Author Topic: Buy No Stuff Month - March?  (Read 9642 times)

windawake

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Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« on: February 12, 2013, 05:01:19 PM »
I've decided for the rest of February to do a buy-no-stuff month.  It looks like this:

I will pay my rent and bills
I will buy groceries
I will go out to eat or to drinks with friends as social outings (and unless I can get away with it, ie. big group of people, I will buy food or one drink)
I will buy my dad a birthday present

But I will not:

Buy stuff (clothing, books, knick knacks, etc.)
Go out to eat or to a coffeeshop by myself

Anyone want to try this along with me, or start up a full month in March?

mpbaker22

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 08:32:46 AM »
As a Catholic, this sounds like a great Lenten challenge with the added benefit of saving money!
I'm In (until Easter)!

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 08:57:13 AM »
I'm already doing a no-buy February, but I'm thinking that an extension to March is a really good idea.  My parameters will be a little different as I have some necessary expenses every month.  So my goal is to spend no more than $500 on my credit card during March.  (I put all of my purchases on my cc such as groceries, gym membership, and incidentals.)

LET'S DO THIS!

ShavenLlama

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 09:38:43 AM »
WHY did you pick a long month!? Waaaaah!

Yes, I'm in. I've been gearing up for something like this, so I'm gonna jump in with you. Even through Easter. ;)

My husband and I started doing a thing this year where instead of just putting everything on a CC we've been pulling $100 each in cash on Sunday and trying to get through the week. Some weeks it's no problem, some weeks get ugly, and there's always the stuff that has to be ordered online that goes on the CC then I sneakily don't deduct it from my cash. But we did cut our spending in HALF in January (even including a trip to Santa Barbara and the drinking that ensued!), so I guess it's working out.

So my parameters will be:
1 lunch out each week (it's networking, right?)
1 dinner out each week (Fridays are not for cooking)
Career-related spending is OK (big changes coming up, not sure when the expenses will start coming due)
no craft stores, no Target (except TP or other emergencies), no clothes
Groceries and some beer is OK
As you said, gifts are OK if a birthday comes up (I don't think I have any on the calendar)
I've been in the market for a new bike, so if I find one I will get it. But it's been on the spending agenda for a long time. And I have a huge dividend coming from REI.

I'm sitting here trying to think of anything I might have to stock up on before March 1, and NOTHING comes to mind. This is good stuff.

mustachecat

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2013, 10:20:08 AM »
I'm totally down for March.

My parameters:

I will buy/pay for: rent, utilitities, groceries (including pet food and booze), medical care (if needed), laundry, and personal care items (shampoo, etc.).

I will not buy/pay for: eating out, books, clothing, furnishings, taxis, gifts, and charitable donations (sorrrrry, nonprofits).

anastrophe

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2013, 01:36:59 PM »
I'm down, with one exception: my birthday is in March and I've already saved up for a present for myself. Otherwise, just the bills and prearranged payments, nothing more.

Bonus for me that March is a 3 paycheck month (biweekly salaried pay schedule).

KimAB

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2013, 04:36:01 PM »
I could do a no-spend challenge until the end of the March.

startingover

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 07:54:25 PM »
Count me in!  We are very frugal, however, we can shave some off!
We will, of course, pay regular bills and gas for the vehicles.  I promise not to:
>buy popcorn at the gas station
>buy junk food with grocery shopping
>eat out for lunch or "go in" on lunch with "the girls"
Also, I will get the bike out of winter storage, (we are wimps!) and bike to the meat   market or store to save gas.  (We have trucks- which are for sale)
And I will try to figure out how much I saved on March 31st and send that money to a bill!!
Thanks!  I was looking for a good challenge.

DreamingofFreedom

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2013, 05:36:06 AM »
I'll be in through the end of March.  Apart from bills, I will not:

-Buy food in any restaurant/cafe alone
-Buy objects that are not strictly necessary household supplies (i.e. toothpaste, vinegar)
-Buy clothing
-Buy anything online that is not a necessity.

But I will:

-Pay bills
-Buy groceries, including a modest amount of alcohol, and groceries for the kitties
-Allow eating out occasionally with coworkers for networking purposes
-Consider a purchase of a bit of inexpensive, used furniture for the house I may be acquiring

windawake

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2013, 12:20:33 PM »
Great!
 
I'm glad you guys are in. I've fallen a bit from my mustachian ways and have realized how much crap I've been buying. Hoping to strengthen my frugality muscle and save some money in the process.

Maybe we can use this thread to update regularly how it's going? I've already started and I think it's going well, I've been doing it for about a week and have remained steadfast.  Good luck!

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 11:15:39 AM »
I'm going to modify my $500 march to $550 because I will need to buy a case of baby wipes in a week or two. 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 12:32:26 PM »
Definitely in. February has been way to spendy for my taste.

Scooter H

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 08:39:47 AM »
I'm in! Besides this will give me and the GF an excuse to cut fast food/restaurants for a month.

LizzyBee

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 09:01:34 PM »
I am in! Here are my parameters:

- I cannot buy any clothes, sodas, books, candy, or lunches for myself
- I can go out once a week (I don't want to deprive my husband by staying in every day this month)
- Our vacation in Florida for the next 5 days is exempt from these rules

anastrophe

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 09:37:42 AM »
February was a total disaster, my net savings was only 21%. I feel queasy about it and can't wait for March.

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2013, 02:46:04 PM »
Anastrophe- I feel like 2013 so far has been a disaster.  I'm really hoping to turn it around in March.

Jack

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2013, 03:02:11 PM »
I think I'd better join in, especially since I failed the $500 February challenge. My parameters:
  • Reasonable gardening expenses are excluded, since I expect a return on investment.
  • Home improvement expenses are excluded for the same reason.
  • I'm going to buy a set of shocks/struts for the car, since I've been deferring that maintenance for over a year now.
  • I'm going to take my wife out to dinner for her birthday tomorrow (she eats free!).
  • I may eat lunch out at work no more then once per week for networking purposes.
  • I will attempt to limit other variable expenses (i.e., utilities, vehicle fuel and groceries) to $500 total, same as my goal for last month.

mustachecat

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2013, 01:00:31 PM »
How's everyone doing so far?

I will confess: I had a drink with a friend last night. And I expect to have another one at a friend's birthday party this weekend--d'oh. I'm going to change my parameters to $100 or less of discretionary spending.

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2013, 01:50:20 PM »
So far, so good.  I have incurred the following expenses:

- Gym membership $162 (again, I know this is face punch worthy but I love my gym and I use it all the time)
- Groceries $52.74 (not bad! and I won't need anything until the weekend when I do my next menu plan)
- Charitable contribution $15

Total: $229.74.

In positive news, I didn't have to buy baby wipes after all.  I used a gift card received to Babies R Us to cover the purchase.  I have some large bills coming my way (last medical bills from the baby birth) but on the discretionary spending front I'm crossing my fingers for the remainder of the month.

ShavenLlama

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2013, 02:06:50 PM »
We have spent money on food, and last weekend I had a networking happy hour ( I kept it under $20) and then Saturday got crazy as we went to see a friend's son's band play and these people near us had a big plate of french fries and sliders that THEY WERENT EVEN EATING so I broke down and got some fries, and we ordered a round or 2 of drinks. I think that was around $50 (shame).

But the only non-eating expense was for some clips to make doggie hair clips (one pair of cute ones at the petfood store was $4, I bought 12 clips for $3 and I can use scraps from other projects to decorate them).

I saved some money by doing my own clipping on my cockerdoodle. She's not as cute as when the groomer does it, but she doesn't know how mirrors work so it's fine.

startingover

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2013, 03:11:44 PM »
I was thinking of making and selling pet items such as vests.  I guess with the $7.00 a mustachain will spent, I'm on the right track!
I saved % on my truck payment, which I'm trying to sell, and on my visa, which will be paid off in July, and I didn't spend a dime off my regular bills.

Jack

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2013, 10:12:14 AM »
I've already failed: I forgot about this challenge and bought the latest Humble [computer game] Bundle for $8 ($1 per game + $1 per charity).

Otherwise, I've spent $54.31 so far this month on groceries and paid $61.51 in ad-valorem tax for my wife's car so far.

I also decided to pull up the old nasty carpet in my master bedroom and DIY repair/refinish the hardwood under it (at least as a temporary measure -- it's in pretty rough shape). I needed to get a single bundle of new flooring to patch in and managed to score it for $0.50/sq. ft. because that shipment exceeded the store's defect rate acceptance. So I spent about $10 on that (instead of $50).

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2013, 11:01:52 AM »
A small success yesterday: I forgot that I had my monthly book club meeting/potluck yesterday until an hour before it was supposed to start.  I thought that I'd just pick up something ready made because of my lack of planning.  But when I got home from work, I was able to quickly put together a delicious couscous salad from things already in my pantry.  BAM!  It's like I found $10 on the street.

LizzyBee

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2013, 03:14:22 PM »
I am doing okay. We went out a lot during our vacation even though we were staying at my parents' place. I only bought a Starbucks once though during vacation, which is down from 1-2 Starbucks and 1-2 sodas plus candy snacks on a typical week. Yesterday I left for errands immediately after I fed my son (I have to time these things carefully or I am stuck with a screaming and hungry infant) and realized it was 11:00 and I hadn't eaten anything. Seriously bad planning on my part. I paid $5 for a chicken sandwich so that I wouldn't be starving during my grocery shopping. I refrained from buying soda even though I really wanted one so I guess that was a partial success. 

anastrophe

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2013, 07:17:25 PM »
So far mostly good, though I guess technically I have failed since I did spend some money--$1.05 on a notebook, and about $5 on drinks out with friends. But if I can limit my spending to $20 for the month I'll be doing very well.

startingover

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2013, 02:24:20 PM »
So far so good!  Just talked the boyfriend out of an expensive pizza.  (he's great though!  Didn't take much to talk him out of it!)  I got my truck and credit card to a different bank, credit union, to save about $50.00 a month.  Last month my guy got inner net off my phone and this month the savings started!  No extra spending for us!!

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2013, 12:31:24 PM »
This weekend was a success!  The only money I spent all weekend was for groceries, and it was only $45 which is WAY less than I usually spend.  For entertainment this weekend, I saw Silver Linings Playbook using a nearly expired gift card I had gotten almost a year ago!  I also went snowshoeing with my spouse and baby which was fun and free! And, I finally returned $11 worth of things I bought a month ago when I was organizing my kitchen.  So, all around, a pretty good weekend.  This "not overspending" thing gets easier and easier.  Who would have thought?

psychomoustache

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2013, 02:10:03 PM »
YES, after a no-spend February, let's keep the bon temps roulé -ing  : )

We have Stopped going out for food entirely. Stopped buying clothes to buy clothes. The only thing I sort of want is a book on Sugar-Free eating, off the Kindle, I think it's 9 euros ? For me, it can be a work expense, not that that changes anything...

I can think of tons of things to Not Buy this month - but I'd rather not go there  : )


windawake

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2013, 02:50:50 PM »
I'm doing well so far. In addition to buying no stuff, I'm also doing an unrelated challenge where I am not consuming alcohol, caffeine (not an issue for me since I already don't do caffeine), and trying to exercise every day. I also have not driven at all this month yet: I got a ride from my grandparents to my aunt's house yesterday and have been biking/bussing mostly. My purchases this month have been minimal: I got french fries to share with a table of friends ($5), played Bingo with my boyfriend ($7), and paid for half the parking fee at a free Wild hockey game with my dad ($5).

For me, this month isn't about not spending any money, it's more about not buying "stuff." I really wanted a new curling iron so I texted my aunts and lo and behold, one of them had the exact curling iron I wanted and gave it to me. I have an active social life so I'm not excessively cutting down on outings because that would make it difficult for me to spend time with some of my friends. However, I do think that being more conscious of buying "stuff" is important since I feel like my life is too cluttered already.

LizzyBee

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2013, 02:44:14 PM »
Even though I was doing this challenge on my own (my husband and I have our own separate spending accounts for frivolous spending), I got my husband to agree to this challenge for our joint expenses as well. We have a bad habit of buying books and clothes for our baby (he's only 4 months and easy to spoil :)) and things for our home that we don't need. I'm really excited to see how much money we can save. The money we save from our joint expenses is going towards paying off our mortgage and we both can't wait until that is taken care of.

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2013, 03:56:24 PM »
Even though I was doing this challenge on my own (my husband and I have our own separate spending accounts for frivolous spending), I got my husband to agree to this challenge for our joint expenses as well. We have a bad habit of buying books and clothes for our baby (he's only 4 months and easy to spoil :)) and things for our home that we don't need. I'm really excited to see how much money we can save. The money we save from our joint expenses is going towards paying off our mortgage and we both can't wait until that is taken care of.

I completely relate!  We have a 7 month old and the "Baby Supplies" part of our budget has exploded.  In addition to his needs (formula, wipes), it is extremely tempting to buy him things- especially clothes, cloth diaper covers, and books.  Baby items are too adorable and very hard for me to resist. 

LizzyBee

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2013, 12:00:19 PM »


I completely relate!  We have a 7 month old and the "Baby Supplies" part of our budget has exploded.  In addition to his needs (formula, wipes), it is extremely tempting to buy him things- especially clothes, cloth diaper covers, and books.  Baby items are too adorable and very hard for me to resist.
[/quote]

CNM, I've taken some of the temptation away by just not going shopping. I used to go to the mall or to Target just to walk around bad get out of the house, but I've stopped doing that. I get the necessities at Costco or diapers.com. We also have a family ritual of going to the library every week.

RetireBy36

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2013, 05:15:51 PM »
This is fantastic; I have at home not spending a penny and now I don't feel so alone.

Here were my parameters for what I can spend money on:
-bills (mortage and such)
-groceries
-fuel
-see above

That's it. No rule breaking. I did forget about gardening season so I am going to trade my coworkers granola for seeds. Other than that, I am 100% on track. Yay forum!

windawake

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2013, 01:06:01 PM »
I did exchange two sweaters (they were too big) for the smaller size, but since I bought them last month I don't think that really counts.

I'm having a slight conundrum: I'm throwing myself a birthday party early next month (April 6th), and am doing a 1920's flapper theme. I want to make myself a flapper dress and get some fun accouterments to decorate my apartment. I also don't want to cheat. I have a bunch of clothes left over from a clothing swap and I think I'll bring these to Savers to get tokens with which I can purchase (hopefully) a dress I can modify and some decor (old lamps and the like). We'll see if the coupons alone will get me what I need!

ShavenLlama

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2013, 04:28:09 PM »
We went to the Monster Tomato and Pepper sale this weekend at the local Arboretum. We spent $50. But these are all fancy heirloom varieties, and the money goes back to the universities ag programs, and If we get a decent yield and learn to can this summer, it will more than pay us back.

I'm super excited about the Ghost Chili. The lady cautioned me to wear gloves at harvest. Look out, fall chili cook-off! >8]

In other news, we spent a couple of hours at the mall killing time around an Apple Genius appointment and I spent $0. It was great; I got some home decor inspiration ($500 goddamned dollars on a crocheted lion rug? Imma make one!).

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2013, 12:26:55 PM »
This weekend I spent $52 on groceries, which was more than I intended to spend but I ran out of flour, cheese and butter last week.  I also spent $34 on baby formula (can't be avoided) which should last us maybe 2 weeks.  Finally, I splurged and bought a beautiful top from a second hand store.  It was $24, but it's lovely and well made and I'm wearing it to work today. 

My husband and I were really good about curbing our desires to go to a bar/restaurant, which would have been pricey.  On Friday, we went out for a nice walk and made popcorn and rented a movie.  Total spent- $6.  On Saturday, instead of going out for brunch, we went to a coffee shop.  The coffee shop owner is a friend of ours and she was nice enough to comp our 2 regular coffees.  Total spent- $2 in tips.  Other than the above grocery/clothes/baby item, that's all that was spent.

(edited to fix syntax problems)

Sunday was spent making food for lunches/dinners for the week.  Feeling very optimistic about this month so far.  Even though we're still spending money, it's much less than before and like I mentioned up-thread, it gets easier and easier to curb discretionary spending.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 09:07:43 AM by CNM »

mustachecat

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2013, 01:07:45 PM »
I've totally failed, guys. My fiance's favorite kind of pants (as in, the only brand and style he wears: black 501 Levi's) went on super sale, and so we bought three pairs. Maybe that's Mustachian in the long run?!

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2013, 03:15:17 PM »
Mustachecat, I'd say that it probably is just as long as you don't see a pattern of excess spending due to "deals."  I have found that sometimes I go overboard when I think something is a deal, when really, I don't need 10 versions of the same thing anyway or when it will take me forever to use up what I already have.  (As in, do I really need extra lotion even though it's a good deal when I have enough lotion to last a year already sitting in my cupboard?)

Also, on the positive money front, I deposited our piggy bank full of excess coins today.  It came to $42!  I know it was already our money but it still feels like a windfall.

LizzyBee

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #38 on: March 18, 2013, 05:32:41 PM »
Mustachecat, I'd say that it probably is just as long as you don't see a pattern of excess spending due to "deals." 

So true! The reason why I needed to do this spending fast all started when everything went on super sale for the holidays. I bought a whole bunch of clothes when my favorite stores regularly had 50% off of everything. It just led into a downward spiral into frivolous spending. It's sad that it took me this long to pull me out of that funk, especially considering I am a pretty frugal person. I've already unsubscribed to all of their emails so that I no longer know when sales are going on.

mustachecat

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2013, 07:02:28 PM »
Mustachecat, I'd say that it probably is just as long as you don't see a pattern of excess spending due to "deals." 

So true! The reason why I needed to do this spending fast all started when everything went on super sale for the holidays. I bought a whole bunch of clothes when my favorite stores regularly had 50% off of everything. It just led into a downward spiral into frivolous spending. It's sad that it took me this long to pull me out of that funk, especially considering I am a pretty frugal person. I've already unsubscribed to all of their emails so that I no longer know when sales are going on.

Aside from bombing out of Buy No Stuff March, I feel pretty good about our clothing spending. I just checked Mint. In 2011, I spent $2,700 on clothing (UGH). In 2012, the two of us together spent $800. For 2013 to date, we've spent $100 on the three pairs of jeans mentioned, so on track to keep it at $400 for the household.

My restraint is hard won, however. I used to be such a clotheshorse and shophound! Oh, well. If there is an upside to my crazy past clothing spending, it's that I really never have any excuse to buy new clothes because I already have so (so, so) much. :)

mm31

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2013, 01:52:25 AM »
Just realized I've spent 3 weeks buying nothing that isn't a shared expense (rent, groceries,etc). Nice! I had $100 budgeted for personal stuff for this month, so maybe I'll use it next month.

startingover

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2013, 12:45:13 PM »
I got soooo lucky this month!  I decided not to buy what I didn't need, but then!!!!!
I moved my truck payment and visa to my new credit union.  Because of that, I got a $50.00 "gift card" and $36.00 for moving my truck payment!  I also have been holding on to a Target gift card ($10) since Christmas.   So I have only spent like $30.00 this month!  I got all my groceries, including cat food and beer, with that "found money".  I sure was tempted to buy more at Target but I "MMed up" and walked away from those $30.00 jeans and sneakers:}  Thanks MMM and forum friends!

CNM

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2013, 10:56:46 AM »
Post-weekend update!

This weekend was not great. I spent $95 on groceries last week!  Ay!  This was excessive.  It was in part due to a dinner party we went to on Saturday and we were in charge of the salad for 10 people.  I decided to make a fancy salad that required feta cheese, olives, and marinated artichoke hearts.  It was delicious but not exactly a head of lettuce cost-wise. On the flip side, I got to take home a bunch of left over prime rib for lunches this week!

Other costs were $19 at a child consignment store.  I'm actually pleased with this because I got a high chair, a book, a rolling toy thingy, an Easter gift for my nephew, and several outfits (probably not a need, but I'm ok with it considering they were only $5 total).  A good deal for sure.

Other expenses was a large bag of dog food ($58) and a lunch with a coworker ($9).

I don't expect any more expenses this week. We'll see about next weekend though.  I'll probably need to buy another supply of baby formula ($35).


anastrophe

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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #43 on: March 25, 2013, 12:14:10 PM »
I failed pretty hard at this challenge--I gave in to a rare impulse purchase and bought a used FitBit on ebay on Saturday. I've wanted one for awhile and I think in general it will be good for me, but there's no reason I had to buy it this month and I'm disappointed in myself. Evidently my self-control lasts 23 days.

I will try again in April:(

CNM

  • Bristles
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Re: Buy No Stuff Month - March?
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2013, 12:33:48 PM »
Hello hello!
So how was everyone's BNS March?

The past weekend, being Easter and all, was not great.  I had an Easter egg coloring party at my house and Easter dinner at my in-laws' house.  This meant that I had to buy groceries for those 2 events and for the week.  I spent about $100 on it.  I also spent nearly $100 on baby supplies and laundry supplies.  So if you add it all up, I busted my $500 limit for March by $180. 

I know that I should be disappointed as I failed at my goal, but I feel like I did a good job overall of curbing the spending and being more conscious of it, especially when it comes to groceries, dining out, and personal items.  Through this month's diligence, I was able to save $1500 (excluding 401k) which is over 1/3rd of my take-home pay!  This money is already earmarked for some future expenses but it feels good to have it saved rather than dipping into savings when the expenses come around (long-distance wedding in May, big childcare bill coming up, and various investments).