Thursday, September 1, 2011

The End of The August of Austerity (or is it??)

NSA, Week Four

Well, here’s the tab for the remaining days in August:
Goat Food: $18.30*
Gas: $30*
Diesel: $127.00*
Hay Fork: $30.23
Bean Seeds $5.49
Soda: $0.75 (For Paul, not me!)
Week Four Total: $36.47
Or $211.77 if you include exempted items.
*Not included in NSA
Ok, so I could have waited until September to buy the hay fork, but we needed another one and I’d just go out and buy it anyhow. I thought I had more bean seeds, but I didn’t, and I wasn’t going to let almost two weeks of growing time go by just because of NSA.  The truck hadn’t been filled up in a while so it was pretty empty.  Boy did that one hurt.

So here’s the breakdown on our August expenditures:
Non-vital items or items not previously exempt (goat food/hay, vehicle fuel, monthly meds & household utilities) came to a total of $334.49.  Although in my defense, I did include the vehicle maintenance costs that I didn’t count on happening this month.  But Paul’s gott’a have a good tire on the motorcycle and the car and tractor do need oil changes. 
And if you include the other non-exempt cash outlays (meds, goat food/hay, fuel) it comes out to a whopping $724.31.

But wait, it gets even better.  What about those recurring household utility bills that I have on automatic payment plans?  Yeah, I know I said those were “exempt” from NSA, but come on!  It’s not like those bills stopped coming because of my self-imposed blog challenge.
Think I’m finished?  Ha!

Start including health insurance for Rhiannon & I (Paul’s employer pays for his), monthly portion of property taxes (government sponsored extortion), homeowners insurance and vehicle insurance and it skyrockets.
What kind of “No Spend” month is that???

Oh no!  Guess what I forgot to add?  Hungry anyone?  Because although I did not buy any grocery items this month, we did use up food from our pantry, which – duh – does cost us.
Although I won’t bore you with our actual monthly monetary outlays, let’s just say that it’s pretty eye-opening once you put it on paper.

Have you done a recent household expense analysis lately?  If you haven’t, maybe you should.  It can really help you to understand  where “all the money’s going” and help you correct any obvious imbalances that you may find.  You may not want to admit to it, but maybe your latte habit is really much more expensive that you thought.  Or you realize that you eat out waaayyyyyy too much.  Or that you are spending too much on animal care (yes, that would be me).
The economy isn’t getting any better people.  You may not be struggling now, but don’t you think you owe it to you and your family to start some thrifty programs of your own, even if it’s just eliminating one take-out dinner a week?  Take that money you would have spent on dinner out and put it in a jar.  It adds up.  And you may find that you enjoy watching that jar-o-money grow more than you would have enjoyed that fast-food chicken sandwich.

Besides, you’d just poop out that sandwich anyhow!  I know, that’s gross, but it’s something that my Mom said to me once & I always think about that when I’m tempted to spend money on overpriced (and usually non-yummy) restaurant food. 
Yes Mom, you did say that.


  1. Moms say the darnedest things. Mine used to say, "eat those bread crusts - they'll put hair on your chest!" But, Mooooommmmm! I lived in fear that I would develop a hairy chest. I did not, thank gawd. It do think it is almost impossible to have a no-spend month. There is always something that needs to be replaced, that you can't make, tape together or find used. Never mind the gougers in government. I am too steamed for words over that. You did a good job and it made you more aware. That is worth something in and of itself.

  2. I think we all need to be more aware of what we are spending, and your experiment was very worthwhile. Great job!

  3. You are better gal than I to take on that challenge. Although, being the keeper of the finances, I have a pretty good idea of what goes where...and when we moved out to the country, we stopped eating out, and traveling - cuz we needed the money for gravel to keep putting down on the disappearing driveway :-( Anyway, we just recently started giving ourselves a night out once in a while, now that our daughter has moved out on her own and after being here for 3 years. Figures, once we can afford to go out, the economy goes down the drain ARGH!

  4. I think you deserve a huge pat on the back for this endeavor. You're more woman than me!

  5. I can't think about it too much. Seriously...It's scary. Within 20 years we'll be 70 and at the mercy of what ever SS will give us. Savings? Ha! Healthcare. Ha! I live for today because tomorrow is just too scary.

  6. The tracking solution is to use Quicken. I charge everything, pay it off monthly, but I also keep a separate charge account in Quicken and I post every ticket in that account. I reconcile this account just like I do the bank account.

    I takes a little while to set it up but then it is a snap!

    It is really helpful come tax time or to see how much something is costing you.

    Ok,Ok I am a fanatic about knowing about these things but when we had the dairy it was critical both for daily operation and tax accounting.

    I still operate the farm that way. If something isn't paying for itself, I want to know.

    That doesn't count the dog or the hoard of cats!

  7. Susan, exactly where do you think the relations between bread crusts & chest hair came from? Weird.

    Mooberry, I'm glad I did it, but now wondering where ELSE I can cut corners.

    BRF, I think a date night out should be a requirement for married couples! Now if I can just get ours scheduled...

    Hoosier Girl, I am most definately MORE woman than most should see the readout on my bathroom scale lately!

    Tami, I know what you mean. The future is pretty scarry, but this gives me a "here and now" thing to do.

    gld, and to think I went to college to be a CPA (obviously didnt work out)! I used to be a spreadsheet kind'a gal, but slowly lost interest (time??), but may start doing them again. Cats & dogs & other pets should go under "healthcare" expenses you know!

  8. That's what I do: a spreadsheet. But sometimes I just don't want to see where the money goes. :( I've started making fewer trips to Wal-Mart, which has saved a great deal. It's a bigger outlay in the beginning, stocking up on tp, dish detergent, and the like, but it pays off when I'm not in there every week piling stuff in the cart.

    I was just talking to a friend at the farmer's market, and she said the same thing I've been wondering all along: "We grow so much of our own food; how do we manage to spend so much at Wal-Mart?"