Oops, sorry it's been a while! You would think I would have found time to post before now, seeing as I've been wide awake at 4am every morning since the clocks went back! I love this time of year although for some strange reason it always makes me go all mellow and groovy. The lava lamps go on, the oil burners get dusted off and Britney Spears gets the elbow in favour of Loreena McKennitt on the CD player. I also find it an easier time of year to save money. I love being at home as much as possible and have no desire to go make any unnecessary car trips now it gets dark earlier - even less so once the weather turns to rubbish. I would much rather stay inside doing domestic goddess things like soup making. More than anything though, I think my urge to leave the house and spend money has been almost entirely decimated by No Spend Month. I have found the whole experience to be brilliant, enlightening, motivating and terrifying all at once. Terrifying because even though we are Simple Savers in so many ways, the Savings Diary has exposed us for doing some pretty stupid things - most of them repeatedly. The best way to sum it up is with this week's Hint of the Week, 'Are evil muffins controlling your cash?' I think you can safely say our family found its evil muffins during No Spend Month! Which is really good because now those pesky muffins have been revealed, it makes us all the more determined not to let them defeat our savings. Begone once and for all, evil muffins! Mwahahahaaaa!
Seriously though, No Spend Month has shown our household how we can save a whopping $12,000 a year. That's incredible! It does make you kick yourself though, thinking of all the money we have previously thrown away. Can you imagine what we would have been like if we weren't Simple Savers? If, as well as constantly giving in to the evil muffins, we were also still spending a fortune on jars of Chicken Tonight, frozen pies and snacks and bought biscuits and muesli bars? Not to mention all the money I used to spend on cleaning products! I honestly dread to think where we would be now without Simple Savings. Thanks to No Spend Month alone I have:
Refused point blank to buy any more drinks when we're out - soft drinks are an evil muffin!
Stopped showering my kids with treats and put a new 'kids budget' in place.
Already it is easy to see how much I am saving with these new changes. I am spending far less and no longer cringing when I fill in the Savings Diary! If you would like to see how our family tackled No Spend Month, you can see for yourself on YouTube. We made a video at the start and another at the end. Finding a solution to our worst habits was easy with the help of some savvy members. As you can see, the 'evil muffin' approach has really struck a chord with me! That's one of the things I love about Simple Savings so much. Every person is different and the same hints don't appeal to everyone but there are so many fantastic ideas on the site that you always find one that sticks in your mind and is just 'you'. It's just what you need - that trigger or lightbulb moment to spur you to save. As well as the aforementioned dastardly cupcake, another which is working really well for me lately is the 'Time is Money' equation. It's one of Fiona's favourites and she never forgets it but it doesn't come to me so easily. This Forum post, 'What does that cost in hours?' is a great way to sum it up.
I wish I had kept it in mind all the times I've ever succumbed to buying evil muffins. If I had taken that into consideration first I'm sure I wouldn't have bought any of them unless it was completely unavoidable. I mean, who wants to spending all that time working for something so daft and insignificant? I think I'm going to make myself a memory trigger to put in my wallet - just a piece of paper that says 'What does that cost in hours?' Something so simple but once you can get it to stick in your mind like Fiona, you're always protected. Thanks for that, Paul! I also have two other members to thank for helping me come up with a budget for my kids. The first is Lisette, who inspired me with her hint 'Bring out the Simple Saver in your kids'. As soon as I saw it I knew this was perfect for our family and wrote to her asking for more information, which you will find in the related Forum discussion if you click on the link. It sounds really strange but it's actually a weight off my mind! The kids are responsible for their own money. They know what they can and can't afford and I don't have to make decisions or feel like a nasty mummy for saying 'no'. If they have spent their allocated budget already, tough, they can't have anything else until their next 'payment'. It's working really well - they're enjoying managing their money like responsible wee grown-ups and I'm really enjoying not being nagged!