On month of July, we are doing No spend month challenge, which actually means not spending anything except on few essentials. We have a goal of $300 per month on necessities and more. To find more details about it how we are planning to do it, check out my introduction post on No Spend Month challenge: July .
What we started with
We did not stock up groceries on gas as we wanted to see and live normally as we could. Also, if we stock up, we are actually defeating the purpose of spending less on one month. We had to buy groceries and gas this weekend as scheduled normally. Plus having a month start with 3 day holidays weekend usually meant that some gathering and outing that could bust our budget, if we are not careful and we have just done that, almost blew off our budget.
Bad: What could be potential problem for budget breaker
July always begins with long weekend holiday here in the US. This weekend we had planned a trip to Yosemite National Park with family members while ago. Yosemite is very beautiful national park with waterfalls, plenty of hiking and nature to soak up and enjoy. Yosemite is 4.5 hours one way drive from our place and we drove increasing our gas budget and entertainment budget way over I would have liked.
Good: What worked: What could help keep our $300 budget
We brought snacks, and food from home (either pre-made or easily made there such as sandwiches) so we can not only save money but eat, healthy, nutritious and vegetarian meals that we want. (Note: we are vegetarians who limits our dairy products intake so often time eating out does not leave many choices for us), we did picnic lunch and dinner and spent money on coffee for us and small hot meal for kids once.
We took free shuttle bus tours inside the Yosemite park and other places we drove and hiked easy ones that we can do with little kids. We took everything kids might need or want from home such as kids and baby food, diapers, bugs spray, toys, books, crayons and paper to keep them entertained when nature was not enough to keep them occupy.
Kids loved outdoor and so did we. Eating our own food also made eating quicker and easier as July 4th time, Park was full and there were waiting to get in to some restaurants.
We saw fireworks while driving back at night and got to see many type of fireworks along the highway, costing us nothing. We sang songs, laughed and cried with kids when they did not sleep. Overall it was fun and tiring trip. Little P was bit cranky from heat and not napping and R got tired from one hiking walk to waterfall view. However R enjoyed looking for animal tracks and watching birds and squirrels and little P had a whole lot of space to run and climb everywhere.
On Monday today, we are planning to stay put in home and unpack rest of the stuff and getting much needed rest.
Total Spent this update:
Total spent with gas, groceries and other misc items Total: $ 104.73
Our plan going forward:
Since we spend about third of our total months budget already, we need to curb our other spending very much so. This Yosemite trip, even though was very budget planned still can break our whole month’s plan. This weekend blew up our budget and we have to work hard to get it back in control again.
We have less than $200 left for whole month. So, we are planning to use up what we have in our pantry and cabinet before buying more food. We will have to curb our eating out or gathering (unless it is potluck) for the remaining of month and enjoy true free and fun things to do without feeling deprived. That is a big challenge.
Writing in open form like this blog, keeps me check and makes me realize how easily we can spend and go over the budget if we are not careful.
Our next update will be on next Monday afternoon. Stay tuned.
Other people who are on No-spend month Journey:
The following bloggers are also on No-spend month journey like me; If you get a chance check them out and encourage them.
Sharon from Midlife mom Musing is also joined No-spend month plan and has a budget of $1500 per month and are family of 6 people. Check out her daily updates on her blog.
Autumn from Penny Pinching Momma who has 7 members in family and only $200 budget for the whole month. Wow, seems so much tougher but looks like she has a plan to achieve the goal.
If you know others who have officially joined let me know so that we can join and support each other.
Check out next in series: No spend Month July challenge: Update 2 to see if we did any better.