We are doing a buy nothing challenge for a whole year. Mainly to think about what we’re all spending in this consuming world, while we really don’t need all this stuff. And also to spend less and minimize. In this blog post I will let you know how we did in February.
Well, this month I did buy some things, but only things I really wanted, because I was going crazy. This involved a few items for our bathroom. It’s pretty small and doesn’t have much room to put things. And I was going crazy with all the clutter. We we’re constantly searching for things, because nothing had a good spot. So I looked at the IKEA website (I love IKEA) and found some great things. The light for the dining table which I excluded from this challenge, was also at IKEA. So I stepped in the car and drove to IKEA. A big challenge for me, as I always want everything when I’m there!
I had my shopping list with me and I really told myself to not buy anything that was not on the list. I got tempted a few times, but I asked myself: “Do I really need this?”. And the answer was no, so I could contain myself, which I’m pretty proud of :-)
Bathroom & boys’ dresser
At the left image you see what the bathroom looked like before (don’t mind the ugly tiles, some day we will change that) and the right image shows what the bathroom looks like after I bought some small boxes to save everything. I also gave some things a new spot. The small things are in the box now and the bigger things are in the cabinet above the sink. This way it looks so much better, we won’t lose items again and I don’t get irritated by the mess.
In total I spend € 10.79 for organizing the bathroom. I also spend € 5.99 on one set of Skubb boxes to organize the dresser of the boys, because that was a mess too. It looks so good since I use the boxes and learned a new folding method from Abby’s blog. I can fit so much more in their drawers, I even have an empty one now where first everything was full and messy.
So, now on to the numbers for food, gifts, children and extra’s.
Food € – 437.01
While food doesn’t count towards the buy nothing challenge, we do want to spend less on groceries (which also include hygiene and household products) and takeaway food. Cooking at home is usually a lot healthier and much cheaper. We do like to go out to a restaurant once in a while without our children, to make time for each other. We don’t aim to spend less on that, since we already don’t go out to eat that often.
Takeaway food: € – 15.60
We only got takeaway food once this month, which is really few for us. We do love it once in a wile, but since it’s really no healthy food, we don’t want to do it too much anymore. Three times per month is acceptable to us. So this was a great month in this category.
Restaurants: € – 22.15
My husband took the kids out on a Sunday when I was feeling sick. They went to the forest and played and then paused to eat pancakes and have a drink. That’s all the eating out there was this month. My husband and I did want to go out for dinner, but first he and the boys were feeling sick and then I was, so we didn’t really had a chance to go. Hopefully we can go next month.
Groceries: € – 399.26
Wow, we actually did it! We stayed under our new goal of € 400 a month. And because of all the sickness this month, we actually bought more at the small local supermarket, which is more expensive. So this is actually an awesome month. By planning more, we made it. But, of course, we also ate less because of everyone feeling sick. Oh well, hopefully we can keep this up, without the sickness.
Gifts: € – 10.45
We bought 2 gift cards this month. A friend had a housewarming party and I had my last day at work on the last day of the month. We could also start to make our own cards, but I’m not really a crafter and with the low costs of a card, I prefer a bought one. I also bought a big box of chocolate for my colleagues. Since this is food, the € 5,91 I spent on that doesn’t even count towards gifts, but I added it anyway to the total amount. Plus, if I add it to our groceries list, we would cross the € 400 goal, so it’s better at gifts anyway ;-)
Children € 10.05
For the children, we have some monthly expenses like diapers. We also have to buy clothes once in a while for the boys, because well, kids grow pretty fast. Since we also sold something this month, we actually made money in this category.
Clothes: € 0.00
We didn’t need any clothes for the boys this month. They’ve got plenty still. I don’t think we have to buy new clothes until it’s time for shorts again.
Diapers / wipes: € – 15.30
I bought some extra nappy pants that our oldest wears at night, but since about 2 weeks, he doesn’t wear them anymore! We can use them for the youngest when he’s a bit further into his potty training. For the youngest, I had to buy a pack of diapers.
Babysitter: € – 0
Since we were all feeling sick this month, we didn’t need a babysitter to go out, so being ill makes life cheaper :-) But I rather have some expenses on a babysitter as that means we are doing fun things and are not feeling sick.
Lunch break at school: € – 24.20
Our oldest son goes to primary school and two days a week he has a long day (8.45 a.m. – 3.15 p.m.) and stays at school for lunch. We pay approximately € 1.00 each time and we get a bill every ~3 months. The trouble of picking him up at noon and bringing him back an hour later, with the youngest that has to come too as I can’t leave him alone, is just so worth this money. It’s only like € 8.00 a month.
We have to go from school to home and back and the oldest has to eat and all of that in just one hour. Well, I know that would be a battle every time with lots of tantrums. So this is totally worth it. The youngest will go to school in October 2018 and as they get older, they will have 3 or 4 long days, so the costs for this will rise. But this is something I’m not going to save on.
Besides, when they get older, they might just ride on their bike home (school is pretty close) and won’t throw in so many tantrums anymore (I hope!) and are able to travel and eat in that hour, but we will see.
Sold and bought stuff: € 50.00
This month we sold 2 things from the kids. A balance board (for € 50) and a swim trainer (for € 5). I bought 4 little books for € 5 for kids that are starting to read, because our oldest is more and more interested in letters. I got it second hand.
Extra’s € – 1,159.17
We finally bought curtains for the house we are living in for a year now. Half of it is installed already, the rest is coming this week, so we can install that soon. It’s sooo much better now! It did cost us € 1,066.05, but it’s for the whole livingroom which has 6 windows (2 really big ones). And we did exclude this from the buy nothing challenge because we already knew we were going to buy curtains this year.
We also finally bought a light for the dining table (see image)! This one was also excluded from the challenge. I’m so happy, because I’m getting a bit tired of not having a good light at the table. I hope we can install it next week. We paid € 67.89 for the light and the led lights that go into it. I will post a photo of it when the light is installed.
The other things I bought at IKEA were € 25.23, which included the stuff for the bathroom and the boys’ dresser. I also bought a box for their toys and some batteries.
How did we do in February?
This month was a little bit harder, but that’s mostly because I want to organize more things in our house and sometimes you need something to make that happen, like in the bathroom this time. And I went to IKEA this month which can really trigger me to buy stuff I don’t really need. It’s really a victory that I didn’t buy anything we didn’t really need this time!
Doing this challenge really makes me so much more aware of the constant buying people do. I see it everywhere, people just spend money without even thinking about it. And also people who are already struggling with money every month do it!
My advice is to just do this challenge for one month. I think that alone can already make a lot of difference and change the way you think about spending. And it also helps you to stop buying all those little, cheap things that add up to be big things on your budget.