We've made it.
Barring any impulsive behavior today, my family and I will have successfully managed to live a relatively normal life without spending a single extra dime in the month of February.
I'm pretty proud of that.
How much money have we saved?
That's been the question many of you have asked over the course of the month. And a question I've pondered myself. Until today, I really hadn't kept track.
I tallied up the numbers this morning and was kind of surprised at just how much we saved. It just goes to show how much mindless spending goes on in the world even by the so-called frugalistas of the world like myself.
I did not include any money saved on purchases that were merely delayed, such as my much-whined-about laptop that died about halfway through the month.
Since we'll be buying one pronto, that isn't really a savings.
I did, however, count the $200 in grocery money that we normally spend over the course of any given month. Some of you challenged whether that was a true savings, saying we would likely spend more than usual in March to replenish the stash. That's a good point and something I will be keeping an eye on. But in past years, I've kept to my $50-a-week budget after our no-spend challenges.
Truthfully, we will be so excited to have a new infusion of food in the pantry I don't think we'll mind the few inconveniences that are likely to come up until we're totally restocked.
In the end, I estimated we've saved $550 in our experiment in shunning consumerism. Here's a little cheat sheet of how I arrived at that figure:
$200 in groceries
$110 in dinners out had we treated our company when they came to town
$21 for six boxes of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (That's our typical order.)
$48 in deal-of-the day Internet deals that I almost certainly would have purchased
$60 in Friday night date night takeout
$20 for a birthday party gift that we ended up making ourselves (our fabulous juice pouch purse creation)
$25 for new clothes for a middle school dance my daughter attended (She made do with what she had and lived to tell about it.)
$25 for Valentine's Day dinner out (We ate in with candles and a cloth on the table, and I made cheesecake for dessert.)
$40 in "weak moment" spending. (This is my catch-all for money spent on a bad day, an unexpectedly busy day or any other excuse we make to ourselves to rationalize a purchase. At just 10 bucks a week, this is pretty low but we're pretty good about curbing this type of spending.)
Now we've got to figure out what we'll do with that hard-earned cash.
Read about that, and other thoughts about our no-spend challenge, in this Sunday's paper.