Well, it seems I just couldn't stay away from you for too long - was that even two days?
I just popped back to tell you about the Spending Hiatus, which also officially ended on the 17th. We kept it up like good little children, but here on the blog the project was completely outnumbered and overshadowed by all of my birthday shenanigans. As it should be.
As some of you know, back in May, Nick and I decided that we needed to curb our spending a bit. To deal with that, and to hopefully teach us ourselves some good habits along the way, we determined that we were not going to spend any money unnecessarily for two months. This meant no impulse buys, no recreational shopping, and no eating out unless in the company of friends.
And we actually did it!
Yes, money was spent along the way, and yes, we did occasionally flub things up a little bit, but, all in all, we did it! And just like in an after school special, the true reward was found in our journey and in the lessons learned. What's that you say? Oh, you'd like a list of the things we've learned? Well, why didn't you say so!
- You really don't need as many things as you might think you do. I will happily admit that I am exceptionally skilled at spending money, and always have a growing list of things we "need," but I have survived just fine for the past two months without them.
- Along those lines, I think we got better at using and enjoying the things we already do have. I didn't plant anything new in the garden, but I took pride in weeding the flower beds and keeping them tidy. So many of our meals came out of things we already had on hand, and I think getting a bit creative was good for us. We've invented some new meals because of it, and saved a good chunk of change by using up what we had already, and planning our shopping lists around ingredients that could be used for more than one meal.
- Going out to dinner should be a treat, and is not a human right. We had gotten so into the habit of eating out at least every weekend that I especially felt completely deprived if there wasn't a restaurant in my weekend plans. Making the rule that we only go out with friends, means that going out to eat has become the treat that it should be. And really, if you think that we typically spend about $30 on dinner for two every single weekend, the Spending Hiatus has saved us about $240 by eating at home.
- Making sacrifices is hard. Giving up all of my summery dreams for the backyard was, and still is, hard. This is the third summer we have spent in this home, and our yard is still a barren wasteland of mostly dirt (and admittedly, a Japanese maple). We had wanted to do some pretty extensive (and expensive) work in it this summer, but opted to postpone those plans when we decided to do our Spending Hiatus. But as disappointing as that is, it does feel really good to know that I am capable of giving something up for the greater good, and make the right decision, even when it's not a particularly fun one.
- But it actually was kind of a fun one! Not spending money for entertainment caused Nick and I to get a bit more creative. So we played games, we baked, we watched movies on Netflix, we went hiking, all things that didn't cost anything extra. And on the few occasions that we treat ourselves to dinner with friends or a movie (thank you for the gift card, Tess!), it was extra fun and special to go out and do something different.
- And finally, we learned that the good ol' belt-tightening trick does work! No, our bank account isn't overflowing with wealth, but for only having done this for two months. there has been some definitely positive results.
I have to say that it's a relief to be finished. And I have to say that we're not actually finished yet, because we've decided to adopt some of our strategies into every day life.
Image borrowed here