Week Four: Friday, July 22nd – Sunday, July 31st
and closing notes
Starting Amount to Spend: $36.91
Total Spent this Week: $47.60
Remaining Amount: -$10.69
Days Remaining: 0
Day 1 – Friday, July 22nd – $2.12
Taco Bell, why are you so delicious?
Day 3 – Sunday, July 24th – $17.49
Seriously, Taco Bell. Why?
Then I had to buy some gas to get me through the week. Weird thing: at this point I have exactly $17.00 left to spend.
Day 5 – Tuesday, July 26th – $1.06
It would’ve been Taco Bell again had a coworker not announced she was making a McDonald’s run. Guess I don’t really need to go grocery shopping at this point.
Day 6 – Wednesday, July 27th – $11.45
Guess who forgot to pack a lunch again…. Taco Bell had a line, so I swung into K-Mart, where all of the food is overpriced. Then the women’s clothing section, right by the check-out, was full of “50% Off” signs and racks loaded with adorable button-downs and tees and I started chanting “Four more days. Four more days.”
Yeah. That lasted as long as it took Jo and Nina to agree to leave early for church and make a stop at Salvation Army to satisfy my thrift store urge. I tried on 20 items and came away with a nice black dress and a shirt. Yes, they were on my list of items I wanted to get, but I wasn’t planning on getting them now. So much for having anything left over.
I blame it on Taco Bell. If they weren’t so delicious there wouldn’t have been a line and I could have spent $1.00 on a burrito instead of wasting money at K-Mart and then seeing cute clothes.
Day 9 – Saturday, July 30th – $4.23
Day 10 – Sunday, July 31st – $11.25
I almost made it. Almost. But I started house-sitting sooner than anticipated and that ate up the rest of my gas. On the way to church I was running on empty, so I had to put in $10.50 (don’t ask why the 50 cents) to tide me over.
Then Calli came to hang out and we got ice cream. I actually only spent 75 cents on this, as I was out of cash and they wouldn’t accept cards for anything under $5.00, so Calli spotted me the rest.
I almost want to mark this month down as a success. That bag of dog food I bought in Week 2 ended up not even being opened and we could have gone without it, which means I could have bought the extra $10.00 in gas without going over. Also, I technically did limit my spending for 4 weeks – 30 days, even. It was that 31st that got me. I’ll stew on this one for a little while.
If nothing else, this month has been educational. Certainly there was a fair amount of stress involved, but I was proud of myself every time I avoided an impulse purchase. As difficult as it was, my favorite moment was when I reached the end of Week 3 having only spent $1.50. Hopefully I can take the habits I learned this month and keep applying them to my spending overall. It’s not like I own a terrible amount of stuff now, but I’m well on my way, and I’d like to avoid that.
The best thing I learned was to simply be aware: of every unnecessary purchase, what caused me to want to spend money when I didn’t need to, and the methods I employed to avoid wasting. This month also helped to curb a growing clothes-buying compulsion I’ve been struggling with.
That said, I didn’t like the fact that I was so limited in my spending that, with this first attempt, I didn’t allow for emergencies – like extra gas or my engine coolant running out. The next time I attempt this (read: sometime next year), I will probably set a slightly higher limit and maybe reserve $25.00 to be spent only in emergencies and only in the last 3-5 days. I will also choose a month with 30 days, not 31.
At present, my aim is to set limits on how much I’m allowed to spend in a few areas, like clothing, health and beauty products (I love mascara), stationary, and food – particularly eating out. I’ll practice keeping track of my spending for the rest of the year and go from there based on what I learn.
Though it kind of defeats the purpose, I will be heading out immediately to buy things now that my spending restrictions have eased up. My toothbrush is in shambles, someone made off with my last bar of body soap, $1 razors from Walmart are dangerous, and I’ve been grinding my teeth a lot lately and Jo has been singing the praises of mouth guards. I may also be spending more on food this month than usual because I’ll be house-sitting for the majority of it and have some recipes I want to try. On the plus side, I won’t have to touch July’s second paycheck for any of this. If possible, I would like to save the majority of one of August’s paychecks.
Thanks for following this challenge! As with every challenge, sharing it on this blog and with my family really helped, particularly as I struggled to curb impulse spending, which is probably how I managed to do as well as I did.