5 Lessons I learned in April Budget Challenge

As promised, I wanted to update you on my monthly budget of $250 for clothes, and other things. It has been a challenging month, to say the least, and even though I wasn’t able to meet my budget, I spent half my usual monthly expense on clothes! I honestly still spent $520.78 on clothing and $218.23 in food excluding some cash that I use to purchase some miscellaneous items. My point is, it is still a lot of money that I spent within just 30 days! Although I am extremely disappointed in myself, I learned so much about myself through this experience. I also made $30.28 from selling my clothes so I did try to make extra cash.

I purchased so many “things” in hope that I will in the near future wear them (that cripple mentality of a shopaholic) is still pierced in my heart.  I was taken back when I was taking this photo and I realized that the investment per se I put on these things has drop value as soon as I purchase them. Some are non-refundable while some have just become apart of your “things” that you might not wear them at all.

There were 5 important lessons I learned from this budget challenge and I hope this will help me and hopefully you to see the bigger picture. I must warn you, these are the things I realized AFTER it was too late.

  1. Realistic Budgeting based on shopping habits.
  2. Plan day to day spending allowance.
  3. Avoid unnecessary window shopping or screen shopping.
  4. Learn to say “no” or “I can’t”.
  5. Finding alternatives.

 

Realistic Budget

My goal was to spend $250 on everything from going out to eat, shopping everywhere, and other entertainments. This was a huge mistake on my part considering last time I check, I spend over $800 alone on JUST SHOPPING so I didn’t make a realistic goal for myself. It was poor planning from the beginning for not realizing my own shopping habits that would accommodate for the ultimate success. It is easier to achieve your goal if you budget half of your normal spending on each category of expenses.

 

Each Day Allowance

Within the first 3 days of the month, I spend over 45% of my spending allowing for the whole month! (I know, I am insane!) Distributing allowance each day would help you to understand how you can achieve your goal for the month. My daily allowance would have been about $8.33 a day for the month of April. ($250 budget divided by 30 days in April = $8.33) When I mentally understand how much I can spend daily, it takes the pressure off the process.

 

Avoid  Shopping

Remember when your mom told you to stay away from the stove because it’s hot, but you do it anyway, so what happened? You got burned! The same method applies to anything we like doing and anything we shouldn’t do but we do it anyways even though we know the consequence it follows. I think I’ve done more widow shopping and screen shopping (I meant shopping online if you didn’t get that) to avoid actual shopping but that was the dumbest idea of all time. If you are constantly letting yourself in the red zone, it will eventually catch to you. It always starts innocent and then boom! You are stuck and constantly thinking about purchasing it and you lose all your hopes and dreams about saving money for your next big trip but now, you don’t have any more money. (sadly, that is the story of my life which I am obviously trying to change)

 

Learn to say “NO”

It is about resistant, self-discipline, and constructive feedback for all in the goodness of investment. I have such a hard time saying no to eating out or letting someone pay for my food. Not only because I LOVE food, but also maybe because I don’t welcome a handout for the sake of my pride. Don’t get me wrong, it is not being prideful, it’s about being an independent woman. I eat out quite often with other people, so it is pretty awkward to be left out and say no in the group but maybe that could potentially influence others to do the same and think more sustainable.

Saying “no” for the first time is the hardest part of the journey, but it does get easier. I’m proud to say I bring my own lunch and I only eat out once a week and I have now influenced a few people at work to bring their own lunch. (exciting stuff!) I learned that having self control will help you say no to things that aren’t going to benefit you in the long run.

 

Finding Alternatives

Hey listen, staying true to your budget is a hard task and I know from first-hand experience but no task is too hard when you have a set plan and a goal to achieve. Find other alternatives to save money by shopping second hand (if you must shop), cook more at home to bring lunch to work, ordering less food when going out to eat, visit free museums or free parks for dates. Think of ways to improve other than what you already know. Be creative in your search to find the right ways for you to save money.

I hope these 5 lessons to help you become more aware of your spending as I certainly have learned this past month that I should be concern about my addiction. I thought it was a normal thing people do but I soon realize that having no control over your spending means you don’t have enough self-control to help you prepare for everything else in your life.

I’ve been using shopping as a coping mechanism to fill some rejections that I never thought existed or mattered. I did some soul searching the past month and I am so glad that I want to change my ways of living this year. Thank you, everyone, for walking with me through this sustainable journey.

 

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