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11/24/2014

Necessities Only November Update

Throughout Project Money, I calculate our expenses twice a month (1-15 and 16-30/31) and compare the costs to the previous month. Now that we have passed the midway point of Necessities Only November, I’m curious about how our numbers compare to when we first started Project Money in June.

Groceries: 24% decrease 
Unfortunately most of this decrease is due to shopping for non-organic products at places like Trader Joe’s and Woodman’s. I’m still conflicted about whether these savings are worth the potential health and environmental costs.

Restaurants: 50% decrease
The perfectionist in me is not so happy about this result, especially since eating at a restaurant is far from a necessity. But I need to recognize that a 50% decrease is a decent result for a couple that used to eat out multiple times every week.

Coffee Shop and Snacks: 77% decrease
This is a significant decrease for our household. I rarely buy that tempting Mello Yellow at work and Jason only occasionally goes to a coffee shop to get a break from being stuck in the house all the time.

Credit Card Payments: 93% decrease
Jason and I no longer have monthly credit card debt. In the past, when we ran out of cash, we would turn to the credit card. Now we rarely use credit cards, but when we do, we pay it off immediately to avoid paying interest. We also emphasize using a credit card (Discover) that gives us cash back for using the card.

Clothing & Shoes: 100% decrease
Since starting Project Money, the only money we have spent in this area is $5 for a garage sale jacket for Jason and $3 on a use pair of St. Vinnie’s pajama bottoms that Jason got for my birthday in October (my previous pair were ragged and holey!). This decrease in spending has been effortless for us once we recognized that we already have plenty of functional clothing and shoes.

June 15th total expenses: $2648.40
November 15th total expenses: $1862.68
Total decrease in expenses: $785.72 or 30%. Not bad when you consider that this includes our monthly mortgage payment!

Comments

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This is awesome -- a 30% decrease in spending! Would you have guessed before Project Money that you could find that kind of money to save? Strong work. It is hard to balance the cost of organic food with a tight food budget. Because of Dave's cancer, we avoid buying thin skinned or bumpy fruits that hold a lot of pesticides (ie: peaches, nectarines, grapes, cherries, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, apples) unless we can find them organic. For us it has meant waiting for apples to come back in season.

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