No-Spend February: Update Two

As I am more than halfway through this no-spend month, I figured it was time for another update! How is no-spend February going deep in the heart of Texas?

Austin Winter SunriseSunset over my city!

Pretty well, thanks for asking! Well, I did have to spend money. I had to attend a business meeting downtown and I paid for parking. $3.00! There was no other option, I had to do it! I am happy to report though, that other than my parking slip-up, I haven’t paid for anything other than my essentials.

I have had to catch myself a few times, more so than in the beginning of this experiment. I’m getting to the bottom of the barrel. I am in the final throes of certain necessities like coffee and toothpaste, but I’m trying to stretch them out for the next two weeks. I have a good stockpile of teas that I’ve been switching with coffee and I’m using slightly less toothpaste on my brush. Don’t worry, my breath doesn’t stink! I floss people, and I wear my retainer. Dental hygiene for the win!

Valentine’s Day got a little out of hand. My boyfriend and I ended up spending more than expected. All in all we spend $23 on Valentine’s Day grocery store purchases. Certainly not that big a deal and he treated, so I didn’t actually spend any money, but it was more than I wanted to spend. He got a salad for dinner and chocolate covered almonds for the weeks snack as well. We ate at home and spent the night hanging around. Look at the giant cookie cake we made!

IMG_3772 Putting VD on it was his idea.

I’ll tell you what; this has already been an eye opening month. I’ve realized that I can permanently or semi-permanently cut spending in several areas of my life. I can cut my grocery bill from $60-$80 a month down to $20-$40 a month. Surviving solely on catering leftovers has been remarkably easy! I am eating more carbs than normal, but other than buying more veggies next month, there is really no reason for me to be spending money on groceries while I have this job. I feel so lucky to be able to say (type) that!

I’ve also realized what a gold mine I’ve been sitting on since I moved to Austin. This is a college town and you know what that means? Free stuff! I’ve been avoiding campus because it makes me feel old and I’m always afraid I’m going to mow down a student, but no more! Last week I attended a free lecture by Harry Allen, currently a blogger about race and politics (two of my favorite things) and the former friend and semi-official PR person for Public Enemy. He was a good speaker with interesting things to say and awesome photos of Public Enemy from the 1980’s.

It totally opened my eyes to the many and varied free things that happen on UT Austin’s campus each week. I can attend lectures, screenings, shows and hopefully other things, totally for free! I can still blend in as a college kid too, even if I am closer to 30 than 20 now. I can still hang bro! I’m still totally hip!

1408154388_b34a66bdcfTotes chill brah

There are also a multitude of free shows here in the Live Music Capitol of the World, and libraries the world over are doing a public service with free talks and screenings. My social life has been revolving around my couch and that is completely my fault. The world is full of awesome and free things to do!

So I’ve avoided spending money on my non-essentials pretty well. What are my essentials though? Where have I spent money this month?

-Rent

-Health Insurance

-Gas

-Student loans

-Internet

I haven’t made any extra loan payments yet this month but rest assured, they are coming this week. I also have to set aside some money for my San Diego trip. All in all, I’m pleased with how this month is going!

I’m already planning on doing another no-spend month sometime this year. I also want to implement the changes I spoke of above. Next month I’ll be setting my grocery budget at $40 and trying to set my entertainment budget at $0. I don’t think either will be much of a struggle!

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9 Replies to “No-Spend February: Update Two”

  1. I need to do a better job of finding free lectures – I was a big fan in college and haven’t gone to them since graduation. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. They’re the best! Sometimes hard to get to because they run on college kid time but definitely do some digging!

  3. […] lots of money and lead to big debt pay-offs for me.  It can mean huge savings, especially in a no-spend month like February has been. Working and earning money is an essential part of the debt-payoff equation. […]

  4. […] Ok, fine, I paid $3 for parking, but that was it! It was surprisingly easy and something I plan to do again this year! I still went out, saw friends and attended events in town- I just didn’t pay for […]

  5. […] a madwomen and haven’t let up yet. I have been taking every chance to make extra money and to spend as little as possible, all to get myself out of this student loan debt […]

  6. […] leftovers have saved me literally thousands of dollars on food. In February I was able to live solely off of catering leftovers and what was in my pantry. I’m also […]

  7. […] finance community. I was hooked! I was also pretty intense about my debt payoff. I did a month long spending fast in February, I lived off catering leftovers, I walked instead of driving, I sold things for fun money….I […]

  8. […] to spend money on the absolute essentials: rent, internet, utilities, gas and health insurance. I didn’t even spend money on food, so you know I didn’t spend anything on things like entertainment, clothes or date nights. […]

  9. […] kind of freeing in a way. Having spent the last year and a half in extreme frugal mode, where even spending on food was out of the question, blowing through that much cash was a shock to my […]

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