This July I've actually surprised myself in a few ways. Number one has been curbing the urge to spend money, particularly through online shopping. I'm a sucker for those emails you get sent, whereby they tell you they've got a sale on and keep offering you extra discounts to shop. I often fall for these, thinking it is too good an offer to miss, but this month I've been better. I won't say I've ignored them completely, as that would be lying, but I've definitely reduced my tendencies to fall victim.
Anyway, as a consequence, this month hasn't been quite as painful as the couple of months preceding it, as I haven't run out of money in week two and then had two miserable weeks, trying to get by. Instead, having not succumbed to temptations, I've pretty much had some money available up until the very last week of the month, which is very refreshing. I think it has made me realise that with a bit of effort and restraint, I can make life much more enjoyable for myself.
Another surprise this month, has been the result of my keeping a track of how much we spend on food. In all honesty, I can't exactly remember how much we spent on food before I started us on this organic/whole food based eating, but I'm pretty sure it was less, by at least a third. This month we spent over £450 on food groceries alone, which is a lot for us. It's the first month I've actually tracked it since we started and if we hadn't gone away for the last couple of days of the month and I hadn't used some generous vouchers from the supermarkets, I'm sure it would have come to quite a bit more.
Having established a base line spend, I can now try to get that amount down to a more manageable level. It may mean a few more sacrifices, such as not eating meat quite as often or not eating organic in relation to some items. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I found a very useful list of fruit and vegetables that you don't actually need to buy organic, as they contain none or negligible levels of chemical residues, due to their skins being thick or the way they are grown.
In a similar vein, household and toiletry expenditure came in at over £85 this month, but this did include a £30 order of ingredients to make my own toiletries, so I can't really use this as a baseline. In addition, this amount did also include some items I don't buy all that regularly, such as sun screen, bulk bought 5 litres of eco washing liquid and bulk bought eco dishwasher tabs. I'll probably track it again next month to get a more accurate baseline spend.
In terms of my Get Tough on Stuff in 2015 project, to declutter 1000 items this year, it has been quite a surprising month too. Last month the total number of items for donation reached 859 items and with LB's bedroom makeover and more effort on my part in parting with some craft items from the sewing room, I managed to set aside another 151 items this month, taking the overall total to 1010. Mission accomplished in 7 months.
I now just can't wait to get rid of the pile of items for donation, which is taking up a rather large part of the sewing room floor. I was waiting for the next Give and Take day, which may not be until the autumn now, so I may soon have to start taking some of it to the various charity shops in the vicinity, as I just want it gone now, so that I can use the room properly again. I will, however, continue with this project even though the original target has been met and see how much more I can donate by the end of the year.
Next month is going to be a pretty expensive one in some ways, as we have finally got around to booking our holiday this week, albeit very last minute, which is always the way with us. As a consequence our going away for a couple of weeks, our expenditure at home will be considerably reduced, but I will need to continue to rein myself in in terms of spending and have now decided not to buy a new suitcase, as an even older one that I still have, will be perfectly serviceable for this and possibly other trips.
I don't really need to purchase much for our holiday, as I have just about everything that I need already, so it is just a case of setting some money aside for spending money, buying a few small things for LB for school, holiday and home and possibly getting a haircut. At least with the holiday to look forward to, I have some incentive not to spend money and try to keep things under control.
How have you fared this month and do you have any financial aims for August?