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September Sans Spending

The month of August has been a financially painful time for me. I blame this on the fact that my only child has just begun her first year at college. Lots (and I mean a whole lot) of spending happened in preparation for this auspicious

  • ouch – I began to question if I was spending more than I was making. (This was brought on by reading Building a Spending Plan: All Six Steps, a UF/IFAS EDIS publication.) Actually a very helpful financial read. Check it out:
  • Ouch – my credit card bills in the last few months have been quite hefty.
  • OUCH – The college bills for housing and tuition came due.

What to do to help alleviate some of the pain caused by this financial stress? I remember reading about “no-spend” months. People often pick February because it has the fewest number of days. But I feel the need for immediate action – and so September it is.

A no spend month means you don’t spend money on anything except the absolute necessities. I have to pay the mortgage, the car payment, utilities, and I have to get may nails done (yes, that is, in fact, a necessity for me). But no buying clothes or shoes, going out to eat, going to the movies, buying gum or an emergency caffeinated drink. Since there is no child in my house now, I think I may actually be able to do this.

Researchers say if we tell others about our goal, we are more likely to work hard to achieve it. So I told the participants in a health class I was teaching about this goal of mine. One very sweet, gentle, older woman said, “Honey, you know you can’t do that.” My somewhat deflated response was, “why?” Her kind answer – “You know you’re going to send that child care packages.” Right she was.

However, undeterred, quite determined actually, I have found ways to plan around such obstacles. I sent a care package to the child at the end of August and will send the next one at the beginning of October. I will eat out of the fully stocked freezer and pantry to avoid trips to the store. I will start September with an already full tank of gas. I will watch TV at home. I will do this!

Once October rolls around, check back in and I’ll let you know how I did. Wish me luck.

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