April Wallet Watch - How'd I Do?

May 01, 2014


the spending freeze is over.  if you remember, i marked april as a no-spend month.  you can read my initial rules about it here but essentially, there was to be absolutely no spending this month outside of basic groceries and 4 pre-planned events.  this post is where i recap exactly how i did in my projected spending for my planned events and groceries as well as where i failed in my spending on all the unnecessary things.

(not listed: monthly bills - rent, health insurance, electric, etc.)

april 2 - small fail: i had to get hawkeye groomed.  she hadn't been in forever because after the vet stuff i just wanted to give her a break.  but her nails and fur on her paws (which bugs her) grew fast and we really couldn't put it off until may.  this is impossible to do myself and just a part of the cost of pet ownership, so it's an essential.  i don't count this as a fail.  i forgot to budget it, but it was not a 'want' nor frivolous. -$80 (yes, i pay $80 to get my dog groomed every two months.  worth it.)

april 6 - budgeted outing with natalie.  to talk blog and eat things, the usual.  i budgeted $40.  spent $11. +$29

april 7 - i won my march madness bracket by a landslide.  +$200

april 9 - john's brother gave me all the change out of his coat pockets.  it was over $7 and i totally bought a raspberry latte with dimes and pennies.  no shame when it's spending freeze month.  nothing to do with my total, but it's funny.

april 10 - movie date night, thanks to a $25 amc gift card.  $0 spent.

april 14 - stayed in with john watching dexter, decided at 8 pm to get ice cream.  i literally snuck across to the grocery while he was in the shower.  that's how much i wanted ice cream, and how much i knew he'd be all 'no, spending freeze!'  -$10

april 16 - impromptu lunch with katie when she started her new job across the street from my office.  i couldn't resist!  -$12

april 17 - john's and my anniversary.  aww so cute.  his gift was charged to my credit card back in march and i already had a card and champagne.  but i budgeted for anything cutesy i might add and to possibly pay for dinner/cab rides but who was i kidding with that, he never lets me pay.  budgeted $100.  paid for one cab, $10.  +$90

april 19 - bunny rock 5k race my mother registered us all for.  my dad pays me $100 if i beat him in races, yes still at age 29 as he did at age 9.  is it fair to still beat him when he's 74?  whatever, we're a competitive family.  +$100

april 19 - budgeted outing for betsy's birthday.  she ended up not feeling well, so money saved for when she's up for it.  $0

april 25 - picked up last minute taco bell taco meat and cheese to make a birthday cake for hawkeye.  -$5

april 26 - hawkeye's birthday party!  judge away.  the hotel got charged to my card way back in february and i knew they had free happy hour, so i just budgeted getting room service for hawkeye, myself, john, and john's pug thor, dinner and breakfast, at $100.  only got dinner, we had stuff early on sunday and had to leave.  spent $60.  +$40

total in cabs: -$40.  see below.


all in all, a few fails, but definitely came out ahead.  so my goal in all of this was to pay off my credit card and therefore finally be debt free.  accomplished!  i'm totally debt free for the first time since moving out of my parents house 10 years ago.  crazy.

struggles: i pass 4 chipotles on my way home from the office.  4.  pure torture.  and a taco bell.  and a billion other great chicago places, so it takes a lot of focus and a lot of leaving my money at home.  it was also damn near impossible not to take cabs when it was sideways raining, but i settled for the train on those days.  my cta pass is already loaded and i never use it so it has enough money for 5 more spending freeze months.  i hate the cta.

things that saved me: (1) gift cards.  i had one to amc theaters, a restaurant, and starbucks.  (2) john.  even though i kept the outings to a minimum, he paid for a couple date night cabs and wrestlemania, and the food we ordered during wrestlemania.  that's probably cheating, but it's not like i would have done those things without him! (3) my mom.  i had budgeted for groceries, those were to be a planned expense.  she bought my groceries and cooked all my meals for me every sunday this month.  best mommy ever!  this meant that i brought all my lunches to work for the whole week, and thus took cabs monday mornings when i carried everything in.  but one $10 cab a week is cheaper than groceries or buying lunch every day!

i think it was a wildly successful no spend month, especially since i didn't go out and buy anything the minute it was over.  all my money is even budgeted for may with ynab, i made $100 in 20 days with swagbucks (all of which will go to christmas gifts, more on that tomorrow), and i read approximately 472 frugal living blogs, like my always favorite michelle and my new favorite shannyn, so i think it kicked off a nice slow down in spending lifestyle change.  we shall see!

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29 comments

  1. You did amazing!! I'm so proud of you Steph!!! xoxo

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  2. Excited to read more about your swag bucks tips...you've pushed me to get back on the wagon after being so diligent when I first signed up. And I'm freakin loving YNAB!

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  3. Kicking ass! My no spend months end up regular spend months! HA! I just don't have the will power. It could be because I drive past like 3 starbucks, plus there's one on campus. It could also be because I go out of my way to find Chipotles where ever I may be. . . But for real though. . . I'm thinking May might be my no eat out month. Maybe.

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    1. Do it! It was hard at first, that first week. But after that it felt totally normal! I absolutely splurged and got chipotle AND a coffee yesterday, but they tasted so much better - like I had earned them or something. You can do it!

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  4. you did well! i did awful and then threw in the towel because it was one failure after another. after we bought our bbq - did you know bbqs are ridiculously priced?? - i looked at my husband and said: well, i guess we fucked wallet watch again! and he looks at me with a blank face and says "wtf is wallet watch". #bloggerproblems

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  5. Nice work :) $80 bucks for a groom is average for a decent groom so not bad. Hawkeye can't look ratchet right? :P I've been spending more than usual but it usually happens when the weather gets nicer. It'll plateau. Lol. Glad you did good on your freeze and enjoy your weekend Steph! -Iva

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  6. Your parents seem so fun and awesome. If they would like to adopt a long distance daughter, I'm available. I think being conscious of your spending is a good thing, and since the wallet watch was announced, I've looked at mine more carefully to see how I could do it in the future. You did great, but how does one have $7 in one's coat? I'm lucky if I can find $1!

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  7. Girl, all I'm thinking is that you MADE money this month! Way to go!! I'm on Swagbucks too. Talk to me about how you made $200! I just rack up my bucks and do nothing with them.

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  8. Way to go! You did WAAAAAAAAY better than I did (embarrassed face).

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    1. Thank you! Hey, you can always try again with May! I'm going to keep going myself. Maybe not as strict, but close!

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  9. nice job!! I thought about doing a spending freeze, but I really only buy alcohol and we all know I can't spend freeze that.

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  10. Good work! I think you killed it.

    I never feel bad when MFD pays for things he wants to do while I'm on a freeze. Hey, his spending money, not mine!

    $80 for a groom every two months is great.

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  11. You did awesome! I think we messed up day 4 and it just never ended :( Hoping to turn this month around! Instead of no spend, I am going with spend less or just cash :) Have a great weekend Stephanie!

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  12. You did awesome. Winning the bracket put you ahead! ;) Passing that many chipotle's and not stopping I would call a total success!

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  13. I've been thinking I need to get it together and live a more frugal lifestyle myself. If I can find a way to cut the grocery bill it will make a huge difference.

    Great job on the spending freeze and $80 for two months of grooming isn't bad at all!

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  14. The ice cream thing is totally something I would do haha love this!

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  15. I pay 60 to get Wes Groomed. Its a necessity with fluffy dogs. I like to give him a break during the winter months so he doesn't freeze when he goes out to pee, but he definitely likes having shorter hair. I think he just likes that when its short I don't make him have pig tails.

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  16. Wow, you did fantastic! Good for you. I need to do this. I love the raspberry latte story, so funny.

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  17. Damn girl, you did really well! I'm jealous of your $200 win!!!!!

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  18. Oh my goodness congrats! I've been trying to cut back on spending too and have put myself on a sorta spending freeze- just no clothes since March 1. I've been doing pretty well minus a couple things here and there (a dress I needed for a work event and one other shirt that was 75% off, I couldn't help it) and I'm excited to keep it going! I think I may put a ban on restaurants this month.

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  19. So. You got me at the sneaking out for ice cream part because I would have done the same... But the best is getting paid by your dad if you best him. LOVE IT!

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  20. Great job! I like that plan a lot. But I've made myself proud yesterday where I went to the mall and resisted a bunch of Sephora purchases haha!

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  21. Congrats! I survived my no shopping for Lent, unless you ask my family. They think I cheated with online window shopping (but I didn't buy!). I also went shopping with my family on Good Friday, but I figured at that point, I was 2 days away. Plus, we were past the 40 day point of Lent so I figured we were good. ;-)

    -AJ
    OccasionallyAJ.com

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  22. You rocked I this month, love! You should be very proud of yourself <3

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  23. You did an amazing job! I totally bombed.

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  24. You have such a good mommy! I wish I lived closer to mine. When I do go home I steal all their toilet paper and paper towels....yeah I said it those things are so expensive!! :-)

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  25. Awesome job!! And like I said before, I LOVE the doggy birthday party in a hotel :)

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  26. Interesting!!!! I've been following Michelle for a little bit too, but not really applying anything.. Maybe I should - no I def should be getting on this bandwagon!

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