20 days in - 2/3 of the way through Essentials Only Month

Monday, July 30, 2012

Well, here we are. Another 10 days of Essentials Only/No Spend Month have passed. I've got to say that it is (surprisingly) flying by, but that's good, right?

Our total spend during these 20 days is now at $139.04, which is just over the 2/3 mark of our $200 total budget. We're doing pretty well in terms of money spent.

The big money-suckers of the last 10 days were gas, groceries, and a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy K-cups (hey, coffee is totally, unquestionably an ESSENTIAL! Plus, I always have BBB coupons floating around). I did have to take a short trip out of town for work, so that took a chunk of my gas: although I will be reimbursed for it, it was still an expense I made up-front, so I'm counting it for now.

For meals, we have done really, really well! I menu-planned the last two weeks and we made an efficient use of things we already had in the pantry, freezer and fridge. It sooooo helps to have all the meals for the week planned out - I love it. It makes life so much easier. I like knowing exactly what I'm going to make for dinner and about how long it will take so I can plan other things around dinner prep, like getting on the treadmill or running errands after work.

Eating out is a sticking point for us, but we ate out as a couple only once - last night - and a friend graciously and unexpectedly picked up the tab, so I guess that didn't count!

I will say that eating cheaply has cost me some precious calories: it's hard to eat well on a tight budget. We haven't had as many fresh fruits and veggies this month, that's for sure. And I much as I LOVE it and it's cheap, pasta - a staple lately - is not good for the waistline, generally speaking. [Side note: I have been tracking my calories in an attempt to lose a little weight since May. Prior to EOM, I had lost 11 pounds in 8 weeks! But I have now gained back 2 of those lost pounds, likely kick-started by our beach vacay over the Fourth of July and certainly not helped by EOM-style eating. Anyway, I'm still truckin' along! I hope to be at my goal weight - which would be a total of 16.5 pounds lost - by the end of September. Slowly but surely!]

Emotionally, it's a little draining. I still feel like Alex and I are doing this for different reasons: I am doing it to use up what we already have, save money, and try to change our spending habits. He is doing is because I am making him (kidding!!) - no, I think he's doing it simply to save money. I accused him of "cheating" one day last week because he picked up fast-food and used his business account, when he could (*should*) have used his EOM cash. But that's just me trying to challenge ourselves a little more! I guess it really doesn't matter, as long as we're both on board the same ship. And we are.

We have $60.96 to last us the next 10 days - can we do it? Well I'm going to go ahead and tell you...no. Not technically, anyway. I am getting a much-needed haircut tomorrow, and that is going to cost around $50. Yes, I could wait until after August 9th to get it done - but that's kind of cheating, right? I mean, I am going to spend the money anyway, and after consulting my calendar and my stylist's availability over the next few weeks, it was a now-or-never move (and for the record, I haven't had a trim since March. March!!!). In an effort to be fully transparent, that $50 expense will not be coming from our EOM cash and will be paid for by a swipe of the ole' debit card.

I am looking forward to EOM's end, don't get me wrong...but I have already sensed a change in how I think about spending, the things I buy, and my habits. I'm excited to see how those changes develop even more over the last 10 days of EOM. Change is a-comin'!

Penny is not losing sleep over Essentials Only Month and our limited budget.

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