31 Days: Week 2 Update {Day 14}

Welcome to 31 Days:The No Spend Month. If you are joining for the first time, you may want to start on Day 1.

Here’s an update on Week 2 of our No Spend Month:

Groceries

Goal: $300 gas budget

Week 2: $194.37 spent (65%)

I went shopping on Monday armed with my grocery list derived from my Meal Planning exercise.  I spent $132, a little more than I thought I would spend, leaving me just $105 for 2.5 more weeks of meals.  I made dinner at home 5 nights this week and am looking forward to have a few nights off this week while grandparents are visiting.

Gas

Goal: $300 gas budget

As of Week 2: $299 spent (100%)

Our gas budget is officially spent.  The gas guzzling SUV is low on gas and we haven’t been driving it, unless necessary – even though it is my preferred car to drive.

The car has a full tank and might last us 1-2 weeks. I would be very surprised if we could get to the end of the month on it. That car is fairly new to us and we don’t know what kind of gas mileage we are getting so I’m using Gas Cubby to track it.

We are in the process of evaluating both cars to see if we might just sell one or possibly, both.  They would be replaced with more fuel-efficient cars.

Eating Out

Goal: Only eat out for 4 significant events in October

As of Week 2: $30 spent on non-significant events

We had our 3rd of 4 events this month over the weekend and saved a bit of money choosing an inexpensive restaurant over the nicer one we had planned.

Unfortunately, that savings was eaten up by ordering a pizza for the babysitter and kids. We also had a family outing to the coffee shop for scones, chocolate milk and coffee.  I used my free birthday coffee and a Daily Deal I had saved to pay for most of the trip.

Personal Care

Goal: $5 personal care budget

As of Week 1: $5.95 spent on personal care

I am scraping the bottom of my mascara tube. Literally. And mascara is the only makeup I must wear everyday. I got a great deal on 2 tubes at Bloom.com for just $5.95, including shipping. Another way to save on personal care.

Utilities

Goal: 25% reduction in expenses

As of Week 2: We won’t know how well we do until we get the bills next month.

  • Water – I haven’t seen the sprinklers on this week and we are expecting some rain so I’m hoping they community manager has turned them off.  I have laundry piled up as I haven’t done any this month but am planning on starting tomorrow. Later this week, I’ll share how I do laundry to save money.
  • Gas – I’ve worn more socks this month than ever. We’ve kept the heat low during the day and worn layers.  We open all the drapes during the day to let the sun (and heat) in and close them as soon as the sun sets, to keep as much natural heat in as possible. We’ve had to turn it up a bit at night as we still have a toddler in a crib and he doesn’t like to have blankets on him.
  • Electric – I think my husband is finding it annoying that I’m the crazy “lights-off” lady. He is the one most guilty of leaving lights on in the house, sometimes ALL day, and I run around behind him shutting them off.  We’re still only using essential lights at night – no hallway lights, ambiance lights or outdoor lights, however I’ve put several candles in our living and dining room and we’ve lit those every night. It’s been great and because I had the candles on hand – free.

Clothing

Goal: $0 budget

As of Week 2: $0 spent on clothing

I did use a gift card to buy my daughter some uniform clothing. It’s getting colder and she needs tights and pants. As she goes to a school with uniforms, I can’t just dig anything out of her closet, I have to buy specific things. Fortunately, there was no out of pocket spend with  my stash of gift cards.

Kids

Goal: $0 budget for toys and entertainment, $25 for childcare

As of Week 1: $15 spent on toys, entertainment and $30 for childcare.

Here’s the thing: Daily Deal sites are one of the key ways I save money. I don’t buy just because they are a good deal, I only purchase them when I would have spent (more) money on the same product/event/store/restaurant anyway. So Living Social popped up with a 10 time pass to an indoor play area for $15. It’s regularly $5 per visit so this was a great deal and one we would have used over the snowy winter anyway.

This might be considered borderline essential when it’s 20 degrees here, snow covers the ground and the kids need to burn some energy.

Non-Essentials

Goal: $0 budget

As of Week 1: $18.00 spend on non-essentials

$2 on bank charges to get cash at a nearby ATM to pay the babysitter.  $14 on a birthday gift and $4 on a yard of fabric.

You really notice what is non-essential when you aren’t supposed to be buying it.  We had an unexpected birthday party to attend last weekend and my stash of birthday gifts didn’t have the appropriate one for this party. I also found a favorite fabric on sale at $4 for the very last yard. I couldn’t pass it up as that is ridiculously cheap for this fabric.

Overall

One of the things I noticed this week is that I could have saved money by doing 2 things:

  1. Plan ahead.
  2. Don’t go into stores unless you need an essential.

Case in point: I could have saved about $20 if I had planned a meal for the babysitter to feed herself and the kids. I also should have gotten cash earlier in the week at my own bank to save the $2 ATM charge.

And the fabric store? I should never wander in there without intention. Books and fabric, the only 2 things I collect.

Your turn. Where did you save and where did you spend this week?

 

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