After re-reading a really old Mr. Money Mustache article about his “Save $100 this week” challenge, and after recognizing my summer spending has gotten a bit out of control, I decided to start a new challenge – the “Saving September” challenge!
This would be something similar to your typical “No/Low spend” monthly challenge where you try not to spend money on unnecessary or unplanned things such as dining out, alcohol, shopping for things other than groceries, etc.
That said, we do have some planned spending that I wish to account for, so I didn’t want to call it “No Spend” September. For example:
- I have a planned weekend vacation with friends
- We have a planned kids birthday “party” for M (well, as much as you can call it a party since the ‘Rona put a damper on ALL THE FUN THINGS.)
- We have huge car expenses coming our way, since one of our vehicles needs tires, bodywork, brakes, AND inspection. Barf. This is the vehicle we plan to sell next spring, but it needs work to make it to next spring, and to make it appealing to buyers.
With that, here is the PLANNED spending for Saving September.
|Mortgage, interest, fees, taxes||1400|
|Groceries, Toiletries, Supplies||900||Will need to be vigilant about this one.|
|Medical||200||Eye appointments, possibly glasses for Hubs. This amount is a bit of a guess. We are going to a new optometrist so I’m not sure what fees we will incur above the insurance coverage.|
|Vacation||250||2 nights away, split with 2 friends. Hoping that’s enough!|
|Auto repair, Tires & inspections||2500||Also an estimate since we don’t have a quote for anything yet. Hoping to get used tires on Kijiji or FB marketplace!|
|Home improvement, supplies, maintenance||50||New light switch for the kitchen|
|Kid Birthday Party & Gift||100|
|Pre-Christmas shopping||200||I like to get my shopping done early, so this is to encourage me to get some done|
|Allowance – Hubs||190|
|Allowance – T||30||My plan is to spend very little of my allowance; the rest will be saved. I do have a required event that will cost around $25-30, but that should be it|
|Dining Out||40||Family – 40. T – 0. I can control my own dining out, but I’m not making Hubs do this challenge, so he gets a budget of $40 for he and M. If they decide to get takeout, I’ll decline and make myself something healthy.|
|Lotto tix||28||Hubs will not be dropping out of his pool for this challenge, so it’s a planned expense.|
|TOTAL PLANNED SPENDING:||$7,222|
It won’t be a cheap month, but there is very little frivolous stuff in here. I think one way I could improve is the Grocery etc category. If we really tried hard to save $ here we could do a lot better, however since $900 is a 10%+ reduction from our usual spending, I’d be happy if we could meet that amount.
I need to:
- Share this with Hubs to ensure he is in agreement, and willing to be very careful about grocery spending and dining out.
- Create a solid meal plan to help with the grocery spending
- Schedule a mid-month check-in to make sure I’m staying on track
For accountability, I will be posting the mid-month check-in, and an end-of-month check-in to show how I performed in the challenge. I fully expect not to be perfect (things always come up that are unexpected!) however I think this will be enough to get me into the saving mindset, and out of the random-purchases-for-no-real-good-reason mindset. A welcome change.
Have you done your own challenge like “Saving September”? What were the results? Did you find it helped improve your impulse spending? Share your wisdom the comments!