Saturday, July 1, 2017

Money Matters: #NoSpendJune

End of May I was looking at my finance and was like whoa and a side of holy shit! I have been spending money like it's water!

Thankfully I didn't spend above my means the first five months of 2017 but I like to live well below my means and I was NOT doing that. My one-click finger was in need of a time out. So I declared that #NoSpendJune would be a thing!

Expenses Allowed

Fixed Costs (mortgage, electric, etc)
Previously scheduled events 
(book club dinner, gun range)
Credits/Gift Cards

Expenses Banned

Any frivolous spending!

Made A Spreadsheet 
I needed a baseline. And something to keep me honest during the month.
➤ First step was tracking. I made a sheet in my planner that would record every single item I purchased even if it went on a credit card and how it was paid for (Credit 1, Credit 2, Bank, GiftCard)
 ➤ I calculated my "base budget" of things I HAVE to pay (mortgage, insurance, electric, water, cell, internet, cat food/litter)
Cancelled Things 
I went through the last few months of bills and marked any 'extras' I didn't need and canceled or reduced frequency. A lot of things I had been just leaving since it 'wasn't that much'
➤ Canceled Adobe Stock (they recently tripled their fee from 10 to 32 per month). Then bitched until they waived my cancellation fee of $160
➤ Canceled Green Chef-- I prefer HelloFresh and didn't want to risk an accidental delivery
➤ Paused Graze (will likely cancel next month). This is one of those 'it's just $10' things that I never bothered to cancel
➤ Canceled Ipsy- Another 'it's just $10'. I liked it at first but repeats and wrong colors made it meh. I was really just keeping it for the cute bag. 
Cook At Home/Groceries!
No eating out. I allowed two book club outings but limited cost and paid in cash I had from April. I think total for 2 book club outings was $25.
Stop using the grocery store deli for a quick lunch/dinner. It's an amazing deli but really $5-15 each time adds up. I allowed one slice of pizza during the month for $1.99
Stick to the list! I caught myself and put items back multiple times when I'd reach for the pre-made/frozen item when grocery shopping that I could just make at home for cheaper. A buck here and there saved. 
Comparison Shop-- Local vs Online is amazing! I'll save about $50 a month buying my cat food/litter there. Plus free shipping. I set up a 2 week subscription delivery as well for the extra discount. 
➤ Some cleaning supplies are cheaper on Amazon, too.

Return Things/Ask for Discounts
This saved me a lot. It's a little extra time spent but worth it, I think.
➤ I bought some mouse supplies locally then found them WAY cheaper online. So returned the 2 and bought 3 online for the same price.
➤ I bought a faulty shower head online. It was only $20 and usually I'd just toss and forget it but I contacted them and they offered a refund even though return period was over. 
➤ I tried a new blog service that was $20 for the year. It ended up not being what I need at all. Again, I'd usually just forget it. But contacted them and they refunded my payment and closed the account for me. 
Phone Cell Plans!  - I called Verizon and told them I need to spend less money what could we do? She looked up my account and gave me options. My monthly bill went from $77.86 to... $43.50! And without me needing to change usage habits. It took about 40 minutes of my time start to finish with no extended contract. 

Rewards & Credits
Credit Card Rewards! Both of mine offer reward dollars which I rarely use. I finally decided to sit down and look it over and actually use them. It's free and I can trade for gift cards to Amazon/HomeDepot/etc, payment towards my bill, etc.
Gift Cards-- I have SO many of these laying around that have just a little on them. Or are stores I don't go to often. I pulled them all out and checked balances and put them together in ONE spot so I won't forget them.
Use What You Have
Use gift/sample sized items, half bottles, etc. I ran out of my body wash. Usually I'd just buy a new bottle at the store for $3-5 and not think about it. Instead I went through my cabinets that are too full and found all my little sample bottles and used those. There's nothing wrong with them...why not use em? I have similar with all my bathroom supplies and cleaning supplies...use what I have first THEN buy.
The freezer and pantry. I started clearing them out. I've bought a lot on sales over the months and it just collects. So I started getting creative with meals and using those things. So I really only had to buy fake meat and perishable things.

Yall. It's disgusting. I cut my spending in half. In. Half. That's insane. More than in half, actually. I spent 64% less than I did the previous months. I can't believe how much I was spending (even if it wasn't above my means) without realizing it. It's all those dang little charges. $1-$20 here or there adds up!

It's WAY too easy to be a consumer. And a frivolous one, at that. I need WAY less than what I think. I cut back a lot this month but I didn't feel deprived.

It was hard work, though. I had to keep on it. Keep thinking about it. Make better or alternative choices but in the end it was well worth it. I'm going to be able to make three extra monthly principal payments towards my mortgage (trying to pay my loan off 9 years early) and put some in savings, too.

I'm planning on doing similar in July. I will have some added expenses like a vet visit and eye appointment for me but gonna try and keep other spending down.


June 2017 Expenses

Fixed: Mortgage, Insurance, Electric, Water, Internet, Phone, Pet food/litter
Grocery: $294.23 (plus cleaning supplies and a couple things I needed for the house) I'd like to lower this
Gas: $63.24
Extras I allowed:
$10 donation purchase for the auction
$106 power tool that was needed (paid for with credit card rewards)
$8.57 Netflix
$22.50 gun rental
$20 stock supply for the blog (will cancel in July)
$24.99 for 2 subscription boxes (paid for with credit card rewards)
$.99 ebook (paid for with kindle credit and read immediately)
$25 cash for book club outings (piggybank raid)
Total: 86.07

I'm probably going to do some random Money Matters posts the rest of the year with things I try and changes I'm making. Keeps me a bit more accountable and maybe will help others at some point :)

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