Hi Friends! I feel like I have so much to tell you all - it seems forever since I've been here with you, sharing the tidbits of my little mountain top life!
I've missed you all!
It was a busy, busy weekend in my world, unfortunately much of it involving that dreaded 4 letter word....WORK.
I'm sorry it kept me away from all of you but I'm back now and I'm excited to share the results of my very first no-spend month with you all.
Well.....I just about made it through the entire month without spending a dime!
I made it right up until the day before it ended.
What happened to break my no-spend month, you ask?
My gas light came on!! I had to pull into my local Cumberland Farms and fill up the tank. And while I was there I ran in for some bread, half and half, and Doritos.
Yes, you heard me right. Doritos.
I didn't mean to....it just happened. Hey, I'm not perfect!!
I also had to buy some scratch offs for a dear colleague who was retiring this weekend. I wanted to put them in with her retirement gift.....hey, you never know, right?
Back to the no-spend - here were my tricks for making it through:
1. I stocked up. I knew I was going to really give this a try so before I began the challenge I made sure I had what I needed in the house as far as groceries and supplies went.
2. I limited my trips in the car. Right before I began the challenge, after I ran all my errands and stocked up, the last thing I did was pull into the local gas station and fill my gas tank to the tippy top. I would have made it through the whole month without filling up again if it hadn't been so cold! I had no choice but to warm up my car well before driving to work. Oh well, it is what it is!
3. I used credit card points. I have my Chase Freedom card linked to my Amazon account. I use my Chase card for many, many things to collect as many points as possible. Whenever I get Chase points, they show up as a credit on Amazon that I can use whenever I want. I saved them this month for any "emergencies" that may come up....like buying a retirement gift for my colleague!
4. I had my daughters chip in. They are both off the mountain much more frequently than I am and I had no qualms about asking them to bring back fresh produce. I'm still waiting for the wine to be restocked. I guess I won't hold my breath.
5. My sweetie helped out. We have a 'deal' that whenever either of us is going to the market, we check in with the other to see if there's anything we need. I did not take advantage by any means but when I ran out of Greek yogurt, my sweetie picked it up on his trip.
6. I shopped my freezer and my pantry. I used the fresh produce first, obviously, but as that ran out I went to my freezer and pantry for canned and frozen fruits and vegs to get me through. Meals were planned around what was already in the house. I even made a fabulous cake for the retirement party from what was in my pantry....I'll share the recipe another day.
7. I kept lists. Instead of running out to pick up a few things as they were needed the items were simply put on the shopping list. One shopping at the end of the month, and we're all stocked up again. Since I absolutely hate grocery shopping I might try to do this more often!! One big shopping, once a month!
8. I kept busy. I did projects around the house using things I already had, which gave me the feeling of having something new without actually buying anything. Win/Win!!
9. I made do. Isn't that what it's really all about? Going back to a simpler way? Back in the 'old days' if you didn't have something, you made do. Today we are so quick to go out and buy what we 'need' or go online....but do we really need it? Really?
I think my biggest challenge through it all was not feeling 'free' to go out and do what I wanted to do, as I was strictly trying not to spend money for the month. No days off the mountain to just visit a nearby village and wander around the shops. No bringing home Chinese Food when I didn't feel like cooking....although Sweetie did bring in a pizza this weekend. No stocking up on wine even though I'm pretty much out of whites. No splurges, no treats. No "I feel like getting a manicure." No new shirts or shoes.
But all in all, it was a good challenge and I will most definitely do it again. January is a great time for this type of challenge - it's good to rein in the spending after the holidays and also to bring a little 'discipline' back into the routine. Let's face it, we all let things slip a little during the holidays - we eat too many sweets, drink too much eggnog....spend too much money.
Do you think you could do it? Do you think you could go an entire month without spending on anything other than bills?