What A Spending Ban Taught Me Now That It’s Over

100 Days And a Graduation! (Weeks 13, 14, 15)

Christine C. Renee

Graduation day!–April 2016

Here it is, 100 days!

Well, not exactly.  According to days.to it’s only been 99 days, 1 hours, and 30 minutes (as of this writing) since January 1st.  But it’s okay, cause I’m technically still good for week 15.

The last day of my 100-Day No Spend project ended on the day I graduated from college (an 8-year goal; nope, didn’t study to be a doctor, I was just broke…and took a year off to join the military).

And the fact that my spending ban ended on my graduation day was a very happy accident!

I had read an article from Quartz about a woman who did a personal spending ban and it got me thinking that the biggest reason I can’t get control of my money is because my spending was out of control.

This was in January of this year (2016).  And the rest is history.

So read on, to see what I’ve learned in the last 15 weeks while on my first spending ban.

Quick note: this post has been sitting in draft for almost 4 weeks while I made the transition from one WordPress theme to another (I switched to Thrive Themes–so much better!) and picked up a couple clients so I’ve been juggling client work and blog work and I’ve been dropping balls everywhere! 

I’m getting it under control, however, and will be putting my big-girl-business pants on and start an editorial and business calendar.  So thanks for sticking with me on this one as The Frugal Single goes through some growing pains 🙂 

Overview

I promised myself not to do any discretionary or arbitrary spending for 100 days starting January 1, 2016.  The countdown lead up to my baccalaureate degree graduation ceremony, which was April 9th.

To prove I was serious about this commitment, I put down a total of $75 dollars ($5 each week) for every week that I did not keep my promise.  I did this monetary commitment through stickk.com.

I lost a total of $10 where I spent money on pens and some business items.

What This Spending Ban Taught Me

Created New Habits

ONE:  I finally learned how to create a budget!  And one that I could follow!  I use

I’ve started a zero-dollar budget with Everydollar.com.  It’s much better than Mint.com and much easier to understand and follow.

TWO:  I’ve also learned how o create a meal plan and stick to a shopping budget with Paprika Recipe Manager and Out of Milk android app.

THREE:  I’ve started using the envelope cash method.  I spend less money if I use cash to pay for everything using the envelope method.  It’s also easier for me to decide not to buy something because I can SEE and touch the absence of money in the envelope.  With a debit card, I can easily transfer money from one account to another, and that’s how my budget springs a leak.  Nope, not with the envelopes.  I have 4, Food, Gas, Shopping, Personal Care, and Tips.

FOUR:  The spending ban has helped me to stop and think about my “wants” before I buy.  I give myself a few days before purchasing, just to make sure I’m not buying under the influence of “buyer’s euphoria”.

Found A Solid Financial Game Plan

I’ve been reading and using Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and since early March, I’ve paid off all my credit cards and my student loans, about $9000 in all.

I got “gazelle intense” about paying off debt.

I think I’ve inherited a hoarding gene because I had money all over the place.  I had 8 different savings accounts for various things and a couple non-retirement investment accounts.

It took me about 4 months to finally bring myself to close/cash out all those accounts, except for 3 (Emergency, Car, and Dog).

With the extra cash (nearly $3000), and my big tax return (thank you schooling bills) I was able to get rid of nearly all of my debt, not including the mortgage.

Here’s what I paid off:  3 credit cards, 2 small student loans over 8 years old, and a 401K loan

All I have left now is a car lease I have to decide on.  Will I buy it out or wait out the lease and buy a cheaper car.

I know what the answer is.  Buy a cheaper car and put the extra money away for a 3-6 month emergency fund.  And NOT pay a car payment for the next two years.

But I’m probably going to keep the car and use the same “gazelle intensity” to pay this car down.

We shall see.

Final Thoughts

I saved a lot of money by not spending on things I really didn’t need.

I want to do another spending ban soon, perhaps in June.  I’ll call it the Monsoon Spending Ban!  Or something silly like that.

Have you thought about starting a spending ban of your own?

Are you afraid to start one?  Don’t think you’ll be able to handle it?

Reach out to me!  I can help you get started!  Or answer any questions you may have about starting one!

Christine C. Renee

Hey there! I'm Christine, a freelance money and business blogger helping solo biz owners and side hustler superheroes manage their money and productivity. By day, I work as an Army Aviation flight instructor and at night I create engaging content for clients in the areas of money and small business. I'm also on my way to paying off all my debt by November 2017 read more about that here.

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