Thursday, May 30, 2013

Minimalist May

I'm a little behind with my blog posts.  May has turned out to be a busy month and I usually work on posts during nap time, but I haven't been home for nap time lately so the typing has been on pause for the month.

Although it's been a busy month, I gave the month a kind of non-busy theme: Minimalist May.  Here's why...

At the end of April Nick and I took a look at how much money we had spent so far this year, and it was a lot - A LOT!  We had to buy a new oven and pay for plumbing repairs (multiple times) and refloor the downstairs, etc., etc.  The list went on and on and our credit card bill went up and up.

At about the same time, we got on this health food kick and started looking at how much sugar we are consuming, and it was... can you guess was I'm going to say.. A LOT!  We have dessert every night, yes, every.single.night.  And I drink mochas a few times a week... okay, maybe more than a few times depending on the week.  And during the winter we'd have hot chocolate while the girls napped or enjoy an after lunch cookie.  I'm not kidding, we eat a ton of sweets at my house!

So, we decided to go all in (or maybe all out?) for May.  I gave us the Minimalist May theme to keep us going and we set goals for money and sugar consumption.  Here was the plan:

1. Make a maximum goal for our credit card.
2. Keep a spending journal.
3. No buying clothes (for any of us)... umm, so difficult!
4. No more Starbucks paninis for lunch (I love them, but they are about $6 for a flimsy sandwich so I was okay with saying goodbye to those).
5. Only eat out once a week for dinner, which means cooking at home 5 to 6 nights a week depending on if we have dinner at my parent's house or not.
6. Stick to the American Heart Associations reccomendations for added sugar consumption (maximum 25 grams of sugar per day for women and 37 grams of sugar per day for men).
7. No more than 3 mochas a week. :(

Here's how it turned out:


  • We were able to hold the credit card bill to our goal - whoo hoo!
  • The spending journal helped because it forced me to really pay attention to what I was buying and how much I was really spending.
  • I did buy two pair of shoes for 2 year old B, but they were needed and I bought them on sale at Fred Meyer.
  • I ended up getting 1 panini at Starbucks, but sometimes when you're trying to get out the door in time and you are starving and your little one falls asleep in the car, you need to buy a panini for lunch on the road.
  • We stuck to eating at home most of the week and made an effort to cook meals with ingredients that we already had to avoid spending too much at the store.
  • We did eat out once when Nick took me out for a Mother's Day date and we both ended up ordering the most expensive items on the menu... oops (not really), but Nick has the Passport card from work and one of those meals ended up being free because of the card, so we reasoned that it was okay to each choose the most expensive meals on the menu - sure!
  • We did not go minimalist for a BBQ we hosted at our family beach house, but it was so worth it to see these kids having so much fun together:


  • Stayed within my 3 mochas a week rule - it wasn't easy and I REALLY resisted temptation!
  • If I had a mocha then I didn't have any dessert that night.
  • I discovered that I really could go a whole day with no sweets - what?!
  • We had a slight setback one night... and weekend... and went a little sugar crazy when I made sugar cookies with cookie dough frosting from my new favorite cookbook:
I'm pretty happy with the way Minimalist May turned out.  I'm going to keep up with the limited sugar intake and also keep going with the spending journal so that I can keep track of how many times I click "place your order" because it's so easy just to click that button and not realize how much you are actually buying... do you hear me fellow Amazon shoppers?

What are some ways you keep track of your spending or how do you make sure you stay within a budget?  Does anyone else feel like they need to cut back on the sugar too?  25 grams a day for a woman is not that much!  That's like just a cookie and a half!

1 comment:

  1. Nice Job you guys :)

    For the last year or so, we have been in the process to lower our debt too; some slip up/splurges at times, but overall our debt is going down. After watching a few shows of "Til Debt Do Us Part" with Gail VazOxlade,we try to use cash most the time; if we don't have the cash to do it then we won't make the purchase. Hard to do! We also refer to Dave Ramsey and have found his suggestions very helpful.

    It is a hard process, but very rewarding when you have a bill fully paid off. Ultimate goal is to have no revolving debt and to build up our savings more; which we are on track to do.

    Good Luck with continuing your Minimalist ways.