Monday, February 1, 2016

31 Days of No Spending Challenge Final Thoughts

So I've finished my 31 days. Check out my original post here, my day 11 update here, my day 21 update here, and my day 31 update here. Let me tell you how this last month has gone.

It's been a crazy month for me. I've learned a lot about myself. Frankly, I eat out waaaay too much! This was a challenge for me to try to save up some money and try to not be struggling financially all the time. But I have realized that in order for me to lose weight and become healthy, I have to reevaluate my choices. We spent (between me using my card to buy food instead of paying my sister rent and me actually buying food) $259.18 on non-home-cooked meals this month. Actually, allow me to rephrase that: I spent that much. That isn't counting how much Amanda (my sister) spent on food that we didn't cook at home. No wonder I'm gaining weight.

For the month of January, between my two jobs, I took home $1,427.57. That's a lot of money. Sure, I have probably had better months in the past, especially when I was working 40 hours a week making almost $14 an hour. But since October 2014 I've been really struggling. I'm glad to see that I can make a good amount of money. This means I can start focusing on what's important: my health.

I "invested" (read: Amanda bought it for me) in a planner. It wasn't very expensive, only $8, but it's exactly what I was looking for. It has a full calendar for each month of 2016 plus it breaks down the weeks. I can use this planner to start making meal plans and also plan blog posts. Time is going to be scarce now that I'm working every day (literally) and will be up before dawn every day.

I have realized over this month that not only do I have a serious issue with saving money, I also have a serious issue with eating. I'm going to take everything I've learned and figure out a way to improve. I want to do another No Spend Challenge this year, maybe in a few months, to see how I can do.

But let me tell you, this has been exhausting. It's really hard to save money when people (most often people you owe money to) have their hands out. I kept thinking "I can't save money if I'm paying bills" but I'm seeing just how much I spend on unnecessary things. Especially food. I need to repair my relationship with food, but also with my wallet.

I am glad to see that I'm ending this month with $273 saved. Some of that is in my uncashed paycheck, but I do have a positive balance in my bank account. And it's greater than a few dollars. This is good news for me. I'm so used to living paycheck to paycheck and being completely broke after Saturday and I'm glad I don't have that feeling anymore.

So while this month wasn't as great of a success as I was planning (I was hoping for over $500 saved by today), it's also not a complete bust. At the end of last month I had less than $10 in my account. And the same goes for every month before that, even going back to when I had a decent paying job.

I'm glad I went through with my no spend challenge and I'm glad for all I have learned.

Did any of you follow along with me? Do you want to do your own no spend challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

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