Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Earlier I posted that Shane and I challenged ourselves to curb our spending on non-essential and/or unplanned purchases this month. The month is half over and I think we've done fairly well. We talked ourselves out of a spur-of-the-month trip to the Chinese buffet, a tour of the after-Christmas sales all over town, and a quick stop at the freight salvage place to see what's new this month.

We've been pretty strict with ourselves, but we aren't perfect. The first week we spent $33. I bought some cookies, a burger that came with a free drink, and a Sunday newspaper. Shane bought an alternator/battery checker at the auto parts store, an open-but-new package of socks for less than half price, and a 30-pack of beer. While some of these things were useful, and many were tasty, we couldn't classify them as needs. I'll be lenient and say the alternator tester and the socks were questionable needs, but not immediate ones.

During the second week, we spent $23. This time our purchases were a microwave snack cake mix which I tried unsuccessfully to justify as emergency PMS medication, and another 30-pack of beer. Shane also bought lunch once or twice, but he bought it out of his discretionary spending money (aka, allowance) so I'm not counting that.

The beer purchases have caused a small debate between us. I like beer, but obviously, it isn't necessary to our health or well-being. I don't make allowance for it in our grocery budget, although Shane thinks I should. On the other hand, we don't need coffee or soda either, but I'll be buying coffee this week as a budgeted grocery item. (We seldom buy pop for home consumption.) We aren't making a huge deal of the beer vs. coffee debate, but we are making a mental note that under different circumstances, they'd both be at the top of the list of things to cut back on or eliminate.

Clearly, we could have done a little better, but I'm pleased with just $56 in extraneous spending in two weeks. But lest I send out the wrong message, this is not about denying ourselves some cookies or a hamburger now and then. This is more of an exercise than anything else. It's a way to remind ourselves that if we can get a handle on the small purchases, we can surely keep the larger ones under control.

I'll let you know how we do the rest of the month.


Donna said...

Sounds like you two are doing a great job!!! Hang in there!

Tug said...

Even with diets, you are usually told to not TOTALLY deny your 'cravings', to give in once in awhile. This, in my mind, is where the coffee & beer come in. Not necessarily 'cravings', but you get my point. You're doing SO AWESOME just paying more attention & actually tracking it...give yourselves a 'happy'. ;-)

Annie Jones said...

Donna: It really hasn't been as difficult as we thought, either. :)

Tug: That's a good way to think of the coffee and treats or little luxuries.

I don't want to get too into the tracking, but I know a lot of money was being spent on things we tried to justify as needs, but they were just wants. Some of them not even wants...just bargains.