Monday, January 20, 2014

No Spend Week 2 Review

Well I thought I would tell you all how the second week of our no spend challenge went.  After a month of holiday spending, my hubby and I are taking the month of January to get our finances back on track and have officially made January a "No Spend" month.  This means we gave ourselves a $200 budget for the ENTIRE month which includes all expenses (excluding gas for our vehicles and normal bills like our mortgage).

I got to say, this second week was not as easy as the first week!  Nope.  Not as easy. We saw lots of spending challenges this week, the biggest one being that I was the matron of honor in a wedding last Saturday.  Weddings are killers on budgets!

Everyone knows how crazy expensive weddings are for the bride and groom, but if you have ever had the honor to stand up in a wedding, you know just how quickly the expenses add up for the wedding party as well (especially the females).  There is the dress, the shoes, hair, make-up, jewelry, purse, rehearsal dinner, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, and of course, the actual wedding gift.  For females this can quickly add up to $500 or more.  You think I'm joking?  Let's break this down:

$100-$150- Average Dress
$25- Alterations to dress
$40- Shoes
$80- Hair (after tip!)
$30- Make up
$30- Nails
$50- Accessories like jewelry, purse, nylons, etc
$50- bridal shower gift
$50- bachelorette party
$50-$100 on the actual gift

These costs don't even factor in things like a babysitter for the day, new outfits for any of the events you go to, possible the over night stay in a hotel if the wedding is away from your home.  I think you get the point, these expenses add up fast!

Now this isn't to say it isn't all worth it!  It certainly is.  The three weddings I have been privileged enough to stand up in were worth every penny!  Yes, EVERY PENNY.

Our Wedding in Key West, Florida.  November 6, 2004.
I am also extremely grateful for the group that showed up to our wedding, I know it wasn't cheap for them to all fly to the Conch Republic to hang out with us! Each and every person in this above photo made our trip extra special.  THANK YOU!  I walked away with memories that will last me a lifetime!  I hope they all can say the same thing too!  This photo is so cute, everyone looks so young (especially my hubby).  Geeze, now I have a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the day.    LOVE IT.

Me in my wedding "accessories"
Anyway, back to the topic here.  The point I am trying to make is this: weddings can be a budget buster.  If you accept that special honor of standing up in someone's wedding, go into it with a plan because the event can quickly derail your budget.   I did just that this month.  In order for this "No Spend" month to work, I needed a plan.  I couldn't tell my bestie, "sorry hon, no present for you, we're not spending money this month".  We predetermined that everything that was "required" in the wedding (such as the dress) or things that were a "group activity" (like hair) were considered an expense and treated like a bill (i.e. don't count against the budget for "No Spend"), however, any items that I did on my own "just because" counted.  This helped keep the expenses down.  To be frank, most of my spending for this wedding happened in previous months anyway (like the dress, shoes, purse, and shower/bachelorette gift) so there wasn't that much that counted anyway, but you'll see it did put a pretty big dent in our $200 spending goal.

Just to be transparent (because otherwise I feel like it is cheating), here are few additional items we bought but we are counting as an expense because they were "required" or were considered a "group activity" purchase for the wedding:

$85 wedding gift
$20 nylons, yes, I should have bought cheaper ones, I bought thick ones thinking I would get more than one use out of them, but these still got a run in them, lesson learned!
$80 hair
$25 drinks at dinner and reception (between my hubby and I, we only bought 5 drinks total between two locations but it would have been weird to sip water all night)...this one might be a bit of a cheat. I kind of feel it should go up above....but hey, this is my game so we follow my rules :)

If you are in a wedding, here are some ideas or ways to cut costs:

Do your own make-up and/or hair or have a friend do it

At my sister's wedding this summer, I had my make-up done.  It cost roughly $30.  This time around for my friend P's wedding, I did it myself.  FOR FREE.  Nothing beats free.  When I stood up in my friend Ron's wedding, the bride fixed my hair (she is a hairdresser).  Yes, the bride fixed my hair the day of her wedding.

Use what you already have whenever you can

This is hard.  Everyone wants new purses, shoes, shawls, etc.  Sometimes the bride has special colors and you have to buy new items but if you already own it, USE IT.  Using what you already own is FREE. P gave us jewelry as a gift, BUDGET SAVER!  I used nail polish that P gave to me as a gift several months earlier (and painted them myself for FREE).

If you have to buy something, buy something you will use again

For P's wedding, I had to wear nude colored shoes.  I bought shoes that I would wear again after the event (and yes, I have already worn them again!).  I bought a dress (actually two, long story) that I can wear again. For my sister's wedding I bought a clutch that I will use again.

Buy thoughtful gifts, not expensive ones

Etsy is my best friend for weddings.  Nice prints are always a great way to go.  Some of my favorite wedding items can be found here, here, and here.  I always buy gifts that fit the style of the wedding or the couple (or hopefully both).  In other words, if they love birds, buy something with birds on it.  If they are going somewhere tropically, buy something with a palm tree on it.  Be carefully, it is easy to get cheesy here instead of thoughtful!

Here I am at my sister's wedding. July 2013

For my sister's wedding, the party bought a group gift.  So my hubby and I also gave her and her groom something non-monetary.  My hubby said he would help with the remodel of their house for a weekend.  I said I would run a 5K with my sister, ugh, I'm still regretting working on that promise.

Now let me give you the run down on our spending for the week:

$.50  Parking meter (at the mall to buy those required nylons)
$23   Eyebrow waxing + tip (yeah, not a group activity for the wedding) but it HAD to get done :)
$15  Coffee, tea, and danishes for the bride and wedding party the morning of the event (I used a gift card to reduce costs, total was $22)
$33.79 groceries for the week (this had nothing to do with the wedding)

Yikes!  A little over that goal of $50 for the week but not too bad considering we had a major event mixed in there.  Luckily we were under budget during the first week.

Well, we are half way through our "No Spending" month.  We have officially spent $101.05 of our $200 budget.  That's not too bad. I'll be back in a couple days with a summary of our 3rd week (The hardest week for me the first time we did this challenge about a year ago).  Come back to see if it is my hardest week this time around as well.

See you soon!

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