Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our January Spending Fast

The last month has been a doozy, money-wise. I had to pay for school, do the Christmas present thing (even though I made gifts there was still a bit of money involved), gas for the car so I could take care of some of the extra errands (re: hauling stuff around, otherwise I would have biked), friends in town, etc etc, the list goes on!

I made just over $800 last month (yeehaw! ha ha) and we just barely covered expenses for things. We haven't been able to put any money into savings since I got back to Portland two months ago and it sucks. Therefore, one of the things Jonathan and I discussed while we were doing our coast trip is to do a spending fast. For the month of January we are only buying necessities. Heck, we may even end up doing it for an extra month or two, I don't know. What I do know is that I like regularly putting money into savings.

So. This means not going out for drinks (which I don't feel like we do hardly ever, but Mint.com told me otherwise for December), no random food bought out because we didn't plan ahead/were too lazy to prepare snacks/whatever, no buying anything other than what we absolutely NEED.


*I have been looking for a large desk with an overhead shelf on Craigslist for the past month because I would like a workstation to do homework at. Our current desk is not much bigger than our computer, which means if I need to go to a quiet place to do my statistics homework I have to sit on my bed, which is not my ideal studying location. It is too easy to slack if I am too comfy. Therefore, I am going to continue my daily search for a desk with a shelf to put the printer on.

*I'm still going to be selling my books and buying the eBook version (if it is a book I want to keep) because there are not a whole lot of books I really want to keep. I currently keep 20% of my paycheck to do whatever I want with (J and I both put 80% of our paychecks into our shared account), which works out to about $150 a month, not counting any income from selling things online, the amount I get to keep per bar of soap sold (my cut is $1, baby!), or anything like that. I'm estimating it will take about $250 to replace my books with eBooks, which average $9.99. I'm trying to downsize my stuff still and so while I could technically wait to buy the eBooks until after the spending fast, I know it's money that would still be spent and I have totally rocked putting money into my Antarctica trip fund so I am not worried about $250 not going into there. I have been Turking my butt off to get money to put into that savings fund, so I think I'm doing fine. After the books are replaced I'm just going to return back to funneling all my money into my savings fund, so no biggie.

*We are getting a cat this month. A cat is a necessity for my mental health and general happiness. (Finnegan didn't work out with our family. He was waaaayyyyy too rambunctious and he was too much cat for our tiny apartment. Luckily, the other family who wanted him still wanted him so he is doing great with them.)

*I will still pay for film processing. I got three rolls processed last week for a grand total of $8. I scan film myself to save more money (see where I'm going with this?). It's $2 a roll for 35mm film and $4 for 120 film at my camera shop. That's pretty cheap. I don't use a super ton of film, so I will allow myself to use my film cameras normally. I would have to try pretty hard to spend $10 a month at the rate I'm going.

I don't forsee any other exceptions. That is that. I am looking forward to seeing how a "normal" month goes in funds for us!

Have you ever done a spending fast or cut yourself off from buying things for any length of time? How did that work out?

P.S. I got the idea of a spending fast from And Then She Saved, a blog I love reading because Anna is upbeat and doesn't make not spending money sound like a horrible thing. Plus, there are a lot of other readers in the same boat as me right now! Join us and sign the pledge! :o)


  1. Great post, and definitely an inspiration. I'm going to look at my expenses and make a pledge myself. Good luck!

  2. Awesome!! Do it! December suuucked as far as spending money goes. We are usually pretty good, but now it's time to rein it in. I'm actually looking forward to it!

  3. Ugh, January (through June, probably) is going to be a spending fast. We have a weekly cash budget that's supposed to cover groceries and all non-bill items and we've exceeded it the last few months. But! I still get the weekly allowance, so if we only buy groceries and I cook more I can "pocket" the rest each week. We usually save up that extra money for our next trip, so we have more spending cash.

    Good luck with the fasting!

  4. You are so good. December (and January so far) has been terrible for me, spending-wise. Apart from Christmas which was expensive as always, I have a conference coming up with a gala evening... and of course I didn't NEED new shoes or a new dress, but I've been feeling low in the attractive department and somehow talked myself into them.

    I'm usually not a big spender, but I always feel like it would be good to know WHERE my money is going, even if I always seem to have enough of it. I've tried making budgets, but I always lose track of my receipts and how much I've spent and it all goes to heck. So, good on you for doing this! I'm sure it will be easier than you think. :)

  5. Love this idea! And I love the 'and then she saved' blog, thanks so much for sharing that one :) I did a month last year of a spending fast and found it was quite nice. Not having to 'want' anything at stores was great! I didn't have to chose my decision was already made for me. Have fun with it! Thanks for being the motivation for us to do another month, or two!