Week #4: The End…or is it the Beginning?

Full disclosure, I am not 2 days late in my final week post.  I decided to draw week four out into this week so that it would cover the last two days of April.  It seemed easier than doing a week five post for two days. I will say, as the end of April has approached, I have had two very different thoughts regarding our non-essential spending freeze.  My first thought has been “Yahoo! The month is over and so is this experiment”. My second thought is “Ok, I did it for one month, now I need to keep this focus going forward.”

Ultimately, I think that this non-essential spending freeze has been a partial success.  My husband and I have definitely spent more than we probably should, and have broken the rules that we set for ourselves.  But, I also feel like I have been more aware of my spending. And it is this awareness, that will lead to accountability and hopefully behavior change in the long run.

When I started this challenge, I acknowledged that the thought of budgeting can send people into a tailspin of feeling limited, making excuses, and eventually giving up.  This challenge definitely caused me to feel these emotions and more. But I think there is a positive message to be found here as well. Spending is not evil, but spending without thought and accountability can lead to overspending and debt.  I think as I move forward and continue to try to work our daily lives around a budget that makes sense for us, it is this accountability that I hope I bring with me.

With that, here is a summary of our week # 4 spending:

$162 for our Insurance.  We pay our renters insurance and our car insurance once a month.

$150 for our Cell Phone.  We have 3 phones on our plan and we only pay for a small amount of data each month.

$119 for Groceries.  We went to the store four times, and had lists for three of our trips.

$12 at Gas Stations for coffee and food.  With my husband’s schedule sometimes he has to pick things up to eat or drink when he’s out late.

$26 to get two movie tickets. If you remember when we set the ground rules, my husband and I allowed ourselves one movie this month.  We went to see Avengers End Game for his birthday. No spoilers, I promise, but I thought the movie was AMAZING!

$42 at Target.  This was a trip to pick up some personal products that we were running low on.

$63 on Pet Supplies.  We had to buy our cat more food at Pet Smart and we also ordered some CBD Oil treats for our dog.  Our dog is 13 and has some pretty bad arthritis so hopefully this will help!

$27 on Coffee Out.  I went to coffee with a friend one Sunday afternoon.  I also took my husband home coffee and a treat from our favorite coffee shop for his birthday.

$40 on Coffee Gift Cards.  One of these $20 gift cards is a reloadable one that my husband loads every month for work.  We’ve found this is a good way to budget for his coffee while he’s at work. The other gift card is to pay someone for watching our cat.

$20 on a Guide Book.  I splurged and got a guide book for our trip in a few weeks.  I decided this would be better than using a ton of data while we were gone to find maps and things to do.  This was definitely not necessary, but I am glad that I got one.

$12 on Ice Cream.  This is the second time that we celebrated a small win in our lives with ice cream, it wasn’t budgeted, but it was worth it.

$150 at Amazon.  We bought some things that we both needed and also wanted for our trip in May.  This was definitely not in the budget.

$64 on Eating Out.  This was spent over 4 meals, and none of these meals were spent together.  This is more than we should have spent.

$310 on Prescription Sunglasses.  After updating my regular glasses, I realized that my prescription sunglasses were VERY overdue for an update.  I kept the frames and just paid for new lenses, so hopefully I saved some money there.

Total Spent: $1,197

We definitely didn’t stick to our budget this week as much as we could have or should have.  I know that slip ups happen, but I think that the truth is that we stopped focusing on our spending and stopped trying to keep the non-essential spending freeze in place.  On my part, I know that there were several times I heard the voice in my head tell me not to spend on something, and I ignored it. I do believe life is about balance. I can’t ignore that voice every time, but I also want to still be able to live my life.  So, while today is the last day of April and the non-essential spending freeze, I hope for me that this will be the beginning of a deeper awareness in what I spend and why.

What about you, if you’ve done a no-spend challenge how did you find your behaviors changed (or didn’t) once the challenge was over?

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