It is time for me to partake in a no-spend challenge around here. The past two weekends, I have gone to that magical red place (Target) and walked out with more than I have needed. I have also found myself spending more and buying more than I actually NEED at the grocery store. I have pinpointed my main problem:
These apps were designed to save you money, but one of the problems with them (as with some coupons) is that you end up spending money you didn’t intend, just to save the money they promised.
Target has a fabulous app, called Cartwheel. I love this app. It comes in handy when I have specific things I need and there are discounts available. All you have to do is choose which discounts you want, and then the cashier scans your smartphone when you check-out. Easy as that!
Last week they had 30% off all shoes for the family and 25% off all outerwear. Now, I did “need” gloves. I put need in quotations because yes, I have a pair of gloves at home. The gloves I have are very thin. They do not provide much warmth during cold recess duties or cold drives to work. I had a nice pink pair that I had gotten as a gift from a student, but they got lost on Halloween. Because of this, I did in fact need new gloves that would provide ample warmth when I am outside for recess duty during the winter. This is where the app came in handy. I was able to save 25% on some super cute mittens, which I needed.
On the other hand, I had been wanting some black boots. The only black boots I own are leather-like, heels with pointy toes. These are great when I want to dress up, but they are not meant to be worn with jeans or other casual clothes. I know I am receiving some money for Christmas, but I really want some new tennis shoes for running with that money. Since there was 30% shoes on the Cartwheel app, I bought some boots… or 2 pairs. (Oops!)
This week, same thing. I went to Target with the goal of buying my new niece a “Welcome to the World” gift. On the Cartwheel app were some discounts for workout wear. I did “need” a new pair of tights. Again, need is in quotes because I did need them, as they grew a large hole in the crotch region, but didn’t need them because I have 3 other pairs (not meant for workouts, necessarily). I got the tights I “needed” but also got a pullover. Both were 40% off, but I ended up spending money I really didn’t need to.
Another way I am spending too much money is the catalina coupons that are printed at check-out time at the grocery store. They give you a list of items you can buy the next week in order to receive a coupon off your next purchase. The items involves this week were ones that will be used (deodorant), but I didn’t really need it now. I did use a $2.00 coupon on the deodorant, and received a $3.00 off my next purchase order, but that doesn’t outweigh the money I spent.
This week at the grocery store was going to be expensive anyways, as we really did need laundry detergent, fabric softener, dog food, and I needed some make-up items. (Yes, a need, as I do work outside the home and need to look presentable.)
So… starting today, I am imposing a No-Spend challenge until Thanksgiving! I may only buy real NEEDS! These cannot be “needs” or wants. I have everything I “need” or want at this point. I should be able to get through 2 weeks without buying anything new or unnecessary! My goal is to reign in my spending and get out of the habit of relying on my money-saving apps to steer my spending decisions. I will keep you updated each day I blog (which may not be every day this week, as I have two days of meetings after school this week).
Here are some guidelines for myself:
Things that are ok to buy:
Necessary toiletry items (although I don’t think we will NEED any)
Gas for the cars
Anything with my MAD money
Necessary items for the dogs (They need shots and medication soon)
Things that are not ok to buy:
Groceries just because I have a coupon
Anything that I can live without for now
Christmas gifts (I don’t need them yet, and don’t plan to really start shopping for them until after Thanksgiving)
If you are interested in joining me for a 2 week no-spend to get yourself ready for the Holidays, feel free to join! You can make your own rules or follow mine! It is up to you!
How is your spending?
(Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)