Y'all, I love talking about budgets. Seriously, I know it's tacky to talk about how much people make and what they spend on their money on, but knowing how people save money and still feel satisfied is like porn to me. Wisebread is on my Google Reader. I'm fairly straight-forward about Ed and I being close to the poverty line. We're both students and work part-time and well, shit happens. To save money for ourselves, we cook at home at least 6 nights a week, we set aside a small amount of money for discretionary expenses like the occasional movie out AND DO NOT SPEND MORE THAN THAT EVER, we don't have cable, we keep the apartment at a moderate temperature, we never use credit cards and whenever possible I take the bus (which fortunately takes me to work and school). And yet, every month is a close call.
Ed and I have very equitably split up our household financial responsibilities; my biggest responsibility is rent. This month because of a careless miskeying of my checking account number, our rent was late. Our tyrannical apartment complex charges a $50 late fee. Now I don't need to tell you that around these parts $50 is a substantial amount of money. Long story short, I have a $6 balance in my account.
For a long time I've wanted to introduce a No-Spend Month and now, mostly out of necessity, seems like a good time. The rules are simple: no spending a single solitary cent on anything that is unnecessary. "Necessary" costs are also strictly defined: rent, groceries, utilities, and financial responsibilities (like loan or credit card payments). So, no coffeeshop coffee, no books, no clothes, nothing unless its totally necessary. We still have our small amount of monthly discretionary to use for dates, but that is it. No more eating out at work, no more pre- and post-class coffee runs. For the whole month.
I'll keep you guys posted. In the meantime, what are your belt-tightening tricks?