Back in January, I mentioned that we were planning to do a no-buy month challenge to help detox from the holidays. And it's about time that I share the results. We planned for January to be a month with no discretionary spending. Aside from bills and you know, feeding ourselves, we weren't supposed to spend anything extra.What did we cut out of our budget?
You are supposed to cut out anything unnecessary. And for the most part, we did that. No unnecessary purchases, that meant nothing for the house, no new clothes, and no salon visits. We even cut the dog's toy budget, not sure how he felt about that.
What did we keep in our budget?
A kept a few things that were technically unnecessary within our budget. For example, date nights. We have a category for this in our monthly budget. It's nothing excessive, just enough to cover a nice dinner out once a month and a little extra for activities in the city. This is really important for us in terms of fostering our relationship, so we didn't touch our date budget. Also, we didn't completely eliminate eating out. We did spend significantly less, but I knew it would be impractical to believe that we would cook 3x day. So yea, we still left a little money for Chipotle.
Did we Cheat?
Well yes, yes we did. How much we cheated depends on your definition of cheating. We had a nice little stack of gift cards from Christmas. Between the lure of the after Christmas sales and gift cards, we did a little shopping. Gift cards bought a couple of trips to Starbucks and Tom got new pants from J.Crew. We also picked up a few things for the apartment (nothing over $10) like dish towels and new clay pots for our succulents. You don't really realize how often you just "pick" things up at Target until you're not supposed too.
Did we Save any Money?
Even though we cheated a little, we definitely saved a bit. Obviously, we couldn't go every month forgoing dry cleaning or not buying dog treats. But we can work to spend less.
What did we learn?
I'm thankful we tried this challenge because is was a good lesson in living with less. We ended the month with savings and identified the categories in our budget where we can stand to improve in the future. We will absolutely be trying this again in the future.