Club Thrifty Fall Financial Lockdown

Club Thrifty Fall Financial LockdownAfter my vacation to Mexico last week and my complete budget breakdown, I’ve realized that it’s time to get serious again.  It’s time to start watching pennies and nickels and sticking to my budget come hell or high water.  Why?  Because sticking to a budget is one of the best things we have ever learned to do.  When we started budgeting a few years ago, we made huge financial progress.  Here is what we have accomplished in the last 30 months:

  • We’ve paid off almost over 120K in debt (includes car loans, student loans, personal loans, credit card debt, and part of our mortgage)
  • We’ve worked our way to a savings rate of over 50 percent
  • We started building college funds for our kids
  • We have a year’s worth of living expenses in cash savings

If you have been reading my posts this summer, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a little relaxed when it came to our personal spending.  Part of it, I think, is that I left a very restrictive job in May and was going a little crazy due to my newfound freedom.  Shortly after that, Greg quit his job as well and took the entire month of July off to travel and get prepared for his new job.  Here are the posts about our wasteful spending this summer:

Club Thrifty May Budget Review: Epic Fail

June Budget Recap and Updates

We’re Back….and Money Lessons from Mexico

Anyway, things have been a little weird because of all of the changes in our lives.  However, I’m ready to get serious again and I’ve decided that me and Greg are now on FALL FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN.   We’re basically just pretending that summer ends and fall begins on August 1st and are returning back to our former budget glory days.  Due to a summer of excess, I’m prepared to return to my frugal roots.  We simply cannot keep wasting money the way that we have.  It’s starting to make me insane!

Shit is Gettin’ Serious

I know that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  After all, the majority of folks blow their cash like this 365 days a year.  And according to my records, we’ve only blown a total of $1200 this entire summer.  Although that isn’t a huge sum of money, I can think of plenty of ways that we could’ve spent that money in a beneficial way.

Although I’m trying not to be too hard on us, I want to get completely back on track with the frugal lifestyle that I’ve learned to adore.  In order to do that, I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ve been so free wheelin’ with my hard earned cash.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • I’ve picked up old habits.  As I mentioned in my monthly cash income update, I’m making more money than ever.  Making more money makes me feel more comfortable financially and I’ve used that as an excuse to spend a little more.  Now that I’ve acknowledged the old habits creeping back into my life, I can keep an eye out for them.
  • I’ve wanted to have fun.  Quitting my soul-sucking job in May was a huge relief and I almost think that it made me go a little crazy.  I had spent the last six years revolving my entire life around my job and I was ready to cut loose.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t do it in moderation.
  • We’ve experience some good old fashioned lifestyle inflation.  As we’ve made more money and paid stuff off, it’s freed up a ton of extra cash every week and month.  Watching our money pile grow has made me feel more secure.  And unfortunately, that security has led me to make decisions that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

So, there it is.  Summer has been a ton of fun but a definite drain on my wallet.  I’m ready to get back to regular life.  But don’t worry, I’m still going to have good times with family and friends.  I’m just going to do it in a financially responsible way.

How about you guys?  Did you have an especially spendy summer? If so, how are you getting your shit in gear for fall?

 

 

 

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Redoing our garage is probably going to be our spendy time, but hopefully it’ll be worth it!

  2. I am planning and paying for my wedding in August, and even though it is an incredibly inexpensive wedding it still is waayy may than I would normally spend. So I have pretty much been screwed this entire summer and will continue to be until fall, whereupon a spending freeze is taking place until the year is out. This is all going to be worth it, right?

  3. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending more as you’re making more, as long as it’s a conscious decision. It sounds like you guys are doing it a little more on a whim, which is what’s causing the guilt. But honestly, as you get more comfortable in your new routines, if you’re making more now then as long as you’re still hitting those savings goals, it might be okay to shift your mindset a little bit from pinching every penny to enjoying the newfound financial freedom.

    • Yeah, you’re probably right. And to keep things in perspective, we saved over $12,000 during the same time period that we blew $1,200 even though Greg didn’t have a job (or an income) for the whole month of July.

  4. The first month after I left corporate, I went a tad crazy on spending. Something about attaining the freedom I needed for so long created a wild desire to spend. Thank goodness for the ability to recognize when you’ve gone mad, the brains and heart to do something about it and the big fishing pole to reel in those old habits.

  5. Besides unexpected expenses, we’ve had a relatively good Summer as far as spending goes. I’m definitely ready to get our next tenant in (our current one moves out end of month) and I’m happy to keep that cash flow consistent, but I have to remember to not inflate my lifestyle because of it! Straight to the mortgage. By the way, $120k in 30 months is incredible, good for you!

  6. Summer is an expensive time for us as well. Lot of events like weddings, or trips like camping/cottage. But luckily we’ve budgeted for most of it already.

    As long as you’re aware/conscious of any overspending I think it’s ok to blow your budget every once in a while.

  7. We’ve had a generally fine summer. We’ve been so busy that we’ve had no time to spend anything, Lol! I can relate to leaving a soul sucking job and causing you to go a little crazy. I was there last year and went through a similar phase. Not to be an enabler, but I still think you guys are doing great! :)

    • Thanks John. Greg started his new job yesterday and is going to be very busy for the rest of the year. Hopefully that will help us stay on track. We tend to save more when we’re too busy to do a lot.

  8. Summer as usual here, I think I regulate like people who eat too much one day and eat soup the next, can’t do that with food I love to eat too much but with money it is possible.

  9. But sometimes it’s good to let loose for a few months as long as you recognize those months as outliers. Getting back to your frugal roots is the way to go!

  10. So you’ve had your fun, now you’re getting back to business, good for you!
    My summer was very expensive. I got married, then I went to Cuba, and then I went to Quebec City to see a Paul McCartney concert. All was very expensive! Fortunately, Cuba and the wedding were already paid for, and I used my wedding gift money to fund the Quebec City trip. Eek!

  11. We’ve been doing much better than before, but we can of course be doing better. We need more cheap date nights, cheaper meals, and so on.

  12. I can see where all of that would happen under the circumstances. For me if I ever got a full time job I could see getting a bit lax. I think it’s good you can see that you fell of track and need to get back on. I think as PF bloggers we are more in tune with noticing that. For me I did pretty good with spending, but need to not overcommit to taking on some new projects and social plans. I was in my car a lot in July and I’m SO sick of driving around LA. So I plan on enjoying things more locally.

    • Yes, I agree that we’re more in tune with that. We still saved a lot but we wasted a lot as well. I want to be more efficient.

  13. This past month was overbudget, but I’m not sure we’re doing badly after my business expenses get reimbursed. I should process those receipts today or tomorrow. I guess some of DH’s expenses are tax deductible as well as he did a job interview while we were out there, so those will eventually be discounted 25%.

    Our grocery expenses have definitely gone up in the past year– partly food inflation, partly having a second child, partly me not eating much wheat, and partly DC1 eating bigger portions. I think we’re just going to have to accept that that’s the new normal.

    I keep thinking about whether or not we should put tighter controls on the budget, but I think we’re going to continue with the “wait and see” what happens portion. And stop prepaying the mortgage so much. *sigh* If DH gets income I might try to make a lump sum equivalent to what we haven’t paid. Or I might not.

    • Decisions, decisions. Haha.

      I know what you mean about the grocery budget. Ours has gone up as well- partially because we quit eating meat last year and partially because our kids are 2 and 4 now and are just eating more in general. Plus, I still juice vegetables a few times a week and that isn’t cheap.

  14. Yep, we’ve spent more money than usual this summer. The kids were out of school and we were all ready for some fun (most of the fun was free, but some of it was very spendy). We budgeted for it in advance; by doing so, we don’t feel guilty about it. The everyday routines in both time and money are quickly approaching. School starts next week.

  15. After I decided to do freelancing instead of my routine job I am feeling so relaxed this summer. Yeah definitely you need to have a check on your spending also as budgeting will be prime thing to watch out once you quit the job. But that should not restrict you from having fun

  16. I just got back from a trip and a financial lockdown would really benefit me, too. After hotels, flights, meals, etc, I’m broke!

  17. I wonder if you ever get to a point when you don’t go through cycles like that, and I think the answer must be no. There is always that devil on your shoulder telling you to buy this or you deserve that. As long as you know when to tell him to go back to Hell, I think that’s the important thing. I think you guys are doing amazing things, and a little craziness here and there is OK.

  18. Not a spendy summer necessarily since we just had a little baby boy. Had to buy some baby gear, but a lot of people were generous with gifts. Not much going out these days so that cuts out a lot. But I haven’t been spending smartly by shopping sales/using coupons on diapers/wipes etc…I’m too tired and just get what’s convenient most of the time!

  19. Our credit card statements have been a little higher than usual. We have been paying for our vacations in the fall. We have actually been doing better than usual with other spending. Considering our statements were coming at $2200 every period last fall, it’s progress. We are eating out less, etc. But sometimes I can get stir crazy, and want to go and spend money. We actually did last weekend…Spent about $150 on three shorts for my husband, three pairs of earrings, one cutting board, xbox thingie for husband, and headphones for husband. As you can see, it was mostly him! I only spent $30.

  20. These are actually some really good points. I think that with recent increases in blog income and having that paired with my full time job has made me me a little more comfortable (frozen yogurt tonight?! why not!) So, thanks for the reminder to reel it in. :)

  21. We have been blowing our money away like crazy but we started taking control of our shit when we decided to start budgeting and pay down our debts. So budgeting is the way we are taking control of things currently.

  22. It definitely is easy to get a little bit lax with your budget when you feel like your income is high enough. That was my issue for years – I had increasing income, so I didn’t feel the need to really budget like I should have.

    We’re planning for my wife to got back to school this fall though, so our budget is tightening up this summer so far!

  23. Our summer has been fairly frugal, but mostly because my spouse has been sick for most of it, so even our cheap, fun activities like biking haven’t been happening. Oh well. Our fall is going to be expensive as we’ll be going on trip to a wedding and to see my in-laws and some friends.

  24. Just the opposite! We went away for the weekend and only spent $100 for the entire weekend. The hotel and breakfast was covered by vouchers. We only needed 2 other meals. Fall is back to work since I teach school and back to the routine.

  25. As Mrs. Done by Forty is leaving in the fall, I think our frugality will either get more intense (as there won’t be date nights or other couple-y expenses) or more lax, (as I start hanging out with friends more, less nights at home, etc.)

  26. Spending has been tough for the summer with the new house and medical bills but we’ve still managed to be able to take a half way decent vacation. Once the medical bills get paid off we’ll be back on track.

  27. I have done okay this summer. Not great not but horrible, definitely room for improvement. I think you are doing amazing and it’s very inspiring that even though you do have a lot more money to work with you are sticking with your frugal roots. I am rooting you on. You guys are fantastic financial role models for sure!

  28. I tend to also get a little spend happy when I’m on vacation. Travel is my splurge area of choice, so I save up and tend to always blow through my allotted funds. My big trip was for my birthday in late May though, so the rest of the summer has been pretty frugal.

    Even if you did go a little over budget, good for you! Props for doing what so many want to do and quitting a soul-sucking job to focus on a more fulfilling, and sounds like lucrative, career. Plus, it sounds like you’re in a pretty good place because you have a red flag for spending too much. So many folks get into trouble because they just don’t want to monitor their finances and spend, spend spend.

  29. I think it’s called being human :). I would probably be tempted to do the same things if I was in your position. All the reasons you spent more make sense as well. I am sure you’ll have no problems cutting back. I didn’t know you paid off $120k of debt, wow!! That is definitely something to be proud of, especially in 30 months!

    We definitely went over on groceries this month, and I’m not even sure how we bought more than last month when we were trying to fill our kitchen from scratch. Ugh.

  30. Summer has been a tad bit crazy for me as well. It seems like there’s always someone who wants to do something or go somewhere. Fortunately, everything is within my budget so yay for me.

    Congrats on quitting your soul sucking job btw. My job is not necessarily soul sucking but I don’t enjoy it so my hope is that one day I can do the same.

  31. “We’ve paid off almost over 120K in debt (includes car loans, student loans, personal loans, credit card debt, and part of our mortgage)” Yeah I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself, that alone is an AWESOME accomplishment!

    Kevin

  32. Fall financial lockdown sounds so ominous! Summer is usually pretty spendy for us because that’s when we’re typically traveling to see my folks. We try to budget the trip as much as we can, but there’s always a few more dinners out and shopping than we plan for. Hopefully we can keep it under control or we’ll be on lockdown with you thise fall.

  33. It is a reality that more money makes you spend more sometimes, but it’s also true that you can afford these little blowouts and get back on track later. Personally, I would love to see the piles of cash growing :))

    However, if you do look at your achievements over the past 30 months (having a more than 50% savings rate and 12 months of backup is, in my opinion, an amazing success), you have all the reasons to give yourselves a break, don’t worry about the 1,200 and be happy that you got the chance to spend them so nicely. Especially now that you’re back on track and don’t continue going down the spending slope :)

  34. We had a spendy summer as well, but that was because of a lot of one-time costs like booking travel to go to multiple weddings. My spend figure definitely surprised me at first, but I realize that some months we just spend more than others. I think it all evens out in the end and the most important thing is believing in your long-term spend/budgeting strategy – which we do!

  35. No worries you will get back on track rather quickly. Every now and again you gotta splurge, but $1200, you’ll replace that in 2-3 days!

  36. Wow, 120K in debt paid off in such a short time, this is amazing! Don’t be too hard on yourself, you have done amazingly well (seriously, wow!) and deserve to have a good time! I would love to go to Mexico, just thinking about travelling makes me want to pay off my debt ASAP!! ;)

  37. amen! we are spending lots, it’s all cash, no credit but it’s at the expense of our savings and the summer has been fun but EXPENSIVE! After going years with no travel, no expensive day trips this has been the ‘summer of George’ (Seinfeld reference here). We have booked (and paid for already) an anniversary trip sans children in September, once we are back it’s full Lockdown mode! I find i get really locked down in January and September, New Year and back to school times =back to reality!

  38. Fall lockdown sounds fun starting in August!

    I spent a bunch abroad in July as well. The thing is, I’m having an endless summer.. one which I haven’t experienced since college really. I want to go to NYC for the US Open…. Should I do it? I donno. Will be fun I’m sure.

  39. Our spending is always bad, but it was exceptionally bad this summer. We took a completely unplanned trip to the Philippines because my grandmother was sick. Coupled with a trip to New Orleans to visit my in-laws, we’ve been set back thousands of dollars. Spending lockdown is not a strong enough term for what we’re doing.

  40. I love this post – I wonder if people just relax a little bit too much in summer? I have gone through a similar thing with my own finances. I’d like to join you in your Fall Financial Lockdown movement – Viva la frugality!

Trackbacks

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