No-Spend September; Out-of-Pocket October

Limping across the finish line into October after my no-spend September. We ended up with a small surplus, about $270, plus the enforced, automatic transfer to savings of $300.

So what kinds of things/services did I refrain from buying?
New makeup and skin care products.
A much-needed haircut.
Dentist appointments for the kids (we don’t have dental insurance currently).
The kids’ school pictures. I might go on the LifeTouch website and see if I can still buy them. At the very least, I like to have the class picture, for posterity.
I only had a babysitter one time, so I could go to a doctor’s appointment.
I said no to ice cream cones, soft pretzels, and other on-the-fly treats a lot.

I can’t remember anything else that it pained me not to buy, which goes to show you that I probably forget about most of the stuff I want to buy within a few minutes of wanting it.

Things I couldn’t help buying:
White pumpkins (I love them!) and regular pumpkins for decorating. At about $7 each, that stung. I’m still mad that I wasn’t able to grow pumpkins this year.


My Wawa iced lattes ($3 a pop).
Used winter coats for my oldest and youngest. I didn’t want to wait too long. Last year my oldest’s coat had not yet arrived from eBay when it got cold. I got a note from school telling me that wearing two hoodies was not a sufficient substitute for a winter coat. Oh the shame!
The chair and lamp from the Habitat ReStore for my Lady Lair ™.
Paint for the dresser I’m painting and a new garden hose. I have run over and smashed the ends of two garden hoses in two years.
Used soccer cleats and a few other items of used clothing.
Two day trips to Ocean City to squeeze the last bit of fun out of the summer — but one of these was husband-financed. Free beach, but had to pay for gas and food.


I had to pay $75 to a foot specialist to get a splinter extracted from under my daughter’ toenail. Our attempts to get it out ourselves failed. Our co-pays went up; we will be looking for new insurance come November. Also $20 to the allergist to fill out my son’s school allergy/asthma paperwork. And $42 for various prescriptions.

As far as groceries, I was able to keep it to $783, and that includes all the Wawa stops. I feel good about that. Spending on restaurants/take-out remained about the same, maybe slightly lower than usual. We definitely have been eating leftovers and reducing our food waste. (One nice thing about the guinea pigs is they can eat our leftover/wilted lettuce, carrots, etc. And of course there’s the composter.) I also have been trying to make treats instead of buy them — I made snickerdoodles one week, and when I needed to bring a treat to a party last weekend, I made cupcakes.


In general, the more I kept myself and the kids at home or within walking distance of home, the less we spent. The instant we get in the car, the chances of spending money rise exponentially.

So I’m going to try to keep these trends going for October. I really want to grow our savings account and/or pay off some debt. Of course, the first phone call I made this morning was to the oil company to order almost $600 worth of oil. Ugh. And those dentist appointments can’t be put off any longer.

As I noted in an earlier post, though, the discretionary purchases are nothing compared to some of our fixed expenses, and I have to start cracking them.



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