January: The Month of Buying Only What Was Considered a Need

Going into the new year, Matt and I decided that we would try and spend money only on things we deemed to be a need which seemed pretty cut and dry at the time.  I assumed a need to be rent, food, health related expenses and transportation.  I can’t speak for Matt, but I did a really good job, or so I thought until I looked at my spending on Mint.com, which is a free budgeting software program.  It turns out that I can justify most everything to be a need.  Food is a need, of course, but I spent a total of $507 on groceries, restaurants, and coffee shops.  Every time I went out for lunch I told myself that my soul needed it.  When I spent money on gas to go to Ashland, I told myself that my soul needed it.  When I buy coffee on my breaks I tell myself that my soul needs it.  It’s true, my soul needs it, but as I look back over my spending, I wonder what it is my soul is actually needing.  Matt pointed out that maybe I get coffee on my breaks because I need the social interaction.  I love talking to the lovely people that give me coffee and I love walking over to get it.  When I go out to eat, it’s actually a form of entertainment and a change of scenery.  So this month as I reset my budget, I need to redefine what a need is, and what my soul is actually needing.  I have clearly done a great job at not buying stuff, but when when it comes to food, defining what food is a need and what food is a want is a little tricky!  If I can be more mindful of what the definition is I can potentially save a lot of money since I spend more on food than anything else.

Going forward, here are some things I am going to try in order to cut back on money I spend on food for February:

  1. Buy ground coffee, or tea and make it myself at work and then go for a walk.  The coffee shop I go to is closing, so this is a good time to change my routine.  Being out in nature nourishes me and maybe on my walk I can find other lovely people to interact with:)  Can my social needs be met this way?  We’ll see…
  2. Matt and I talked about only eating out once per week and making a routine of it.  It’s easy to forget how much I eat out!
  3.  Since we will be eating out less, that means that I need to be better at preparing my meals at home.  This is time consuming, but the money we save will help us get closer to our goals.
  4. Budget for PMS.  Seriously.  I spend more money on food the week before my period when I am depressed and ravenously hungry than any other time of the month.  If I can anticipate that I will be spending more money on food during PMS, I can use the rest of the month when I am more rational to make better choices and save money on food.
  5. Budget for fun especially towards the end of the month.  It’s easy to be good with money for a few weeks, but then I start feeling deprived so I spend more.  Every week I want to have some mad money that I can spend however I want and not feel guilty about.  Maybe I take cash out every week and when the money is gone it is gone until the next week.

Well, this seems like enough for me to try this month!  I am excited to see how it goes!



Author: Action is Eloquence

I live in Grants Pass, Oregon with my wonderful husband and am in the process of re-imagining a new life for myself! I just moved from Portland where I spent the last 11 years on a metaphorical runway and now am ready to take off. College, a marriage, several customer service jobs, death, fear and shyness were all teachers, but it's time for me to take what I learned and use my talents to make a better life for myself and give back to the community. I have a passion for helping people remember their relationship with nature. I went to Portland State University where I earned my Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy with a specialization in Sustainability Education. I enjoy blogging because it is a way for me to help others regain this relationship and learn how to care for the Earth by living more simply and mindfully. Traditional cooking, natural building, living simply, permaculture and ecopsychology are my favorite subjects and I have a new obsession with eating bugs as a way to help live a more sustainable life. I only appear quiet and reserved until someone gets me going any of these topics!

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