In the month of September, I challenged myself to limit my spending to $60 per week. This did not include mortgage or any other necessary bills that I already have to pay in order to keep the lights on or on car insurance, etc. Also, if I had any appointments I had already made prior to deciding this would be my challenge, I did not reschedule or cancel them.
What I didn’t allow myself to do was excessively buy food [or any expensive caffeinated drinks] on weekdays at work or on the weekends. I also restrained from purchasing any random items that I didn’t necessarily need [ya know, like another pair of shoes..or more skin care products..or toys for my dog].
$240 a month sounded like about enough to keep me going with the regular, everyday stuff. It seemed very reasonable. To be honest, I never really knew if it would be enough because I haven’t budgeted myself so strictly before!
So how did I do? Let’s break it down!
Week 1 – September 3 – 9
I started week 1 with enthusiasm and hope! $60 was a reasonable amount to spend in a week [I thought] and I really considered my “regular” spending habits when I decided on this number, so it should work out just fine!
There were a couple of very small expenses I had at the beginning of the week. $1.50 for oatmeal one morning at work, and $1.60 for some packaging I needed to ship out a couple of items that I sold online. No big deal!
Thankfully, I had some food stashed in the freezer that I could just microwave, and some other items that I already had at home in the cabinet that could make a full meal, aka tuna casserole.
My biggest spend was on a local Susan G. Komen event, which was $35. It went to a good cause!
At the end of the week, I had a positive balance of $10! Not bad for week one, if I do say so myself 🙂
Week 2 – September 10 – 16
For week 2, I withdrew $60 from the ATM machine and decided that I would try to pay everything in cash to make it easier on myself to keep track of what I was spending. On Tuesday, I spent $17 on groceries. Luckily, I already had pasta sauce, noodles and ground meat in the freezer to make dinner. Basically I spent money on veggies, grapes and mushrooms for my pasta sauce.
At work, I picked up breakfast on Thursday, but the total spent was only $1.80! However, after work on Thursday and through the weekend is when I realized I probably spend the most money primarily on food. On Thursday and Friday night I was lucky enough to be treated to dinner by my husband. LOL – he knows I’m trying to save money, so maybe he felt like he should help me out – haha!
My last purchase of the week was $25, for a subscription bag of local fruits and veggies that would arrive on Monday. Looks like I’m setting myself up for a positive outcome – hopefully!
That left me with a positive balance of $17! I spent even less money in week 2 🙂 Woohoo!
Week 3 – September 17 – 23
Most of my money was spent on groceries in week 3. I participate in a local fruit/veggie delivery subscription service that gets delivered at a convenient location near my office. This subscription comes bi-weekly and costs $25 for each delivery. That’s where the bulk of my money spent this week went! Because this service only provides produce, I did need to run to the grocery store for some extras like protein and spent another $15.
I also needed some misc office supplies for home which brought me to another $15 spent. I ended the week with a $5 positive balance.
Week 4- September 24 – 30
Week 4. Home stretch! I had a few practical expenses like groceries, passport photo, and a new driver’s license. All of this came to $30.
When Friday rolled around, I stopped by a local farmer’s market and spent $20 on…Hawaiian Chip Company taro and sweet potato chips. How did that come to $20, you ask? Tempting flavors like nori, BBQ and garlic. I wanted to treat myself, okay?!
But after work was when the real trouble started. I had been eyeing these rag & bone ankle booties on Nordstrom’s website for a few years now. And at regular price they are quite the spend. 🙁 I have been dying for ankle booties for a long time now, and can never seem to find a good, comfortable pair. Well…when you’re trying to kill some time at the mall and wander into Saks Off Fifth and you find those rag & bone Margot ankle booties that you’ve been eyeing out for 50% off…you buy them.
And that’s how you fail your month’s goal of spending only $60 per week on every single thing!
But this challenge wasn’t a complete failure! I’m not regretting my purchase, but the reason I wanted to do this challenge is so that I can practice being more mindful about where I spend my money. I’m also more aware of my impulse buys [and trust me that happens more frequently than I would like] and think about what I have at home before I jump in to dish out some cash to pick something up.
There are definitely other goals that I have for myself with my money like travel and other “investment” items that are on my list. I don’t need little distractions that add up to prevent me from obtaining those things!
Not quite the lesson I was searching for, but hey! It’s all about learning and becoming more aware of our actions. I’m trying to be more mindful so I can reach other goals, to help me not get as financially stressed out!
How do you stay on track with your budget? Got any tips to help me keep myself in check next time? Let me know in the comments below!