She Hath Done What She Could in the Home

Monday, April 26, 2010

Keep Your Money May!

With only a few days left until May begins, I thought I would post about my pledge to myself to spend no money in May! We have started the Dave Ramsey videos and they are excellent. While we have always been a "no debt" family (because of my husband's foresight) I am still finding so many great tips in the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace series!

I tried the Envelope System in April and failed - first time is not the charm for me - it takes practice! I ran out of clothing money the first week, and grocery money on the third if at first you don't succeed, try, try again! I will give it a go again this month.

When I say I'm having a "Keep My Money May", it doesn't mean I won't spend a single dime. All regular fixed living expenses will be paid and this is what I will do with the "flexible" budget categories:

1. We will eat from the pantry. I have a stockpile of certain items that need used up anyhow. I will plan all my meals around what is in my pantry and freezer and buy only those few ingredients I will need to make meals. I will also buy the staples like milk, eggs, veggies, fruit.

2. I will NOT buy unnecessary clothing items! Let me repeat this to myself - I will NOT buy unnecessary clothing items. Ouch - hard one for me. If the kids need something, or the husband, fine, but I can't think of a single item I really need. We live on a budget, and the clothing allotment is a small single digit percentage of our total income (Dave Ramsey says this should be from 3%-7%). I could perhaps increase this at some point, but for now I'm good having it where it is. I promise, I just bought the kids new clothes around January and they have already outgrown many things! Growth spurt! Have to be saving up for needed items soon.

3. No eating out. This one won't be hard. We hardly ever eat out anyhow. I am Gluten sensitive and it's so hard to find a decent, organic healthy meal when eating out. I'd just rather eat at home! I will curtail my Starbucks trips in May (typically this comes out of my budgeted "mad money" fund and I stay within my budgeted amount each month, but for May I'm doing and exercise in discipline).

4. Become creative with entertainment. With nicer weather coming, it shouldn't be too hard to take a bike ride or spend a day at the beach instead of going to the movies or renting a DVD. I already have Iron Man scheduled in though for May 7th - we've been planning on that one for a year!

5. Reduce wants. For me this will mean staying away from magazines, staying out of stores for window shopping and perhaps stay away from my beloved blog reading. I kind of get in the "frenzy" mentality when I start reading every one's blog and they say things like "it's selling out fast", "these are going to be gone", "these are going to be hot so you better get it NOW"!! In order to resist temptation, I may have to take a technology chill pill.

6. Think twice before spending ANY money. Doing the Dave Ramsey thing has really, did I say really made me think about our life and how we spend our money. He gave this example: if you made $40K a year, in a decade you would have had $400,000 go through your hands. WOW! What do you have to show for it? Savings, retirement funds, nice home, memorable vacations, or just a boatload of "STUFF" that you have to manage, clean, move around, etc.?

On the bright side my paperwork for May should be a breeze - no receipts! I was inspired to try this idea by Small Notebook. I will post check-in's throughout the month and let you know how I'm doing - good or bad! If you would like to join me, that would be great and I would love for you to post comments on how your journey in Keep Your Money May is going. I also want to say I owe a lot to Money Saving Mom for helping me really get a good budget together. I've always kind of had one "in my head", but after reading her blog last year and participating in different challenges she had, I really have it down now! So many creative, wonderful women in the blog world!


  1. Good luck on you money-saving initiatives! I think we all need to be more conscious of how we spend our money and blogging is definitely enabling!

    I think when I put together a list of items I actually needed, that definitely helped to curb my shopping and define for me stuff I "need" vs stuff I just want to get for the giggles.

  2. Oh man, I definitely find that sometimes blogging is enabling! This sounds so odd, but a lot of times, I like to buy things, try them on, then return them. I never feel too horrible after doing so, either! It's like I'm satisfying this weird need I have to shop, even if I don't really want the item! Good luck!!

  3. Good luck with this! My husband and I are also doing a no spend month in May! We pick four months out of the year where we don't spend money, our first was Feb and it went really well! Have you ever heard of the book Money Map from the Crown Financial Ministry organization? I highly recommend that along with Dave Ramseys books! My husband and I both work in finace and we always end up a little bit geeky when it comes to budgeting and numbers... :)

  4. Hmm, I must take a look at these, I do the envelope thing now although last week wasn't so hot - we had boiled rice for the last three nights of the week! I am really adamant about it now, we just spent two years getting out of debt so now it's budget or nothing.
    My husband didn't have your husband's foresight and I left everything up to him.

    I must admit though, as we've just come out of that I am a bit profligate at the moment but I really bought no clothes for two years so of course now I want everything.

  5. Lisa- I found your list making idea very helpful - I did the same and then when I find a needed item, then I don't have to feel guilty!

    Amy - oh man I do that same thing!
    Buy and return, buy and return! It can get exhausting after a while! Dave Ramsey says also you can go to the store, load up your cart and then put it all back and tell yourself - look how much I just saved on stuff I didn't need! haha

    Mrs. Lifeaccounts - ohhhh, thanks for the recommendation - I am going to get this and read it! I am so psyched to read you do this 4 months a year- now I am really motivated!

    Tabitha - congrats on working the two years to get out of debt! You must feel fabulous! After 2 years of not buying clothes, I can imagine you have a big list of wants! At least you can with your budget!!

  6. Mrs.Life Accounts- I have to laugh - I looked up that book you mentioned, and I already have it! haha - I am a bit of a nerd too when it comes to budgets, spreadsheets and money matters!

  7. you can do this! I have found that in the year since I started reading fashion bloggers, I have spend A LOT more money on clothes. However, my wardrobe got a much needed lift, except now it's good but I keep on shopping. I think the need vs want is a good thing to remember. I also play the "if I'm still thinking about it in 2 days, I'll reconsider" game. It really works!