March was the first month where something was purchased. Yes, it was a need, not a want. Even so.. in keeping with the spirit of the challenge, this is our first nay month.
No Spend Days
While I do want less spend days, I do not want to let them stop us from having experiences. As The Other Half was on holidays for the first two weeks of March, the spend days were more often than usual this month. My goal for a 13 day stretch of no spending was a bit unrealistic given the situation.
A Note About Fuel
That is the first time you will have seen fuel on our spend lists this year, and I want to point out that was not fuel for my car. The Other Half buys his own fuel and it does not appear on our spend lists because I have zero control over when he chooses or needs to do that. On this occasion I bought his fuel. The no-spend challenge is 100% mine and I am only counting buying decisions I make, or money that comes out of *my* accounts.
I have not put fuel into my Polo yet this year. You might think I am not using it, but you’d be wrong. It is not driving very far when it does go driving, but it does get out and about and racks up 30kms or so each week. My car is incredibly fuel efficient. I will get at least 600kms out of each tank of fuel and if you do the maths, 30×13 = 390. I estimate I will need to fill it up around week 20 (15th of May) of this year unless I suddenly up my mileage.
The other Polo does a lot more driving but even so, putting fuel into that car is quite rare. If you are interested I will go through The Other Half’s account and give you a chart of his fuel fillups. I am going to ask him to track his fuel from now on but it will not be seen in the no-spend spreadsheet.
A Note About Large Numbers Seen Above
We did our regular eye tests at Specsavers this month, and both of us needed new prescriptions, thus new glasses. I got one pair as my change was not hugely significant and all my old glasses and sunglasses will still work, The Other Half got two new pairs of reading glasses.
There is a large number for Bulk Nutrients in the final week of March – I bought 15kg of protein. I’m going to talk more about that in a separate post next Wednesday.
No Spend Goals For April
This month I should have no trouble at all meeting my March 13 day no spend goal.
We absolutely smashed our grocery goal this month. We were nearly $60 under budget. $20 of that is me taking $10 off our Coles shop twice, but I think a fairly good portion of our saving is because we’ve stocked up big when things we regularly use are on special and we’re not having to buy as much stuff when we shop.
We also bought fruit and veg in bulk including 15kg of potatoes while on our way back from the food festival. I made a huge pot of soup the following weekend and we have plenty of leftovers from that. On colder days I have the soup with protein added.
We bought a big 5kg bag of Laucke wholemeal bread machine mix this month – it was on special for $13.10 and we will not need to buy bread mix again for quite a while. The Other Half is the one who eats bread for the most part but I will usually have one slice when we make an occasional loaf.
Coles March – $105.75
Aldi March – $434.28
Bulk Fruit & Veg $19.47
Total grocery spend – $559.50
Grocery cost of $18.04/day.
Grocery Spending Goals For April
For the rest of this challenge I will be trying to get that daily number down, but it might creep back up a little bit when I do some new maths.
I’ve noticed we are getting low on dishwasher tablets, so that is on my keep an eye out for a good special list. April has 30 days, so I am setting the budget at $600 this month. If the special on dishwasher tablets is good enough, I may blow the budget, just so we don’t have to buy them again for a while. This will be the first time we have had to buy them in 2018, and I had not bought them for a long time in 2017 because the special was so great we stocked up HUGE.
There were a couple of “incidents” this month with grocery shopping.
We’d very carefully planned out our Coles shop and everything went perfectly. We spent $84 at the checkout and if I spent $80, I earned another $10 off my shop. Right before I went to pay, the checkout asked me if I want to take $10 off my shop – and not realising this would mean my total became $74 instead of $84, I stupidly chose yes.
I was so mad at myself, then I became mad at Coles and felt a bit like I’d been scammed. I think $10 off should be a form of payment almost like a gift card, not a reduction in your overall spend.
In the meantime, unknown to myself, Aldi had weighed our one lot of sweet potatoes twice, and charged us twice for them. We only bought one lot of sweet potatoes. I am not normally someone who asks for a refund but it was nearly $10, so I took the receipt in and explained what happened. They gave me a refund.
This has happened occasionally since we began our receipt spreadsheets but usually they have selected the wrong item eg once they chose red onions instead of green capsicum, and I nearly went mad trying to work out where these onions we supposedly bought had gone, then asked the other half if he remembered putting them away. He did not, and checked the receipt again, we eventually worked out what happened.
So before we leave the store in future I will be checking the receipt. Plus I will keep a closer eye on the screen as the checking out happens. Usually I am so busy watching The Other Half fill the trolley with scanned items that I forget to look at the screen.
I have to tell you, The Other Half at the checkout is quite a sight to see and I was not sure how I would be able to look away from it. :) But on our second shop this month, I stood behind the trolley and set my eyes firmly on the checkout LCD readout, and before we left the store I double checked the receipt to make sure the items were correctly scanned.
Overall March felt a bit like a fail. But it really was not. The grocery spend was the lowest it has ever been. I did some big batch cooking to bring it down even more.