Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Frugal Halloween? Maybe?

Remember when Husband and I did the No Spend Challenge back in June? And remember how we spent? Okay, not much. We actually did REALLY well, I think. But here we are, settled in to a new school year, our vacation and most of the birthdays we celebrate behind us, and a brand new home on the horizon. So we've decided that it's time for another No Spend Month.

This time we're going to take it on in October. It won't be easy, since our anniversary and Halloween are in October, we are attending a wedding, and we have a family tradition of visiting a pumpkin patch. So what we've decided to do is budget a certain amount for each of those things and stick to it. Halloween candy is insanely expensive, so I gave myself a $20 budget and bought as much decent candy as possible at Kroger and I am going to worry less about making sure I have enough for every kid who might knock. Once it's gone, I'll turn out the lights and be done with it. Sorry, latecomers.

We're also doing a zero-budget costume challenge. Bug is going to wear a hand-me-down costume from a friend. Bear will have to create her costume out of things we either already have, or that she can borrow. It's going to require some creativity, but I think that's a GOOD thing. She is going to be a Minecraft Endergirl, so it's a fairly simple costume, anyway. Purple hair, black and purple clothes. Easy stuff.


Before we begun, I tallied up all of the "extra" spending we did in July, August, and September and came up with an average per-paycheck total. That amount will go towards our ALMOST PAID OFF credit card balance and our down payment savings fund during each of the three pay periods we have this month. I was both excited and nervous to see the number, but I think it was good to be faced with it. It's so easy to justify all those little purchases, but it can very easily get out of hand. And at this point I'd much rather sink that cash into a beautiful piece of land than an over-priced, calorie-laden cup of coffee.

Are you ready for this? I was not. We're spending about $250 per pay period (that's every two weeks) on "extras". YIKES. That's going out to eat, random little Amazon and Ebay purchases, alcohol, Starbucks, etc. So roughly $500 PER MONTH. That is sobering. But on the upside, that's $750 we'll be putting toward more useful things this month (three pay checks!), and we can use this buffer month to discuss a better way to budget for fun extras without spending thoughtlessly.

If you haven't done it before, consider logging into your online banking account and tallying up all the extraneous spending. We don't use our credit cards at this point, so I didn't have to take those into account, but if you do, make sure to include those purchases in your tally. It's a painful reality, but a good one to face.

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