and a whole mess of other things). Our diet is shockingly limited and it seems like we should be eating cheaper -- there are so many things we cannot eat!

But we are eating so much more of the expensive, big ticket foods -- fruit, veggies, meat, almonds, gluten free grains, quality cooking oils. And all of my easy go-to meals are off the table -- oatmeal and eggs are the really hard ones to overcome.

I am just sucking it up and paying more for food. The allergy issues are improving quickly, so I know we are making good choices, but dang -- my budget will need a serious overhaul.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Bumping since its the end of the month and another challenge is wrapping up and another is in the beginning....
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