Yesterday we needed toilet paper and the kid's Vacation Bible School are collecting supplies each day for hygiene kits for poorer countries so we bought 4 wash cloths for today. All together it was $7.33 so we have $46.59 left.
I've been asked why I decided to do this challenge. There are several reasons for my decision. One was that I wanted to see just how low we could go in a month. That was important to me because it was a way to track all of our expenses and to see how much we were capable of saving in a given month. It makes me realize that if needed we would be able to live off of less. Big expenses come up here or there and I now know that we could live off $1,200 (or close to it) for a month or two if we needed the extra money for something else. I think it is important for any family to track all expenses for at least a month to see where their money is going and find ways to cut out money drains.
Secondly, I wanted to point out that we always need to live within our means. If you make $3,000 a month, your expenses should be $3,000 or less. Too many families get sucked into the credit card or other debt traps and spend more than they make.
But third, I wanted to prove that living below your means is even better. Meaning, if you make $3,000 a month, wouldn't it be great if you only spent $2,000-$2,500 of that money? Putting the rest in savings will build a nice nest egg fairly quickly.
It's been said that the more money you make the more you spend. I find that all too true. If you get a $5,000 raise one year, you don't often put that extra $5,000 in savings, do you? People typically find ways to spend that $5,000 on other things. I've seen one income families that are struggling to pay bills go to two income families who are still struggling with bills. Because their income increased, their spending habits did as well.
Money doesn't fix money problems. I know that sounds silly to some and crazy to others. Sure, if you have $5,000 in debt and someone gives you $5,000 to pay it off, your money problems are fixed, right? Unless you go right back to using your credit card and rack up the debt again. Changing your money habits is what fixes money problems.
I think that living beneath your means needs to become a national movement.