Spending Ban Update: Month 2!
It’s that time again! Time for the month 2 spending ban update! If you’re looking for why I put myself on a spending ban, you can read the entire post here or just catch the synopsis.
Basically, I plan on buying a house this year. I’m participating in a grant and the money is available to me starting April 1st. While getting a grant is incredibly helpful, I still want to put down some of my own money on 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 need to put myself on a spending ban to get me up to where I want to be.
How I’m starting and how you can too!
First of all, set a dollar amount that’s doable.
You want to pick a goal that’s difficult but still attainable. Don’t overestimate what you can actually save in a month or you’ll get discouraged. My savings goal for February was to set aside an additional $500 on top of my regular savings into my account.
Go through your budget and decide what is a necessary expense and what isn’t.
Obviously bills are non-negotiable. You may have heard that I went on a vacation this month. How’d I manage that on a spending ban you ask? Well, I have a separate vacation savings account that had some money in it. I didn’t spend over what was in that account and I had miles on my credit card that I was able to use to pay for a hotel room. You can go on vacation on a budget!
Set an allowance.
You can’t just not spend any money for three months. Dinner with friends will be tempting, a car will need an oil change and an ice cream might just be what the doctor ordered on a crappy day. Set up an allowance to account for those things. 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. Definitely failed at this one this month. I didn’t give myself an allowance at all and just sort of spent money as needed and deducted as necessary.
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, leave the debit card at home. It’s too easy to swipe. While I didn’t give myself an allowance I did do most of my spending in cash so that I’d keep better track of what I was spending. On both of my paydays in February I took out some cash, whatever I didn’t spent I used towards my vacation so I could use less from my vacation fund.
Keep the temptations away.
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. I’ve been doing a great job of using up tons of products that I’ve had lying around. No new purchases for me so far this year. I’ve still got that Ulta gift card but i’m saving that for a rainy day. The only problem with this is that my skin has not been too happy lately. Let me know what skincare products you’re loving in the comments!
Eye that checking account.
You probably 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. This has really been the most important thing for me. Keeping better track of where my money is actually going. I kept on top of my checking account so much better this month! With transferring money around for vacation and getting my tax refund back I was in and out of my checking account a lot making sure all the extra money I had immediately went into my savings account.
How much did I save? I was able to put away the extra $500 I budgeted for into my savings! That was a huge accomplishment for me.
How much debt did I deduct? I had a debt pay down goal of $200 which I didn’t do, at all. My State refund will be about that much so when it comes in i’ll be transferring it right onto my car loan.
How much did I spend? Less than $200 this month! I checked and double checked my receipts because I couldn’t believe it. Luckily I had no unexpected charges this month. Most of my money went to food, unsurprisingly.
I want to save an additional $500 and be able to put $100 back into my vacation account. Can I do it? I’ll let you know come the end of March!
Hope you enjoyed my spending ban update, it’s really helping to keep me accountable! I hope you all are getting some tips and inspiration out of this little series i’m doing. Please, let me know if you’ve ever been on a spending ban in the comments!