Summer Budget Project Week 6

This itemized spending recap feel disingenuous because I was with my husband all weekend and he paid for everything. We spent A LOT on food and drinks that weekend, as we celebrated both our birthdays and our one weekend alone all year. The truth is I couldn’t have cared less where we ate during our staycation but my husband’s job requires he know a lot about what is happening in the restaurant and bar industry so he’s very keyed into all the new places that are getting a lot of buzz. It meant a lot to him to try these places and he really enjoyed it (as did I), so I’m chalking this up to concessions we make to keep our spouse happy. We so rarely splurge on nice dinners out, I suppose it’s okay once in a blue moon (though I would rather not spend so much on one dinner).

When I started this ban I said I wouldn’t buy myself or my kids any clothes, books or toys. I did not expect my daughter would suddenly grow out 3 of the 4 pairs of shoes she has and I didn’t anticipate a sale on uniforms at Old Navy. So I went against my ban and bought my daughter one pair of shoes (we’ll see if she’ll actually wear them, most likely they’ll be sent back–yes I tried to take her shoe shopping, it didn’t work) and some elastic no-tie shoe laces so that she can wear the one pair that still fits her without issue (she can’t tie shoes yet and has no intention of learning). I also received an email from another mom whose kids go to my daughter’s elementary school, alerting me to a sale Old Navy was having on uniforms. I have been picking up pieces here as I’ve come across them on clearance racks (all before the spending freeze), but I didn’t have “one week’s worth,” of uniforms yet. The sale was a good one, so I bought enough uniform items to get her through one week (we now have five white short sleeve tops for warmer weather, five white long sleeve tops for colder weather, five black skirts and six (two packs of 3) white leggings). I allowed myself to get these things because I would have had to anyway. I didn’t let myself get her anything “fun,” nor did I let myself pick up khaki pants for my son, which he’ll need when he starts going to daycare/preschool in late October. There really was some cute stuff I would have loved to have gotten for both of them, but I held strong and stuck with the uniform pieces my daughter definitely needed.

There was one other “cheat” this week, in that I got my daughter a new swim suit, which she doesn’t entirely need yet. I’m about to purchase another 15 swimming lessons for her because she needs to keep going if she’s ever going to be water safe (swimming lessons have been a positive, but slow-to-progress, learning experience). The swimsuit she has now is a cheap thing I bought from Costco and it’s constantly falling off her shoulders. I try to tie the straps in the back but she doesn’t like the feeling of the knot when she’s out of the water. If I just needed to get through our trip to San Diego I wouldn’t have bought her a new suit, but since we have many months of swim lessons ahead, I caved and got her a $12 suit from Amazon (none of the places I went to had them in stock anymore). I also got my son a long sleeve swim suit top for our trip to San Diego (all the hand-me-downs we have are short sleeved and in rough shape) on clearance for $4.56.

I want to make clear that I went to the consignment store where I have quite a bit of credit and looked for all these things (shoes for my daughter, swim top for my son, swimsuit and swim assister for my daughter–see below) but they didn’t have anything in my kids’ sizes. At least I was able to get most of this stuff for relatively cheap (not the shoes, but I know my daughter will not tolerate cheap shoes). Still, it all adds up, and I want you all to know that I thought a lot about each one of these items before I purchased it (especially since they all actually go against the ban). Feel free to share your thoughts on the many ways I broke the ban below in the comments.

Finally, I got some stuff at Babies R Us but I used an American Express gift card that a friend gave me for my birthday to buy them, so I listed them under the total spent on my itemized spending list, since it wasn’t my money that went toward them. The only thing in that purchase that goes against the ban is a floaty device I bought for my daughter to wear when we’re swimming in San Diego (also on clearance) because I want her to have some positive, independent swimming experiences outside of swim lessons. The other stuff I got there were toddler-safety supplies (my son has taken to opening cabinets and pulling out cleaning supplies, also bumping his head on furniture corners) so I don’t consider that going against the ban. I struggled with whether or not I should include these in the final total, since I could have used that gift card to buy necessities, like groceries, but in the end I figured you could add it to the total easily enough (as I have) to see what I really spent this week.

Summer is really coming to a close. We have two more weeks at home, one week in San Diego and LA and then my daughter starts school. I requested we stop eating out completely until out trip to Southern California because I know we’ll eat out a lot when we’re there, even though we’ll have access to a kitchen for all but two days. My husband is on board, but I can tell he’s a little annoyed. If we can’t abstain from our pizza/In-n-Out/occasional burrito for three weeks to save money before a trip, I don’t know when he’ll be willing to do that. Blerg. Baby steps… Baby steps.

Oh and I feel like I should mention that my mom and I took the kids to Great America (a local amusement park) on Thursday (my mom got my daughter and I season passes for Christmas) and I didn’t buy one thing there, not even a pretzel. I also abstained from a pretzel at the zoo today, so I’m making progress. As I said before, baby steps.

{Oh, and I want to comment on the ridiculously expensive lunch out with my daughter and husband for his birthday. My daughter and I were “surprising” (he actually knew) my husband at work to take him to lunch, but she was being very particular about what she’d eat, so we ended up at this annoying place that serves everything. When I heard the total for the three of us I balked. I couldn’t believe we were spending that just for the novelty of taking my husband out to lunch, especially when none of us were very excited about the meal. As we ate I realized we should have just “surprised him” and then walked around for a little while, maybe even stopped at the playground near by, instead of eating. In the past I never would have balked at that price (even though it was absolutely ridiculous) nor would I have brainstormed another way we could have celebrated my husband’s birthday without eating. I guess my mindset is changing, slowly but surely–and evidently not until after I’ve spent too much on something.}

WEEK 6  
7/20/2015 Beer at movie theater $15.50
7/21/2015 Uniform tops (5), skirts (3) and leggings (6) for daughter $102.38
7/22/2015 Ivy and Bean Audiobook $5.98
7/22/2015 Swim cap (I couldn’t find it before her lesson–it was with the dirty laundry) $8.66
7/22/2015 PCIT $150.00
7/22/2015 Lunch with daughter and husband (his bday) $52.23
7/23/2015 Banans and milk $9.67
7/24/2015 Tax on finger paints at Consignment Store (where I have credit) $0.70
7/25/2015 Ivy and Bean Audiobook $7.71
7/25/2015 Shoes for daughter $40.00
7/25/2015 Swim suit top for son $4.78
7/25/2015 Swimsuit and elastic no-tie shoelaces for daughter $23.64
 TOTAL $421.25
7/25/2015 Toddler-proofing products, Baby Mum Mums, swim assister for daughter $36.78


  1. If gift-card purchases are “ok” then why not buy all of the “banned” items using the gift-card, even the ones you’ve justified to yourself? Or did the gift-card come after you’d made those purchases?

    Good job on not buying concessions! I should have mentioned on the earlier thing that we don’t tend to buy concessions not because we can’t afford them, but because with our increased income, our standards for food have also increased dramatically. So we’ll buy food at street fairs that is high quality and unique, but we won’t waste either calories or money on stuff that’s full of artificial flavors and preservatives. (Plus with my PCOS, I shouldn’t be eating refined grains or sugars, and only make exceptions for things that are truly delicious.)

    I also still think you should get on the waitlist for ivy and bean audiobooks from the library (and find another more library-available series to get hooked on while you wait) rather than continuing to buy them at $6-$14/week during your ban. I guess there’s only a couple of weeks left, but my friend who is on your library system tells me she gets stuff off hold or on your interlibrary system pretty quickly (I was complaining that our small town doesn’t have much selection with its two branch libraries, and she was telling me that the entire SF bay area is like one system with different branches with their ILL system, which must be amazing).

    One couple that we know who has kids our own kids’ age (8 and 3) has instituted a combined allowance/no purchases when out policy for their kids. So when we’d buy a $1 balloon toy for each of our kids, they would be told that sure they could have it, but they’d have to use their allowance to buy it (they both chose not to and were fine with that choice). After the allowance is gone, they can’t buy any extras when we go out. They say it’s cut down almost completely on whining since they can have anything they want if it’s worth it to them, and, of course, it keeps extra purchases down.

    1. The gift card was only for $50, so it wasn’t going to cover all the stuff on the “banned” list. I have an Amazon Visa, so I get the most points when I use that to buy stuff from Amazon, which is where I got the shoes and the swimsuit and shoelaces. I also have an Old Navy Visa, so I got more off of the sale prices of the uniforms if I used that. I am going to cancel that soon though. I just need to remember during business hours when I can call them.

      I checked the SFPL system and I have four of the Ivy and Bean CDs on hold (they don’t have any of the electronic audiobooks to check out), but we are behind quite a few people to get them. Since a kid’s item can be checked out for 3 weeks (and there is no fine when they aren’t returned–although this may not apply to CDs) it will be at least a couple months before they become available. I’m also worried they’ll be really scratched up. The two DVDs I’ve rented were in such bad shape they wouldn’t play. I’ve never checked out a CD before, I’m hoping it will be in good enough shape to rip it onto my computer and then play it from there.

      As for the allowances, I’ve been trying to institute something like that but my daughter has a really hard time understanding it. There are some PCIT strategies that require “smaller incentives” and then “bigger incentives” so we have made the Ivy and Bean audiobooks “bigger incentives.” My daughter earned one already, but again, this kind of system really stresses her out and sends her into a meltdown almost every time it’s discussed (not sure what that is about). She doesn’t even want to talk about how much more she has to do to earn something, she just loses her shit. I’m going to talk to the therapist about that. But I won’t be just buying them anymore, she’ll have to earn them. I will say the first two were me caving because we’re listening to them quite literally ALL DAY LONG. It’s up to 6 or 7 hours a day now, and there is only so many times I can listen to the same four of them when we have them on 7 hours a day. It’s driving me fucking crazy. (And yes, you could tell me to just tell her she can’t listen to them, but I think it’s hard for someone to understand what she’s like with this kind of thing. It’s not just a 5-10 minute meltdown and then she’s over it. It would be a 60-90 meltdown and then she’d whine about it the rest of the day, and refuse to do anything else like pee or eat. So it’s just something I have to deal with right now. It’s the lesser of two evils to be sure.)

      And finally with concessions–the only food I eat out is a hot pretzel (and I used to get a soda but it’s been a while since I’ve done that). I don’t let my kids get anything else and I don’t get anything else. Sometimes, if they aren’t eating their lunch I’d get them mac n cheese or a hot dog but that usually ended up with me eating it because they didn’t want to, so I stopped doing that too. So I’m not saving a ton on concessions (a pretzel is only $4) but it’s a baby step in the right directions I guess. It does take away the one thing I really loved about the zoo (I’ve been to the zoo a lot, there isn’t much to look forward to there anymore) but that is kind of what this whole thing is about. Learning to enjoy life without what you used to enjoy about it, right?

      1. Based on what I’ve read and my assessment of my 4 yr 7 mo old it seems 5 is pretty young for an allowance.

  2. You are really changing your thinking process about shopping and spending. What a huge win!
    You didn’t have major grocery shopping this week which is impressive with a family of 4. And with uniforms you will really have very little clothing expense for school wear for several months with any lucky.
    I think you are doing a good job of changing your habits.
    It is hard to live in a city with lots of good and new food spots opening all the time that you hear about on your job and want to see in person. Maybe ask him at a neutral time how to check these places out while spending less. Lunch, not dinner, out, or only an appetizer or dessert.

    1. I don’t know if you noticed but we bought a LOT of groceries the week before. We also had a lot of left overs from my birthday that my husband and I were working through. We will be getting groceries this week, to be sure.

  3. I read your comment re Amazon, but if you’re looking for another place to get swimsuits, we’ve had good luck with buying suits from Target for about $12 and they hold up well (2 kids since our youngest gets hand me downs).

    1. I actually went to Target and all their suits were $16-$22 (most were $20) and they had almost no one pieces in a size six. It was weird and annoying–they clearly only had what was left of the summer stock but none of it was on sale. I was disappointed.

      1. Hmm, maybe the price goes up when you hit that size range. We’re still in the 4T and under range. They tend to have a good selection online too, at least in our size range. I have also found that by this time of year the in store selection can be spotty.

  4. I definitely understand re-thinking how/when to use your money (ex: with taking your husband out to lunch) but I It is very hard to do a complete shopping ban.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *