Photo credit: cafeluna.net (secret: you can make that meal at home for about $3.50 instead of spending $20 at a cafe…I know, that’s no fun, it’s just for one month)
Before you start throwing away those knick-knacks throw away that credit card. Just kidding…sort of…but do put it away for the month. Here’s the plan: you need to put yourself on a buying ban. For the next 30 days do not buy anything that is not a necessity. Trust me you can do this for one month.
The lesson to be learned is what you are buying on impulse, what you are buying out of convenience, and to learn how much you can save your wallet and your house from all the unnecessary stuff.
Join me in my 30-day buying ban. Nothing but bills, groceries, and toiletries are being bought. It’s hard, it takes thought but like anything that first seems difficult it has turned into a huge lesson for us. I’ve even had some great conversations with our oldest girl about the cost of stuff.
First, decide what you consider a necessity and make a written list to be hung on the fridge. Cait Flanders writes a beautiful blog about her experience with going on a 2-year buying ban! It’s also quite inspirational when you need words of encouragement in the middle of your buying ban. When you hear how much she saved you’ll be sure to sign yourself up for the challenge.
Here’s what are our necessities:
- toiletries – only as needed, no stocking up
- new shoes for our kiddos – those little feet grow way too fast
- house maintenance – only if something breaks
Here is what specifically is not allowed:
- eating out
- coffee to go
- new clothes, new shoes, etc.
- all that extra junk I buy at the grocery store that’s not on the list.
- household items – even those that seem necessary today are not, put it on a list and see if you still ‘need’ it 30 days from now
It’s important to set parameters on your shopping ban. Add or subtract as you wish but set yourself definitive boundaries. Post that list to the fridge, the bathroom mirror, where ever. Text it to your spouse on the day you think they might cheat or when you might cheat. Post a picture of what you will do with your saved money.
Our downfall is food. I buy extra goodies at the grocery store and eat out way too much. I didn’t think it was really that much, only a few times a week, but after I added up our restaurant bills – including coffee to go – we spent over $500 last month! I mean seriously, that’s ridiculous. I dare you to add up your coffee, convenience store stops, and restaurant bills.
In the future, we plan to set a restaurant and coffee budget per month. I have plans to get back onto Dave Ramsey’s plan, we fell off the bandwagon a few years ago.
Please share what you overspend on, the hardest thing for you to give up, and what you plan to do with your saved cash.