Hey ya’ll! It’s time for my first monthly spending ban update!
If you didn’t read that post, or just need a recap, I’ve put myself on a spending ban because I want to buy a house! And soon. I’m participating in a grant and the money is available to me starting April 1st. I want to put down some of my own money on top of the grant money for the house. I have a set goal that I want to have in my savings so that I can put a certain amount down and still have a safety net. Because I want to have a set dollar amount in my savings by the end of March, I needed to put myself on a spending ban.
My Monthly Spending Ban Update!
Set a dollar amount that’s doable.
You want to pick a goal that’s difficult but still attainable. My savings goal was an additional $400 per month. Normally I have a certain amount every paycheck that goes into savings and I wanted to put $400 on top of that.
Go through your budget and decide what is a necessary expense and what isn’t.
Obviously bills are non-negotiable. I did end up getting a small deduction in my cell phone bill which was great. I wasn’t using nearly as much data as I was paying for so I changed my plan. $10 a month doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s $120 per year!
Set an allowance.
You can’t just not spend any money for three months. I already set aside $40 from each of my paychecks to go into a vacation account and I’ve decided that for the next three months i’ll be allowing myself to use that as my allowance. If I need a new toothbrush, a dinner with a friend or just really need to go to happy hour I can use my allowance and not feel guilty. This ended up not working so well. I never ended up doing the allowance thing. I had some cash from Christmas that I used up and my brother gave me cash that he owed me so I used that as my allowance and never took a withdrawal from my account.
Cash is king.
Keeping your allowance in cash helps you to realize just how much you’re spending. I always keep a credit card on hand for emergencies but I leave the debit card at home. Cash is king for sure. I really thought about the purchases I did make because I was watching my wallet empty. Below i’m going to lay out every. single. thing. I spent money on in January.
Keep the temptations away.
Lots of stores have sales right after the new year. Unsubscribe from emails, uninstall any shopping apps on your phone and don’t clip any coupons! Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you’re saving money. If you weren’t going to buy it in the first place you aren’t saving anything. Use a holiday gift card to shop if it’s an absolute must. I don’t want to go three months without new makeup or clothes but I know I’ve got plenty of both. My inbox has never looked nicer! I couldn’t give up my Ulta emails (I’ve got a gift card burning a hole in my pocket) but everything else went away.
Eye that checking account.
If you’re like me, you pay all of your bills online. To make things easier, add up what you need to have to pay your bills for the month and transfer the rest out into your savings. If you’re on a bi-weekly pay schedule figure out what bills get paid out of which check and transfer the extra to your savings accordingly. The less extra money you leave in your checking account the less likely you’ll be to spend it. If you can, setting up automatic transfers into your savings account will greatly help. I sort of did this, and sort of didn’t. I logged into my checking account online the day before each paycheck and transferred out the money I didn’t need.
So, what did I buy?
On Amazon I bought Buffering by Hannah Hart ($3.99). It has been on my reading list and the price was too good to pass up. PicMonkey– ($33.00) I pay for a yearly subscription and it just happened to be up in January. Sunoco gas – $26.33. 1TB Harddrive ($57.23) I picked this for my mother for her birthday, she’s been needing one and I had gotten our home movies digitized for Christmas. DMV Vehicle Registration ($57.00) this only happens every 2 years and it just happened to occur during my spending ban. Groceries ($55.74) yes, I am aware at how lucky I am that I don’t have to pay for most of my food (thanks mom, i’m eternally grateful!). SiteGround Domain 1yr ($14.99) I recently switched hosts and had to pay for the domain. Phone charger ($28.34), mine finally died. It had had been holding on for dear life for months. Housing Class ($70.00) this was required by my grant program and was a one time expense. I bought Towels ($47.20) at Target. They were having a white sale and I have no towels for my new house. No excuses and I don’t feel guilty. Sunoco gas ($25.62). I went out to eat and had 2 beers and shared a pizza at Browns Brewery ($20.00). And finally, I went to an Ice Bar and got myself a beer ($7.00).
What did I save?
I mentioned earlier that my goal for the month was to save $400. That’s an additional amount from what I normally put in the bank. I ended up depositing $383.11 extra into my savings account which I think is pretty awesome.
What did I learn?
Not to be so hard on myself when I spend money! Some of those expenses I listed above were a bummer (the phone charger, DMV and the housing class) but, they were all necessary expenses. Things are going to come up and it’s good to be prepared. I also learned that I can still have fun and not spend a lot of money! I still went out with friends and managed to have a great time.
What are my February goals?
Same as January, save $400 on top of what I already put into savings. I’d like to to be able to put $200 extra onto my car bill for the month. Over President’s Day weekend i’ll be going on a mini vacation. I know i’ll be spending some money (I got my hotel for free using my credit card rewards!) so i’m going to try to not be too hard on myself. I do have a “vacation” fund that should cover me fully though. It’s also tax season! While I haven’t filed my taxes yet I know that if I get a refund I’ll be adding to my savings.
Do you guys have any plans for your tax return? I also really want to know if you’ve been on a spending ban before! Let me know in the comments!
Feeling generous? Give this guy a pin!