No spend month – update

My No Spend Month has turned into a rather spendy month.  I probably should have expected it.  Having the car has made it so much easier to get out, and it turn out that there’s been a lot on my shopping list for a long time that it’s suddenly easy for me to take care of, and so that’s exactly what I do.  Of course, the question is whether or not I actually needed these things, given how long I’d waited for some of them, but most of it is stuff that I’d be picking up at some point anyway.  I’m wondering if it may make more sense for me to try a no spend month another month instead.

With the car, I’ve stocked up on food from the Asian grocery and the bulk food store.  I also picked up some sewing supplies for a hand sewing project that I’ve had on my mind for awhile now.  The craft store is right beside a thrift store, and since I was down there anyway I went in and left with two books on making soap for my stack of reference materials, a pair of shearling mittens, and a cookbook.  We also had a long-planned sushi dinner with friends (that I forgot about when planning for the month), which was another $50, and I put $40 of gas into the car since I didn’t fill it when I got it.

The other big sticking point was that this week was the library book sale.  No books (other than a few specially priced ones) are over $2.  I arguably don’t need more books.  But buying from the library sale is usually at least half the price (if not less) of buying from other used sources, and one trip will keep me in inexpensive reading material for some time.  I usually try to stick to authors that I’ve been looking for anyway, but it just so happened that this year they had a lot of stuff that had been my list.  $26 later I walked out with 13 books, one which I missed in the picture, but all of which I’m thrilled with.

This month’s total:

  • Asian grocery store – $32
  • Bulk store – $16
  • Craft thread – $10
  • Two books on making soap – $8
  • Shearling mittens – $3
  • Cookbook – $4
  • Sushi – $50
  • Gas – $40
  • Book sale – $26

Total: $189

So…not great.  The groceries are fine – I always stock up when I have the car.  I’m not so bothered by the books, either – I go every year, and it’s always nice to stock up on remarkable inexpensive reading materials.  I’m not driving very much, but keeping gas in the car is still necessary.  The craft supplies I likely would have bought next month, and by buying them when I did, I got a two-for-one deal.

But…I’m wondering if it’s not such a great thing that I have an excuse for pretty much every purchase that I want to make.  It makes it easy to justify anything I want, whether or not it’s truly necessary.  Books become cheap entertainment or future reference.  Dinner out is equated with being social and having a night off.  Thread is linked with learning a new skill and creating something by hand.  Sure, these are all good things that I want to cultivate, but I still don’t want to feel like I’m constantly using them to get stuff that I happen to want, especially when I already have so much.  I have books and thread and ingredients for making dinner.  New stuff isn’t truly necessary.

I suspect I’m still saving more than I normally would while having a car.  I’m aware of what I’m buying, and have stayed away from some things that I’d normally do or buy because driving suddenly makes them a lot more convenient.  I’m still likely spending more than I would in an ordinary month, though.  But if nothing else, being more aware of my spending and my apparent ability to justify purchases is a good thing, and hopefully I can use this knowledge to my advantage in cutting back a bit more in the coming months, especially now that I’m all stocked up on reading materials, cooking ingredients, and sewing supplies.


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