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Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Musings: Weeks 26 & 27 -- 6 Months Into Our Challenge

It’s already July and summer is in full swing. It's hard to believe we're halfway through our spending challenge. After the weekly stats, I’ve included a 2nd quarter spending chart and a chart compiling my household spending and savings for the first half of 2014. If you want to review my 1st quarter spending, look here.

Here are my stats.

Week 26's spending was the smallest ever. (It's amazing how easy it is to stop spending when you hardly leave the house!) Then I made up for it in Week 27. In my defense, we did have a 4th of July party that required extra grocery expenditures.
                   
Week 26 Spending
 Groceries    
$45
Total  
$45

Week 27 Spending
Groceries   (includes extended family 4th of July Party)
$213
Toiletries
$26
Gifts                  
$8
Total  
$247

Second Quarter Spending (Weeks 14-26)
Category
Spent
Budgeted 
Savings
Groceries
$1411
$2100
$689
Miscellaneous
$94
$360         
$266
School
$56
$150
$94
Entertainment
$112
$225
$113
Toiletries
$120
$150
$30
Piano Lessons
$60
$240
$180
Clothing
$128
$180
$52
Gifts
$153
$225
$72
Hair Care
$17
$90
$73
Benevolence
$48
$105
$57
Discretionary Cash
$40
$75
$35
Total  
$2239
$3900
$1661

Combining data from the 1st and 2nd quarters gives us the 6-month report.
6 Months Spending (Weeks 1-26)
Category
Spent
Budgeted 
Savings
Groceries
$2877
$4200
$1323
Miscellaneous
$117
$720        
$603
School
$307
$300
-($7)
Entertainment
$444
$450
$6
Toiletries
$294
$300
$6
Piano Lessons
$140
$480
$340
Clothing
$174
$360
$186
Gifts
$258
$450
$192
Hair Care
$17
$180
$163
Benevolence
$48
$210
$162
Discretionary Cash
$115
$150
$35
6 Month Total  
$4791
$7800
$3009




Orthodontist
$2666
$0
-($2666)
FINAL TOTAL
$7457
$7800
$343


Here are some thoughts.

! In the 6 months we’ve participated in the spending challenge, I’ve saved over $3000 -- 39% of my household budget. I’ve done this by following the “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” principle. During that time, I’ve only gone over budget in my school category. This has mainly been due to basketball-related expenses which I probably should have included in my miscellaneous category.

! With the $3009 savings, we were able to make a one-time cash payment for our daughter’s braces. We received a $140 discount for paying up front. After the braces payment, we’ve still saved $343.

! Not spending money on unnecessary items has become a habit for me. I maintain a shopping list, and I stick to it. I don’t wander in stores, and I stay away from the clearance aisle unless I’m looking for a specific item.

! Our quality of life really hasn’t declined. We’ve been more creative in cooking and entertainment choices. The kids are being more selective as they are required to use their spending money.

! We’re finding ways to repair things that we previously would have cast aside and replaced, and we’re realizing that we don’t really need a lot of the things we thought we couldn’t live without.

! I’m spending time on creative pursuits as I make gifts and “make do.” Having a creative outlet is an important way in which I feed my soul, and I’m glad our spending challenge has “forced” me back into it.

! Taking on a de-cluttering mission while being fully involved with a spending challenge, working a freelance job requiring 20-30 hours each week, home-educating 3 children, caring for a family and running a household is just way too much. I’ve decided to set aside the de-cluttering and plan to take it back up next January if things calm down a bit.


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