A month ago I decided to stop spending money more-or-less cold turkey. I mean, I still paid my bills and filled up my car with gasoline and went to the grocery store, but the plan was to cut out as much superfluous spending as possible. Overall, I am quite pleased with how I did on this. To recap, I had become very lazy about bringing my lunch to work, making my own dinner, and had dozens of little impulse purchases adding up to a significant chunk of money every month. I was still living within my means, but I was really surprised to do the math and see just where my money was going
In the last month I have not bought any clothes, not even a cheap t-shirt or pair of socks. I have not bought any books, which might actually have been a first for me in many, many years. I did not go to Target to wander and I did not buy any new beauty products to try. I cancelled my monthly car wash “subscription” and also cancelled my monthly massage–both of which I think will stay cancelled. I looked at my cell phone bill and my internet bill and have made steps to reduce the prices on both of those things. I was careful about my grocery shopping and made serious efforts to eat the things in my fridge instead of letting them go bad.
Now, the one area that had been the biggest offender of random purchases was in taking myself out to lunch. I wish I could tell you that I didn’t do that once in the last 4 weeks, but that’s not true. I was a lot more careful, and on the days when I forgot to bring my lunch I opted to get the cheapest sandwich instead of something I would truly enjoy. Not sure if that last part was really necessary, but it made the idea of going out to lunch a lot less desirable, which was kind of the point.
I also wish I could tell you that my bank account has eleventy-million dollars in it now, but, um, that’s not true either. I was able to put some extra funds in my savings account, and pay for some updates for the new house. Moving forward this summer I want to keep some of these changes and I want to be careful not to fall back into old, comfortable habits–especially the ones that involve waltzing myself to lunch five days a week–and I will be more diligent about creating and sticking to a monthly budget to save up for larger ticket items, contribute to my savings account, and generally curb my consumerism. Win-win, right?