We did it! All of January, we resisted eating out or spending money frivolously. We would’ve hit it out of the park if it hadn’t been for some unforeseen expenses that smacked us hard.
In succession, we got:
- A bill for the last of Iko’s surgeries, and his cremation bill. I’d forgotten how expensive cremation was, especially for a big dog. But we didn’t have much choice, we were in the middle of monsoon season and had no way to even dig a proper grave. We were given a rare gift when it came to the surgery though. Our vet didn’t charge us for any of her time, which was considerable, only the drugs she used during and after the surgery. God bless her. I think she was nearly as distraught as we were when we lost our boy at the end.
- A $1500 crown. Greg lost his tooth. I honestly didn’t know crowns could cost so much. But I couldn’t let him go around toothless, could I? 🙂
- A garage door opener. It died. We could’ve lived without it until February, but we had a coupon at Lowes that expired on January 31. We bought it then to take advantage of the discount. Hopefully buying it on the 31st will put it on next month’s billing window anyway.
Our willpower held when it came to eating out, so we did well in that arena. I was a little disappointed when it came to prescription drugs. Somehow they all came up for refill at the same time.
Gas (for the car) was negligible. We tried to stay home as much as possible, which wasn’t hard to do since the weather was awful in January.
I cooked every day, two and three times a day. I made sure that I always had frozen food defrosting in the fridge several days in advance, so there was always food ready to prepare.
The other thing I did was try new recipes instead of falling into the same old rut. It made eating at home a little more exciting and I think Greg was glad for the changes. We had more soups and casseroles. If I took out a big roast, I cut it up into smaller chunks and tried different ways to prepare them.
Our biggest success was cooking a super moist brisket in the oven (not the smoker) like Greg always had in the past. It was SOOOO good. We liked it so much we cooked another piece of brisket later in the month. That one meat alone lasted for several meals.
Groceries. Can I say how surprised I was at the price of food? We mostly bought fruits, vegetables, and bread, but the prices were sky high. We even bought most of our produce in season but it made no difference. The only items that were reasonable were the few canned goods I got on sale. During the month of January I bought no meat. Meat, poultry, and fish were straight from the freezer.
I did make a good dent in the freezer and pantry. I hope to keep it going a while longer. I’ve got to make up for that $1500 tooth somewhere. 😀
So here’s our report card on our No-Spend Month
Animal feed $29.64
It’s not as good as we did last year, though we did better on groceries because we ate from the pantry/freezer more. If it hadn’t been for the $2000 in dental and vet needs, it would’ve been a cakewalk. Such is life.
We’ll likely try another No-Spend Month again later in the year. Once I got into the rhythm it was kind of fun looking up new ways to cook meats and seafood.
I should add that I’m going to continue tracking our spending for the whole year. After seeing last month’s bills, I’m seeing leaks in our spending. I was roughing out some numbers and we should have had more saved up by the end of the year than we had. We hardly ever travel, so the leaks have to be coming from somewhere else. I’m on the case and will be investigating!
Where do you think your spending leaks are? Do you save as much as you expect?