In the past month, I had surgery, so medical expenses were high again. On the upside, I hit the Medicare threshold so now I get 80% back on medical expense and this happened before the CT scan which was a big saving. All up, this month I had about $1,500 out of pocket medical expenses, then I had some minor side effects to the surgery resulting in a week of not feeling awesome. Temptation was high that week, extremely high.
Overall, I have done pretty well, aside from the medical expenses (some of which I knew), I didn’t spend much I didn’t need to.
Things that helped resist the urge to buy this month were:
1.) Selling off everything I can
I went through all my clothes and started listing them on eBay. I sold $170 worth and am adamant I will only buy pieces I really love/will wear for a long time/make up a wardrobe I want. I’m not buying anything until the end of this challenge, though.
2.) Being prepared
We had meals cooked and in the freezer before I went in for surgery. We started shopping at the markets last thing on a Sunday when all the meat was 50% off. This meant we stretched a few meals we weren’t expecting to so we could change our shopping habits, but it has saved us money.
3.) Repurposing or repairing
We had leggings rip, so I cut them off to make shorts. These are now my kids favourite shorts. We did this with some of their long sleeve tops they don’t want to wear as well and now they love them. My partner needed his pants fixed, so I did that. I also fixed a couple of skirts of mine which I will sell as I don’t wear them and they aren’t my style anymore.
Anything in our house that had been on the ‘to fix’ list finally got fixed or thrown out. This saved space, reduced clutter, saved money and gave us ‘new’ items since some of the things had not been used in months.
4.) Compare, compare, compare
I compared a bunch of things this month from spices we buy (I found somewhere online where they are 1/4 of the price of Woolworths), clothes the kids need, protein powder my partner buys and compared internet packages to see if we could get a better deal.
5.) Focused on the long term goal
One day my partner went to the gym and I stayed at home with the kids. I wanted to use this time to really work out what I wanted for the rest of this year, how I wanted to start 2017, what financial shape I wanted to be in, those sorts of things. I didn’t tell my partner I was doing this.
Funnily enough, he came home and announced he had a thought at the gym. His goal for the end of the year was to have a specific amount in savings, plus a couple of other things. I laughed and pulled out a piece of where I had written exactly the same goals for myself while he was away.
Being on the same page with where our lives are heading and being able to focus on a specific goal we are working towards has made it much easier to resist the urge to spend.
6.) Free entertainment
We have looked for as much free entertainment as possible. We went to the Zombie Walk and a public Halloween festival for our kids and Halloween. We explored more of Melbourne and spent time doing things our kids love like playing at the park and going to see the ducks.
I am looking forward to this challenge being over. It’s gotten a bit boring at times and because it’s not essential to my finances that I do it, I found it a little hard. I am more excited to achieve my financial goals though, so I know now we are on the home stretch I will definitely be able to achieve my goals this year and will be starting 2017 in the exact financial and physical shape I wanted.
What tips do you have to reduce spending?