Thursday, April 5, 2012

Other Learning Experiences

Over the course of the Spending Fast, I learned a few things.

First of all, I spend WAY too much money on non-essentials. Restaurant dining, grocery abundance, cocktails, and apparel all ate away unnecessarily at my paycheck. I didn't think I indulged in such things very often,but the savings last month proved the contrary.

Secondly, I acquired a lot less garbage. Trash collection is weekly in my neighborhood, and recycling collection happens bi-weekly. Over the entire month of March I threw away two mostly-full garbage bags. I never had enough recycling to fill the bag, so I never had to put it out for collection. I didn't think much about my trash until I started realizing how little I was accumulating once I started utilizing what I already had. This further contributed to the evidence of the massive accumulation of waste that occurs each time we make purchases.

Thirdly, my social life declined significantly. I hung out with one friend over the course of a month. It's apparent that the idea of having to go somewhere and buy something (food, beverages, admission to an event or show) was how I preferred to socialize. However, the friendships are more important to me than the bills I accrue... so why did my time with friends come to a screeching halt? I will assess this further in a future post.

Lastly, and very importantly, I didn't feel like I missed out on anything. It would have been great to see my friends more, but the lack of spending money did not impede on my quality of life. My desire to buy stemmed not from a decline in my standard of living, but because consumerism had been so hard-wired in my system that I had to go through a withdrawal period in order to shake it.

There is still much more learning and much more saving to do. I'm not finished with this journey, or this blog.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spending Fast: The Final Tally

So, now of the moment you've all been waiting for... how much money did I save during my Spending Fast in March?

First, I tallied up my total spending and compared it to my total spending in the month of February, as well as my previously-calculated average monthly spending.

The results don't lie, folks. The truth hit me like a brick in the face... A delicious, joyous brick.

After a full month of paying only for bills, emergency items, and necessary fuel, I spent $851.44 less than I did in February on non-essentials.

Let me say that again: $851.44.

Even if I were to add my out-of-pocket medical costs, I still saved $180 over last month's spending.

February was a shorter month, so total spending was a little lower than usual. When compared to my total average monthly spending, I technically saved--- be still my heart--- $987.46 in March. Including the medical bills, I still saved $316.03.

Let me be clear on this. If I were to embark on a Spending Fast without medical bills looming--- and I paid for my mortgage, energy, Internet, water/sewer, credit card bill, cell phone, gasoline, and even some groceries--- I would officially save a shitload. Officially.

Even if I actually buy some groceries in April, I could continue to spend lightly and continue to rake in the savings.

It can be done, folks.

"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."
- Proverbs 23:7