Whew. Anybody else feel like January lasted for like 100 days? I don’t know why the first month of the year always feels so stinking long!
It was a crazy month indeed. I moved to a new ambulance/station at work which is in an entirely new section of our county that I haven’t worked much in. It’s fantastic though because it’s knocked about 30 minutes each way off my commute, 40 miles off round trip, and I’m using a lot less gas which is awesome. Plus I pass by Costco on my way home from work, which thankfully is closed at 7am when I get off (because no one needs to spend that kind of money during a no spend challenge, lets be honest), but the gas station is open that early and gas there is super cheap!
As for sticking to my wants vs needs list, well, it was a challenge at times, I won’t lie, but I’m going to go ahead and toot my own horn and say I rocked it.
See my tracker below?
Ya, I only had one big slip up… A ticket to go see Kesha live with my work partner/friend in April. Honestly, I could have technically filed it under my social category in the needs section (see my previous post to see my reasoning for needing a social budget) BUT, there are a lot cheaper social activities I could be doing than an $80 concert ticket, so making it a need is not justifiable. That being said, do I regret buying it? No way. I have wanted to see Kesha in concert for years and when the opportunity popped up to see her and to have someone to go with I jumped at it, and I’m pretty excited!
(P.S. That same tracker is available in my free printables section of the blog if you need one!)
If I’m being entirely honest this month wasn’t a huge challenge with wants vs needs. A fact I attribute to the whole concept still being so new and exciting. There were definitely a couple things I ran into that I had to tell myself no when it came to it, but overall, differentiating between wants vs needs wasn’t to hard. I’m sure this will change eventually so I’m not taking this honeymoon stage for granted!
Now let me talk about some successes. Some small changes I made this month, or ideas I breathed life into that seemed to work….
- Actively avoiding tolls for the most part. I still drove through a few toll plazas, because toll roads are everywhere around here and in these situations they drastically cut down in my commute time HOWEVER, I avoided tolls approx. 95% of the time, which I’m pretty proud of.
- Starting a pantry challenge. Halfway through January, I realized that I don’t need to be dedicating as much to groceries as I am because I am wasting so much food and I have a HUGE stockpile. My cupboards are nowhere close to empty. So for the second half of January as well as the full month of February, I’m doing a pantry challenge. I’ll let you know how the rest of it goes, but so far so good!
- Using my extra time to focus on establishing good habits. The first I decided to focus on was a good dental care routine. Dental work is so expensive (not to mention painful) so preventative care is paramount but I’ve always sucked at it. I made it a goal to brush/floss/use mouth wash every night before bed and so far I’m at 100%! The second goal/habit I chose to focus on in January was taking time to read a little bit everyday. I will admit, I missed two days, but every other day I was successful and I finished 4 books by the end of the month! Two books I already owned on my kindle, a physical book I owned, and a library book!
- I finally finished up my bottle of dish soap. Instead of throwing the bottle away I washed off the gook and refilled it using a giant bottle of dish soap I got from Costco for free last year.
Now lets get to the fun part. The money I saved!
So January is a bit of a unique month. I did cut categories from my budget, because of the challenge, which helped, but January was also a 3 paycheck month as well as the month where I get my PTO check (I earn 163 of bonus PTO a year since I have to work holidays as a paramedic (we get it instead of holiday pay) which cashes out down to 70 hours every January). So my income this month was abnormally high. I won’t have this much leftover in the coming months so that’s something I’m coming to terms with.
Also, I will owe money on my taxes (approx $1000) so the first priority will be to apply what I save to that.
So what are my final numbers?
I’m pretty proud indeed. Hopefully in the next week or so I’ll know exactly how much I owe on taxes and how much I can pay to debt.
And now, one last thought on January. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but the last week-ish of the month was actually spent on vacation visiting my family in WA, a trip that was planned before I decided to do the challenge. I count the spending on that as seperate and a full breakdown and budget travel recap will be coming in it’s own blog soon!
And there you have it, 1 month down and at least 5 more to go! We’ll see 😉 Anyone else out there doing a no spend challenge along with me I’d love to hear about your successes as well!