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 week.......so 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!