As quickly as May seemed to arrive, it’s already time to say goodbye and into another month. At the beginning of the month I set myself to a challenge; to have a no spend month. This means limiting spending to just the necessities and banning all other spending. I chose to do this as I feel like our finances are getting off track, and, to be honest, I feel like I’m losing my frugal mojo a bit.
I have done updates during the month on how the challenge has been going, see them here:
So, at the end of May, our spending (without the monthly payments such as mortgage, council tax, water rates and gas/elec):
- Food – £194.41. At the twenty day mark I said I had hoped to keep our food spend under £180 for the month, so you can see that I haven’t managed to keep to this. We do buy more fresh food than we used to, as the Frugal Baby really enjoys eating strawberries and fresh fruit, so I’m not overly concerned with this really.
- Baby related – £80.43. This is mainly formula as it is £10 a tub plus food and snacks for the Frugal Baby. Non-negotiable spends here. We also went to a nearly new sale in town and got the Frugal Baby a sit on car and a trike for £4.50.
- Deposit for cake smash photo shoot – £50. We had decided a while ago that we would get some professional photographs taken for the Frugal Baby’s first birthday, so booked this and paid the deposit.
- Haircut – £55. I booked this a month ago, long before I thought about doing a No Spend Month, although this isn’t a necessity. I get my hair cut twice a year, as I have long hair and don’t know how to do it myself. I’ve also had a slightly different haircut this time, which is why it cost more than normal.
- Petrol – £83.17. This is a necessity as I now have to get to work and back! Although I’m working three days a week and not five, petrol costs soon add up.
- Car MOT and service – £200. I had forgotten about this at the beginning of the challenge, and this obviously adds a lot to our overall spending. However, a MOT is a necessity and this has been a lot higher in the past. Unavoidable cost I suppose.
- Cats – £5.35. Cat food for the two Frugal Cats. Non negotiable really!
Thoughts on the challenge:
- Purposely not spending money is actually a lot harder than it seems. If you honestly buy only what you truly need, your spends on a day to day, week to week basis would be very little. It is so easy to spend a bit here and there, on nothing in particular.
- I thought we kept our food spending low, though, as can be seen from this, they’re not as low as I thought they were. Ordering meat from an online company means buying more that a week’s worth, but even so, our spends here are creeping up. I wonder if that’s just prices going up, or are we buying more that we don’t need?
- Even though I thought we were fairly frugal, there are lots of areas that we could do better on. I am working on using up items in our stockpile that we have had for a while, such as the multiple tins of pulses in the cupboard. I made a lovely roasted carrot, butternut squash and chickpea soup last week that used up all things in the store cupboard and was delicious. But, there are still lots of things we could do better on!
- Decluttering and simplifying our lives is definitely a slow process. I’ve got a couple of things on eBay and some more to list. But, continuing to live with less is a continuing goal of mine.
- Even with the best intentions, expenses can crop up when you’re not expecting them. I had honestly forget about the car MOT and service this month, so that’s a significance expense to add to the month. It’s not something you should forget really, but even the most organised of people can have unexpected expenses crop up!
- It does make you question the little things. I hadn’t realised just how many little spends had crept into our everyday spending; a coffee here and there, a slice of cake or even the bus into town rather than walking all adds up after 31 days. Doing the challenge has made me question the little things more, which I should probably do anyway!
Did you join in with the challenge? How did you get on?