Saturday, March 10, 2012

Minimal Spending March

DSC_0036 (Gorgeous twins, Francisco and Lourenco, have nothing to do with this post, just thought you all might be missing some of these delightful faces since I haven’t written about the boys lately – enjoy!)

It wasn’t intentional that the month of March contains so much so-called sacrifice for me this year.  It happened kinda by accident, unless of course you consider the leading of the Holy Spirit intentional, in which case it wasn’t by accident at all!

As I wrote in my previous post, I am celebrating Lent this year by abstaining from facebook and from reading blogs.  Of which I read a lot.  Like 20 or so.  Every day.  The blogs I read are helpful and inspiring and there is nothing wrong with them, I’ve learned a lot from them.  They are about cooking, homemaking, raising and educating children, crafts, etc. I will likely return to reading most of them when Lent is over.  But they, with facebook, have been taking up too much of my time and energy and I haven’t been choosing real-life activities enough.

I was struck by this thought – “when did I start reading ABOUT cooking rather than cooking?”  “when did I start reading ABOUT crafting rather than crafting?”  I was aware for awhile I needed to break this habit.

But wait, this post is about Minimal Spending March, not Lent!  Let’s carry on  . . .

So, on one of these blogs, one of my favorites called Small Notebook (http://smallnotebook.org/2009/07/01/the-no-spend-month-challenge/) I read about their family’s annual endeavor to be mindful of their spending.  It inspired me to do the same. (I told you the blogs I read are inspiring!) This is just one of the articles, they did it three years.  If you’re interested, this article will include lots more links to what they did, what they learned and what they took away with them

So, rather spontaneously, Minimal Spending March was born!  (It took me awhile to come up with that catchy label – “for one month I can spend money on things but not much, I’ve given myself a set, very restricted budget” was a bit cumbersome!).  It just “so happened” to be the same month as the majority of Lent.

I took the amount she spends on her family of four as a cue (obviously we live very different lifestyles, I don’t think she has to pay $8-10 for gas for one trip to the grocery store!) and set myself a budget of $20 a week, $80 for the month, for all of my spending.  This does NOT include spending on the boys or my work or giving within the context of my work.  This does include the $8 I will spend on toilet paper, representing 10% of my monthly allowance!  My friend asked to use my restroom and jokingly apologized for using up some of my precious TP/money!

This will include food, gas, phone credit, eating out, trinkets, etc.  In the interest of total disclosure, it does NOT include my Coke Lite!  This is my game, I can make the rules.  So there!

I’ve made a fairly big mistake so far.  Here it is, Day 10, and I’ve just sat down and written everything down that I’ve spent.  I also just now did the math to determine $80 for Mozambican Mets and realized I had 2160 mets to spend.  It suddenly made those 79 met grapes a luxury that maybe could have waited til April and I could have made do with the apples that were already in my fridge.  If I’d already had a running tally, I might have made a different choice.

Plus, one of the points of this exercise if being mindful of my spending!  Not writing down the first ten days made it fuzzy and vague rather than in clear focus.

Writing down what I’ve spent so far in ten days was shocking – $57.29!!!  That means I have $22.71 left to spend.  For the next 21 days!!!  That’s $1 a day! 

I hope I have enough toilet paper!!!

1 comment:

Marcia Francois said...

I think this is fantastic.

And I remember you saying exactly that when we met - reading about organising instead of organising, etc.

I'm tidying a bit, and then reading blogs, and tidying a bit, so I'm being half productive instead of a total slob!

but good night!