Earlier this month I talked about the spending freeze I did last January. I opted not to do the freeze this year, but have been very careful and deliberate with my budgeting because I have some extremely aggressive savings goals this year. It seems that every month something happens that I didn’t anticipate, sometimes in my favor, sometimes not.
The category I went over in this month was giving, which I think is ultimately a good thing, and it was offset by money I saved on gas and groceries. There is definitely something to be said for living close to work, having an fuel efficient vehicle, and sharing expenses with a house mate! Hannah continues to be a costly line item, but she makes me laugh and keeps me fit from walking, so I’m considering her food expenses as an offset to my physical and mental well being.
At the end of it all, I met my savings goal (in addition to the 25% I have taken out each month for my 401k since I’m playing catch up), had an extra $4.89 in my checking account and a whopping $6.00 in my wallet. Overall, I’m pleased with how things went, but would like to increase the amount of money I am saving. Since I’m already pretty lean in most of my budget categories, I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do that. Earlier in the month I did cancel my cell phone insurance, which will hopefully save me $10 a month, but even so I am going to need to get creative!
That’s what I enjoyed most about the spending fast – it required me to use my imagination and be content with what I had. What could I do with the food that I already had in my pantry? How many meals could I create that were healthy and tasty, even if they were a little unique? What could I substitute for something that broke and needed to be replaced? Unfortunately, once the spending fast was over, I no longer challenged myself to be innovative or make due with what I had.
To further complicate things, a winter coat that I’ve wanted for a while is currently on sale at a substantial savings. It’s a coat I could use for many, many years, and over time the cost per year would be minimal, but it’s still a lot of money when I’m trying to save. My current saving goal could still be met, but I wouldn’t be able to increase it like I am hoping to. The sale goes until February 2, so I have a couple of days to ponder it – I’ll be sure to let you know on which side of the fence I land!