No money needed to enjoy this: Zenguy and R watching planes at San Francisco Bay
Our family is doing voluntarily No Spend Month Challenge in July. Actually No Spend month is misleading in a way, as it should be called minimum spending on bare essentials month, because that is what we are doing.
I first heard about No Spend July month last year at Rachel’s blog called Small Notebook and I have been hooked to the concept. Last year I did it unofficially, only for our eyes. Here is our journey of little financial adventure of No Spend Month in July for sharing with all of you.
Our budget for the whole month is $300 for groceries, eating out, gas, entertainment and misc expenses. Other expenses such as rent/mortgage, utility, charity, savings and investment, and education and job related expenses are not included in the $300 budget. Thank god for that!
So far I almost blew off our budget by already spending over $100 in first 4 days of the month, as we went to visit Yosemite National Park during July 4th weekend. The trip and experience was great and I might not change anything if given a choice today.
Check out my previous posts for more details;
What are we started with past week
We have $195.27 budget left for the remaining month as we had spent $104.73 already. This week started off easy, as we stayed home on Monday relaxing after our big weekend trip. So we did not spend anything. We had still plenty of gas, enough groceries left over so did not have to buy much.
What We did this week?
We unpacked from our trip, relaxed at home, and basically took a laid back approach. Knowing we have to work hard to keep our budget, we stayed away from Malls, Shopping center and my personal love, a bookstore. I hardly come out empty handed from a bookstore, something I need to work on.
We cooked at home often as we usually do. However, we also love to hang out at couple of our favorite food place. We have a few favorites such as In and Out (For those of you live or have visited California will know this place very well), This place cooks fresh french fries from scratch and has secret menu items that you can order, we love this place along with a few Indian restaurants such as Udipi Restaurant and Chaat Cafe and eat there often. I am what some call foodie and love cooking and love eating out.
We were so good at not spending money this whole week, I almost wanted to celebrate by eating out but R said Mummy, you can make noodles at home as you make it so well! So I got flattered and made noodles with peanuts that everyone loved including little P. So thanks to my wise R, we saved us money and ate healthy meal at home. And interesting thing is R does not even know we are on budget this month, he simply wanted to eat home cooked meal.
We had buy a few items that could have waited until next month such as R wanted to build a periscope. He wanted to make one himself so we tried but finding two small mirrors in right size created a huge problem, finally we found a kit from ebay and used our gift card that was unused from Christmas time instead. Without this month’s challenge, I would not have thought of gift card easily. I am not counting gift cards in this budget as I pointed out in introduction post.
We had a enough of soy milk, groceries at home so we did not buy anything last week.
We had to fill out Zenguy’s hybrid car this week as we had not filled it before. We used lot of gas for our Van last week when we went to Yosemite.
We also attended radio controlled model plane show and Japanese Udon festival, both were free to attend with free parking. During summer time, many cities have free indoor and outdoor festivals and events, check your area newspaper or magazine for information. We took our snacks and munchies from home and we had a great time!
Total Money Spent this week
Gas for Hybrid: $32.72
Raffle ticket: $1.00
So we have spent total from July 1st through July 11th – $138.45
Total remaining for the rest of the month: $161.55 left
So, what is the point of No Spend Month at Heart and Mind?
While Heart and Mind blog is more about personal development and life improvement, why talk about being frugal and money here?
The reason and point are actually three folds;
- One of the reason is to push my own comfort zone of doing out of ordinary. If we are too comfortable in our small comfort area, we can not grow.
- Without our finance in order, none of us can improve our life or mind. Money is not the important aspect of life, but if we have messed up finances, I will guaranty that improving our self will not be on our top agenda. Money is part of 6 areas of balance that I talked about earlier.
- Right now, we want to minimize our personal expenses due to lack of income and other reasons. This is not about creating scarcity in life, it is about doing and living life we meant to live. It is minimalist living my way.
Check out my following post No Spend month challenge: update 3 here.
There are a few others who have joined No spend month, on their own ways. Even if you do not join, you can spend money more wisely in your life and spend or save for something that is important to you.