No Spend September – the final numbers

If you’ve been following along on our no spend (well really low spend) September you might be wondering how we did (if not you can catch up here and here). Well September is over and we outspent the $400 budget we gave ourselves by $12.49. All in all we’re calling the month a success for re-setting our spending and, more importantly, our goals and values. Since I last checked in we only spent money twice: Groceries $11.12 and I bought a month subscription to inLinkz so I could make those little lists at the end of my posts showing you what supplies I used. That may seem random but going over our finances I was once again reminded that blogging can be a bit of an expensive hobby. I do use affiliate links, though they rarely get clicked on. I’m hoping that a list of supplies at the end of posts will be helpful for you and me (with affiliate links you don’t get charged anything extra, and I get a tiny percentage of whatever you buy on the site).

So here is how the month totaled out:

lawn mowing $10

dance clothes $50

food (including produce for canning) $132.82

canning accessories (lids, jars, gauge) $94.18

haircut $11

comedy tickets $47.50

girls night out $20

gas $42

inlinkz $4.99

Total: $412.49

I think I’m most proud of the gas amount. We still have 1/3 of a tank left, and we started the month 2/3 full 65 miles from home. I got my bike out and dusted it off after two years of not riding. And not only did I haul my ass around but I loaded up my two munchkins and hauled them around as well. We went to dance class, the store, and the library.

(Tuesday pretends to sleep and Bennet has a fit because she hates the trailer)

I am determined to keep this habit up. I mean if I could take the girls the library in this crazy storm I should be set (though I am buying or making rain pants ASAP) Coincidently I lost five pounds this month. Hmm, I’m trying to decide if there is a correlation between no fast food/eating out and biking around town…

I think we had a lot more family time this month, I loved that we were not running out to “run errands” or “shop” vague terms that usually equal a money and time suck. I made some amazing meals. I cooked almost every one, some I just assembled or we ate leftovers. I am happy with how we ate, it was very healthy and I loved canning, or course. However I still have not come to love cooking. I will do it because I know it’s best but I just don’t have the love for spending all day in the kitchen. I think it will grow on me and I’ve learned a lot this last month. I even browned ground beef last night for the first time (mmm 13 bean chili). I’m trying to do things that make it more exciting for me in the kitchen, like render my own lard (oh yes I did), put up fresh fruits and veggies when they are in season and can. If you have any other tips about learning to love cooking I will take them!!! Having Tuesday measure out the olive oil and fastidiously level flour helps for sure.

Bj and I have new goals now for our family’s financial future, and I’m excited to see how this jumpstarts our savings. In addition to saving, being less consumer driven and more environmentally conscious are also goals. We are looking into LED lights, solar panels, maybe even an electric car! Have you thought about a no/low spend month? Have you done it before? I’d love to hear about it!

11 Replies to “No Spend September – the final numbers”

  1. Way to go Amber! This is awesome and very inspiring! It’s funny how we think we need all these things, but we really don’t. We can survive with much less than we think we can. I love how you are biking around town. You are saving on gas and getting exercise at the same time. And congrats on losing five pounds! It’s probably a combination of exercise and eating healthier. It’s amazing how much fat and calories and sodium are in fast food and eating out. I’ve lost sixteen pounds this year by exercising more, eating out less, and not having sugar junk foods in my house. I really do love to cook. I could spend all day in the kitchen. It’s very relaxing to me. Try out new recipes often, and I think that will keep you excited about cooking. I have some recipes I need to share with you soon. An electric car sounds very exciting, too! I would love to chat with you when you have some free time.

  2. Success!!

    I had been toying with this idea already, and you pushed me to do it. October is our “no spend” month, so today is day 1. I talked someone into doing it with me at work, fingers crossed we’re successful as well!

    thanks again for sharing your experience with it 🙂

  3. That is huge!! Way to go! I am very impressed with the no-car use!!

  4. Nice job! For our family it took a move out of state to take a hard look at our budget. It was shocking how quickly we could pare it down because we had too. I wish I could say that we have been able to save more money in the process, however the move included an income loss. I was just happy that we didn’t add to our debt. 🙂

    Its funny how a change in lifestyle seems so hard at first, then you get into the habit, and think nothing of it. We buy pizza once a month, and sometimes frozen yogurt at the self serve FroYo store. And our 3 kids are fine with it, never beg or try to finagle more trips to eat out. I’m crossing my fingers – I have held the family grocery budget for 5 at $600 per month for over 5 years now- I’d like to squeak a few more years at that price point! *grin*

  5. What are your new financial goals? How else did this project change your perspective? I would be really interested to hear more!

  6. What a grand idea! I have been thinking about how to do this, thank you for providing some direction!

  7. You’re so cute! So is there a “correlation between no fast food/eating out and biking around town…?” Great job!!! That’s awesome! Unfortunately, it’s too dangerous to bike around this metroplex we live in, even for the library and grocery store. But we can surely cut back on the snacks we buy around here! I’ve been making homemade granola bars for a while. They’re not bad- 4 out of 5 family members approve!

  8. Nikki,
    You know you want to share that homemade granola bar recipe, right?!?!
    Amber

  9. Jessica,
    I should work on a follow up post. We have continued the conversation and are working on our goals. One thing we did asap was get our money out of a very low interest savings account and into another one (capital one 360) as well as finally invest in some index funds through Vangaurd (thinking long term with those). Look for more from me about this later, I think that one month had some long term effects on how we think of money for sure.
    Amber

  10. […] actually spend no money. We gave ourselves a $400 budget, and I summarized our spending on this post. We ended up spending $412.49 plus re-occuring monthly costs (dance class, mortgage payment, etc.). […]

  11. […] and I did another no spend month this September. We did this last year, and LOVED it. It was a great way to reset our goals and priorities. Just like last year we gave […]

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