It’s hard. Really hard. I didn’t actually achieve my goal of only spending money on key essentials such as gas, food, and medical.
What I learned:
I learned it’s hard to be frugal when I am already frugal.
Hear me out before passing judgement. I currently max out tax deferred accounts (401k, Roth IRA). I have an emergency fund. I pay all my bills on time. I make double car payments. I also have brokerage accounts I invest in. Personally, our savings rate is phenomenal. Well above the national average and probably above majority of our peers.
But when is too much saving…too much? I felt it becoming almost an obsession. An obsession that took on the form of a monster when it came to not spending.
We both work hard and work long hours. We are looking at side hustles and niche ways to make additional income. But we also need to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Enough Sad Story
I decided to add $100 each for myself and my wife to spend on clothing per month.
How did spending money on clothing originate from a month of no spend?
I was able to look closely at our budget and spending and decided this is a need. There were times in the past we decided we needed clothing. We would then spend large sums at that time. We both felt this would make more sense. Keep the spending under control and maintain our wardrobe.
I might do this with restaurants. That was previously another high monthly expense. I think we will put a cap on monthly restaurant spending.
This allows us to increase our savings rate without decreasing our lifestyle. It will provide more satisfaction and careful selection of restaurants. And it’s date night! A later blog post will detail how we plan to be frugal at restaurants.
Not spending any of our disposable income is not a sustainable path for us. I am glad I chose to not spend for a month, but anything beyond that is next to impossible. We gained some great ideas from it and I do encourage you to try it. The caveat, make sure you have your spending and debt under control.