First, I want to explain why I haven’t shared what my husband spent money on this past Friday. A couple of times a year, my husband, son, and father-in-law go camping for a weekend. They had planned several weeks ago (before we decided October would be a no-spend month) to go this past weekend. My husband took $60 cash with them and spent $22 on groceries, $16 for the campsite, and $28 at a restaurant. They always go to a buffet on Friday night. My husband spent a little more than what he had in cash, but technically, some of the campsite fee and groceries were for Sunday, November 1st. So why didn’t I share that sooner? When I am home alone with my kids, I do not want the whole world to know. I feel safe where we live, but I would rather not announce to everyone that my husband will not be home all weekend, especially on Halloween. It’s just my overprotective nature.
Our no-spend month is over, and we only spent money out of our checking account on gas (3 times), copays at the doctor’s office (3 kids), prescriptions (3 antibiotics), and whatever extra my guys spent this past weekend. We think we saved close to $2000 by not spending in October. We sat down Sunday and planned our spending for November and came up with amounts for groceries and household items, personal care (haircuts, makeup, etc.), dining out, office supplies, and clothing. Now if we could just get to the bank to get some cash, we could implement the envelope system.
We went a whole month without eating out, except for Saturday nights due to our church schedule and the days my husband had meetings or classes. That alone saved us at least $200 and 5,000 calories! We were already eating at home most of the time, but I had to be more intentional about planning and preparing things ahead of time to ensure that we wouldn’t end up eating out.
My makeup and all of our other personal hygiene and cosmetic items (miraculously) lasted all month. I ordered new foundation and scheduled a haircut for myself as soon as November started. We ran out of black ink for our printer on Thursday, so I printed everything in color for a few days. We used all of the napkins, and had to use paper towels or cloth napkins for the last week. We needed more dishwasher detergent, and my mother-in-law gave us more than enough to last the rest of the month.
We not only survived–we succeeded. We saved hundreds of dollars. We made things last longer than we thought possible. We made use of all of our resources and refused to spend unnecessary money. We convinced ourselves and the kids (at least for one month) that we could live without many things. We discussed needs and wants and taught our kids lessons about materialism and entitlement. I think this was a good experience for our family, and I would like to do it again. My children still need to learn some lessons because they never want to be deprived again, which means we definitely need to do it again.