Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Our Month of Nothing Wrap-Up!

Wow, such an eye-opening month. So much so that we are making permanent several of the new things that we tried. And making more regular other experiments we tried as well. No we were not perfect; in fact, I was astounded by just how bad we were before. What? I know you think I’m all that and more, this hot, intensely farm-girl witty, dream chasing & catching chick that I am. But I’ve got some major issues to work on and I’m constantly finding new issues. That and I want to tackle my issues so my kids don’t have to grow up with the same ones that I fight.

So things we did well...

  • We cut our grocery bill almost 50% (not quite but almost) I think we saved over $575 on food and eating out over our regular month.

  • We cut our auto fuel bill by more than 50%. Many thanks to Prince Erik who only drove to work 5 days during September and they were all super good excuses like Dr. Appointments or off work-site meetings. The other days he cycled motorbike or rode the company bus.

  • I won’t know the difference in our monthly utilities until next month but I can only assume our water bill will be down.

  • Yes we decluttered a bit more, even took another load to the dump.

  • We made bread from scratch once or twice a week.

  • Cut our milk consumption from 9 gallons a week to 4.

  • And the kids took healthy homemade lunches to school every day.

Every one of those awesome changes I’m going to try my darndest to keep in place.

And through the whole month I had another FawnDear First. It’s not something I’m proud of. In fact I’m down right ashamed. It’s something I’ve known I’ve needed to do for more than a decade but haven’t quite figured out just how. I’ve given it the good old try several times over and nothing has worked. So what was that first??? For the first time that I can remember we spent less than we made. There I’ve said it. And it really stinks. Usually we spend and then rely on Tax Returns and work bonus’s to get us even or out of the money hole we constantly dig for ourselves and so far we’ve lucked out. But with a kid going to college in less than two years it won’t be as easy to walk that tightrope. I told you how budgets and I have a bad relationship. But I felt so good and felt some real power in the process of pondering true needs, I think this approach might be the one to take.

Things I still want to work on…

  • I’m still going to try and live by needs only. I quit our month of needs six hours early and took the kids out to a nice but inexpensive sit down restaurant and then asked them how badly they wanted to go to Disneyland? Then we talked about what it would take to get there. So sorry McDonalds but you didn’t fit into the equation. You won’t be seeing us anytime soon. The holidays will be much more frugal and thrifty as well. Christmas gifts will be more thought out and we’re skipping all the little knick-knacks that usually break one or two days after Christmas. The kids are on board and I’m determined to make this change permanent.

  • I still take too many little trips to the grocery store during the week. I think I averaged at least four times a week because I would run out of something. So I need to work on a more detailed menu and list.

  • I was so inspired by Owlhaven and all the canning she did this month and how her grocery bill budget was only $50 a week and she has 10 kids. Well she has inspired me to really give the large garden a good old honest try. I grew up with a huge garden so I know what I’m getting into. So we’ve started winter prepping our huge backyard so that come spring we can make our garden three times as big. I figure with the economy as wacked out as it is it really doesn’t hurt to acquire some new self-sufficient lifestyle habits.

I hope all you that played along had a great experience as well, and if things didn’t go as planned at least you’re more educated, and can have a better game plan on what worked and didn’t work for the next time you try.


Owlhaven said...

Good for you! It sounds like you did awesome with this month!!

utmomof5 said...

That is amazing!!!! I am insprired!! I cannot wait until we get to our new house so I can get a real garden space and grow some of my own yummy veggies. It is great the feeling of being in control of your money, we spent many a years not in control.

thanks for you comment!!

laurel said...

$575?!!!!! That is incredible! I am so, so impressed. And, I love your honesty. It is so endearing when people are real about their struggles, without being negative. You definitely did that in this post. Congratulations to you, it sounds like this was a great month of learning!

Deanna said...

Ok, I'm guilty I was here earlier and didn't get the chance to comment!!!

Way to go on the money saving tips...that is AWESOME!!! The eating budget is sooooo hard for us!!


I LOVE reading all of your posts they are sooo fun!! :)

Anonymous said...

Great savings! congrats on a challenge finished well!