All right, checking in for the March financial challenge, which was to curb impulse spending. And I did not meet this challenge. I did pretty well for about the first half of the month, and then kind of let it go out the window.
March was a rough month for me, and not to make excuses, but I think that’s part of what happened in my decision making process. I don’t think I would classify it as retail therapy, but I do think I had a tendency to start thinking “This month sucked, screw it, I’m gonna buy what I want.”
I should probably work on that. 😉
Anyhow, didn’t do so great at the challenge. Trying to participate in these challenges each month is making me more aware of my finances in general, so I feel I’m still getting something out of it. Can’t wait to see what April’s challenge is!
March’s financial challenge is to curb impulse spending. I’ve actually done okay on this so far, I think. I did grab a bag of snack cheese at the grocery store on a whim, but it was new and looked so yummy! How could I resist?
I’m really working to try and only buy things I need this month, and things that I’ve planned to spend money on. As with the past challenges I’m not going to tally up and move money into my savings account. I know this kind of defeats the purpose, but I don’t have a good way to calculate how much that would be.
I’m also planning on going back over the spending spreadsheet and making sure it’s up to date. I’m hoping to see a trend that shows less spending as the months go by, but I’m not sure I’ve done very well with that so far.
I’ll check back in at the end of the month.
So, rather than trying to cut my bills I decided that I should be more diligent about tracking my spending.
Generally I true up my spending weekly and that helps me keep an eye on things, but I haven’t finished my February spreadsheets yet and it’s already a week into March. The challenge for March is already going, and I’ll get a post up about that soon.
For now, maybe I should go visit that tracking spreadsheet I made.
The Lifehacker challenge for this month is “Haggle Your Bills”. I basically did this challenge in January as well by calling my cable company to get a better rate (and an upgrade to boot), and technically lowering my cell phone bill by a few dollars as well (not much wiggle room there).
The other items suggested for possible haggling don’t concern me that much. They suggest looking at credit cards, rent, gym membership, and car insurance. A couple of these don’t really apply, like the credit cards and the gym membership. The others are ones that I’m happy with the rates I have.
So, for February I’m going to challenge myself to keep up with tracking my spending. I technically started this in January, but usually it’s about a month in that it falls apart for me. I think just being aware of my spending will help me to cut back where I’m excessive, and help me understand if I’m living outside of my means.
I’ll check back in at the end of the month with an update.
I opted to participate in a financial challenge that I found through LifeHacker for the month of January. The challenge was to spend no money on restaurants, and instead put that money in a savings account.
I didn’t do great, but I don’t think I did all that horribly either. Although, I did not put the money in savings because I had some other things come through that had to be paid. Going into this I knew that there would be at least one exemption, my book club meets monthly at a restaurant. And I didn’t know about the challenge until the 2nd or 3rd, and had gone out to eat on the 1st. So there’s two strikes. I think I got two more before the month was out. My breakdown is as follows:
January 1st – Chik-fil-A with friends
January 12th – Amphora – Book Club
January 17th – Hard Rock Cafe with family
January 18th – Papa John’s – to feed family
January 27th – Cafe at work (I overcooked my lunch)
So I ended up spending about $130 eating out (with two of those being for more than just myself). My tracking has not been great, so I’m not sure what my typical amount for eating out is. I’m not sure if I saved much money or not, really. I would like to update my tracking and try this challenge again when I have a better baseline to compare it to.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did actually eat out quite a bit more than this. These, however, were the only times I had to pay and since this was a financial challenge I wasn’t worried about the eating out part, just about the my paying to eat out part.
So, I didn’t miss eating out, but that’s because I didn’t really stop eating out. I think I saved some money, but I didn’t stress much about not sticking more closely to the challenge either.
Bottom line: I could have done better at this challenge.