Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stitch From Stash and The Experiment to Spend Less

Month: February
Spent: $0.00
Earned: $0.00

Most of my stitching progress this month is from late January and early February. However my budget is going well, with my second no spend month. This year I have started a budget plan and will be trying various techniques to curb my spending in all areas of my life.

Lickle Ted - Christmas Stitch Kit - The World of Cross Stitching

Somebunny to Love - The World of Cross Stitching Issue 179

Dimensions Gold - Elegance of the Orient

HAED - Bridge of Wings

Lavender & Lace - Celtic Spring

The first technique I have tested is a reward system. Each week that I manage to make no unnecessary purchases I add a small amount to a fund jar. This will go towards a large treat at the end of the year.  I had to ensure that the reward was neither too big nor too small. Too big and I would find it difficult to find it in my regular budget, too small and it wouldn't feel worth it.

The first lesson I have learned with this technique is never reward yourself in advance. If you decided to give yourself a reward of €5/$5/£5, whatever your currency is, but you reach the end of the week and find that you only have a 10, don't use that for this and next week's goal. Little compromises with myself, like this, is how these attempts at change have collapsed in the past. As soon as I compromise once, it makes it difficult not to do so again.

I am finding this a useful way to keep myself on track. I do have to be very clear about what is an unnecessary spend, for this exercise it is anything I do not need to survive. Here is an example of an unnecessary spend I made recently is, my phone has been crashing apps and become intolerably slow. I decided I would replace it as I use it regularly. Although my old phone was not able to perform the functions I needed to an acceptable standard, it still functioned. Therefore I considered the purchase of the new one as unnecessary and missed out on my reward. As a new phone is a large expense, I debated whether I would forgo my reward for a few weeks, however I decided against such a harsh measure, as it was only a matter of time before my old handset needed replacing.

Do you have any tips or tricks you use to help you stop spending? Please let me know in the comments below. I would be interested in trying them out.


  1. Oh what a fantastic tip! Have you decided what your year end treat will be? I think I'm going to try this :) With the changes hubby and I are making on the home and work front over the next couple of months this kind saving in all aspects is going to be a HUGE drive for us both!
    I normally shop for milk and bread at the large supermarket and often ended up with lots of extras that were unnecessary. I have been trying to draw enough cash for the month to cover only this, and leave the debit card at home so as not to be tempted!

  2. Great post. Congrats on maintaining your SFS budget this month. AS for me when I plan to make a big purchase I use the internet to try to find the best price and I wait to give myself time to really be sure the purchase is necessary. Although, I am horrible in a shop, impulse shopping is my weakness I rarely stick to my list.

  3. You obviously have the will-power to control your budget. The year end reward will be more satisfying knowing you have saved for and earned it.
    Generally most people have two spending weaknesses: 1) credit and debit cards - not physically handing over cash feels like you're not paying for something and 2) impatience - consumerist societies have produced a generation of "got to have it nows" who don't know how to save and wait.
    I'm an ex-accountant and have definitely been guilty of the above. But now I curb my spending by asking if the item is necessary or not. Necessary = yes; lust = no!

  4. Congrats on a no spend month! And such lovely progress on your WIPs. Great idea with your reward system! I wish you the best of luck. I'm a terrible spender and just consider it a win if I don't spend over $25 a month on stash. But the best way we've found to save money for anything is an envelope system. We budget a certain amount of money per paycheck for a specific expense, pull the cash out immediately and put it in an envelope in a safe location. Out of sight, out of mind!

  5. I'm always thinking if you can't afford it, don't buy it :P Your idea of saving for a big treat is really good!! And I really like all the project you're working on too :)

  6. Beautiful stitching! Congrats on your no spend month. I like your reward idea! And I understand what you mean about the "make a compromise once and it's easy to do again." Good luck with your goals!!


  7. What great projects...they are all fabulous! Congrats on the no spend month. I like your reward system...I might try that myself! I try to ask myself if it's a case of 'do I want this or do I need this'....usually it's a case of I want rather than need, then I remind myself that the money would be better used paying off the kids student loans!

  8. Love all the projects your working on and nice progress.
    I'm hopeless at spending.


  9. Beautiful stitching!

    I wish I had some words to inspire you or make an epic suggestion but I've got nothing! Rewarding resistance is a good tactic and one I was encouraged to use when losing weight. Keep at it and don't be afraid to make little changes to make it work for you.xx

  10. made it this time :)) Love your somebunny to love, its SO cute! Thank you very much for stopping by my blog and your lovely comments!

  11. Your reward system is a good one especially as it makes you very conscious of all your spending. As you continue with this, you will find it will become second nature to question all your spending and you can then pat yourself on your back for developing a good habit. I remember way back when I had very little money. So habit for not spending became second nature. One year I received a large tax refund and could not think of one thing to treat myself. That's when I realized the importance of habit. It's work at first, but before you know it you'll have developed a good habit of careful spending. Looking forward to your progress!

  12. Good for you. I still have trouble with this myself.

  13. Great job! Good luck with the budgeting - you can do it! :D

  14. Great progress on your stitching this month and all lovely projects you're working on. My top tip for trying to spend less money is always use cash, and write down exactly what you spend your money on. Good luck!

  15. Well done on budgeting! If you are planning on the big spend at the end of the year to be cross stitch (there is some new thing about sfs being in 2 parts of 6 months) might need to check it out. I'm awful at budgeting. At the moment I have about £10 left in my bank account, a maxed out credit card/overdrafts. It's just that time of the year! Christmas celebrations have finally been paid off and the overtime hasn't come through (tomorrow is pay day). What I find weird (and this is my fault) is that I have a hypothetical budget from sfs to carry to next month, but not the physical cash. Maybe setting the money aside into a tin is a better option. I'm also trying to limit the amount I buy with setting up rules like I can buy one item if I complete 2. Surely my stash won't grow then! Good luck for next month.

  16. Yay on your budget! I like your tip jar, too. I would probably go the pocket-change route if I did something like that.

    Growing up a little poor, I was raised to really think a purchase through before buying. This has somewhat backfired -- I tend to OVER think anything now. It took me three years to work up the courage to buy a carpet cleaner even though we really did need one (had been borrowing before) and could afford it. I am almost obsessive about finding the best deal (camelcamelcamel for Amazon!). I have a hard time convincing myself that I need anything even if it substantially decreases workload.

    Hmm, that's not really a tip ahaha. Check your thrift stores more often. Stick to a shopping list (I plan my meals by the week according to what's on sale). Enjoy watching money grow? Lol /useless :D

  17. Congratulations on another zero spend month. Like the reward system you set up. I don't have any new ideas for sticking to a budget but have tried to live by the "use it up, wear it out, make do or do without" philosophy that my parents pounded into us when we were little. I'm not always successful, but it does help.

  18. Well done!! Like the idea of a year end treat!
    Wonderful WIP's!
    A smart phone is a must these days. I wouldn't consider that a luxury any more.
    I am not a real stickler about spending on fabrics/threads. I have been curbing the patterns.
    Whenever I think of a new pattern, i look through the ones I have. to see if I have a fabric to use. Then I will spend money on fabric, or kit up what I have.


Would love to read any comments you would like to leave. Thanks for brightening my day :)