1 Month of Saving and Purging

Well a month has come and gone and here were some things we have learned about “Minimalism”. We saved 1,300, made some extra cash, and donated truck loads full.

People always ask, “How do you save that much?”

Well simple answer:  by cutting $5 for coffee, and $12 for lunch, and all of those under 10 dollar purchases. We tried to eat out only on Saturday, and used gift cards for Friday. We also sold the random clutter we don’t use on garage sale sites and websites like decluttr.
Decluttr -we sold all of our games and DVD’s for $50. You type in the barcode and they send you a prepaid shipping label. P.S. No one buys DVD’s anymore and Gamestop won’t give you much for old games anyways.
We paid our bills and ate. Oh and if my cable bill gets too high, I switch or get a promotion. I will never pay over $170 for internet and cable combined. Don’t let them railroad you. That was it. Little things month to month, make big things.
We used this to determine how much was possible to save in a month. I just changed categories to “diapers” “dog food” etc. https://www.spreadsheet123.com/ExcelTemplates/monthly-budget-planner.html

My complicated answer. We didn’t over spend in the first place. It’s a complicated statement, but Pete the Planner says that if your household is working and you are still paycheck to paycheck without room for any savings, you can’t afford your lifestyle. We didn’t buy our house at the highest loan we could get. We have mediocre normal vehicles. Every tax season and bonus.. we put it in savings. We “Normally” don’t have credit card debt because we use our savings. So that, helps with HOW. There is room for it. BUT, there is always room when you spend money on trivial things. Maybe your savings is less, but if its $50, that’s $50 more than you had, and it will accrue. It’s $50 you can save and spend on something you VALUE. I VALUE my dog. Do I wish I could go to Hawaii instead of pay vet bills? Yes. Life doesn’t care about your plans. So plan ahead. Outsmart life…. Then tell me how you did it, because I currently have no idea.

Here is my biggest spending and savings in one: FOOD.
I think food costs helped us save as well. I spent $200 on 22 dinners and 15 days worth of breakfast and lunch. I spent another $100 on lunches and varies things the second half of the month. I prep them all on the first of the month in order to make sure we don’t veer from the path. Dinners included: Beef stew, zucchini boats (aka cucumber boats), 2 chicken and mushroom dinners, shrimp enchiladas, tacos, brats and broccoli mac and cheese, 3 veggie spaghetti and turkey meat sauce, chicken parmigiana, roast beef and green bean casserole, lasagna, 2 crab cakes and veggies, chili, and Mexican bake.
We used lunches as left overs, also I take 1 chicken breast with buffalo sauce and ranch seasoning in a crockpot for a week of lunches for my husband.  (I just eat special K meal bars or tuna salad for lunch).

Lessons learned:
1.       We have WAY too many things
How did it happen? Why do we buy things, that we don’t need. How many things do you buy to make things more convenient only, to never really use it?
2.       Electronics are a scam.
Xbox, XBOX 1, there will be an Xbox Abyss soon I’m sure. Where all those games you paid for will be worthless, and the only fun can be found in the new, best version of a new game system.
3.       Also DVDS? Just get rid of them.
I have Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’m never watching them again. We sold all of our old games and DVDs on Decluttr. You don’t make a lot, but be real, they are worthless.
4.       Clothes aren’t made to last (fashion wise).
I got rid of 3 trash bags full of clothes then went up and found more, and when I thought there were nothing left to purge, I made myself get rid of another trash bag. That is 5 this month and 9 trash bags this year. THAT IS CRAZY. It actually helps me dress better because I’m using quality basics, not getting overwhelmed by choices.
5.       I’m cleaning less.
I didn’t pitch my son’s 1.5 million toys. I simple put them into bags, and I am rotating. Instead of having all his big toys downstairs, which I had to pick up daily…I just left a few downstairs, and when he gets bored we swap out another group, and bring those upstairs. The clutter downstairs has decreased and I am already less stressed.
6.       There is still a long way to go. 
The garage. The closet. The pantry. The others we haven’t let go of yet.
7.       We can be a family.
We can eat at the dinner table because its not full of things. We have family night during the week and do something cheap or free, because I mean….you can only watch so much TV.

Life is complicated. We don't have to make it MORE complicated by having too many things to take care of.

I love looking back at family photos and seeing how happy people were with less.  More people, less things.

My next monthly challenge:
1.       Minimal Meals is brought to me by a Frugal facebook group. She challenges you to only eat from what you have in your pantry. Now, I am not going that intense, but I reorganized my freezer and with about $10 worth of more supplies I will have 9 more meals that I can make from things in my freezer and pantry. Nine dinners, essentially for $10. WIN.
2.       No Spend Again
Well my dog likes to cost ungodly amounts of money so we are continuing our no spend month to Feb. We stick to free things like library movie night, using old gift cards, visiting family and friends with wine night, and using our memberships when we are bored. (First Thursday of the month 4pm-on, the IMA is free. Cool date night.)
3.       Vacation Freeze.
This was my hardest. We were about to schedule our Spring Break for St. Louis, but vet bills decided otherwise. I am excited to do an extreme savings Spring Break in Indiana that is still fun for everyone. I already got a Groupon for an indoor waterpark in French Lick for $30 for all 3 of us and another local hit for $6! I like a challenge, and this will be a fun challenge yet we will still have a great time.
**Did you know you could install the app HONEY on your chrome browser and it will give you discount codes at any checkout? Well it works.

What is your monthly challenge? Good luck!


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