Financial Challenge: No Money May

My name is Erica and I'm addicted to sushi, Arctic Zero and popchips Hi, Erica.

It sounds innocent enough, but make 2-3 trips to the store each week to pick up said items and that's an extra $80-$120 a month! Add that to meeting friends out for dinner once a week, or catching up downtown over a glass or two of wine, and your looking at more like $200-300 a month.

2014-01-24 12.55.22

Oh goodbye $10! Get in my belly.

With two trips this month (New Orleans and Nashville) and some major trips coming up late this year it's time I reign in unnecessary spending. This may be the first time in years I'm not able to pay my credit card off at the end of the month. No bueno! I purchase all things on the card to get points, but pay it off so I never have to pay interest. I'll be able to pay it off by next month but that is a verrrry slippery slope that I don't want to fall down.

Of course, all this travel coincides with the Summer term which means I'll be teaching a bit less than usual. I normally teach 4-5 classes a term, and this Summer I'm only teaching 3. I do receive income from writing and this blog but it's so unpredictable that I try not to factor it into my monthly income. According to my budget below my teaching course load will cover everything but leave zero left over for travel, savings, and race/tri fees. I'm looking into getting a part-time job over the Summer and if I do all of that money will go toward a tri bike and travel.

So, my goal isn't to spend any money (that would be virtually impossible) but to become much more vigilant about all these little 'quick trips' and going out with friends. No Money May just sounds better than 'financially restrictive May'.

Goal: Limit grocery & discretionary spending to $50 a week

Monthly Budget: 1600

  • Rent  700
  • Student Loan  400
  • Food/Fun  200
  • Power  120
  • Insurance/Cell  100
  • Cable/Netflix    40
  • Salem     40

If I want to pick up Sushi on the weekend, it's coming out of that $50. If I want to take a yoga class with a friend, it's coming out of that $50. As such my goal will be to spend $30 a week on groceries to leave some leftover for fun stuff. It will be a challenge but I have so much food in my pantry/freezer that's been there for months that I need to use up and this is the perfect opportunity. I see lots of frozen veggies and dry beans/lentils in my future!

I do have one race I want to do this month, the Gate to Gate Memorial Run, and I'll be paying for that with my Paypal account (whenever I get paid via paypal for freelance work I just let the money sit there to pay taxes at the end of the year with.) Dad and I will run the race together and I ran it last year and it's a really incredible run. I may also use money from that account to take 3 months of swim lessons for $80.

Gate to gate

Aside from that I don't see any reason I can't stick to my goal of $50 a week. Since I'm all out of groceries from not restocking after Nashville I'm going to start week 1 today, and I'll try to keep everyone posted on how it's going on the blog each week. I ran to the store and tried to be vigilant about getting whatever brand was on sale, looking for BOGO's, and keeping produce to a minimum. I still spent $40! Ugh.

2014-04-29 16.08.11In a perfect world I'd have an orange with greek yogurt & oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and a sliced apple with cinnamon at night. One of each a day is $14 a week - crazy! I've also been getting the 5 oz individual greek yogurt's and went with the larger tub since it's cheaper (but no fun flavor variety.) My plan for this week is to have this delicious Indian Korma for lunch, and a Boca burger with steamed veggies & 1/2 a sweet potato for dinner. I also 'splurged' and spent $5 on popcorn as I always get the munchies after dinner and my air popper just died.

What is one area of spending you could cut back on?

If you could save more $ what would you spend it on?