My last post was pretty positive despite being about spending. Today's is also about spending but it isn't as postive.
I'm starting to get really down on myself because of how May is going. It's not going well. I'm on track to have to take $1,000 to $1,500 out of savings to get through the month.
$1,000 of that is a payment I need to make for an art workshop in the fall that I signed up for in January. The art workshop runs twice a year, in June and September. June is coming up and it is already paid for. The September final payment is due May 31. I thought about canceling my September reservation but I didn't for two reasons. First, the art workshops really feed my soul. They take place in a beautiful setting, in the woods on a lake. The other women who attend are my people. The classes I've taken over the years, the people I've met, and the experiences I've had have changed my life. It's a nurturing, creative, joyous, relaxing, and creative experience. The second reason that I've decided not to cancel is that the woman who runs the workshop has announced that the September one will be her last. It's possible that someone may take over from her, but not definite. I fear that even if new people take over and manage to do everything exactly the same, it just won't be. It's the end and I want to be there.
So, that is an expense that will need to come out of savings this month but it's very important to me.
I've also been doing things around the house. I hired a plumber to fix the outside faucet that burst and I hired someone to powerwash and reseal my deck. These are maintenance items on the house that I've been putting off as I've been spending on less necessary things. As part of my turn towards frugality, I did a review of all the maintenance items I needed to do around the house and I'm choosing those things I can do myself (fix the broken toilet, fill in the uneven backyard) and those things I'm hiring someone to do (more advanced plumbing, all electrical, and things that I know I'll never get around to like powerwashing and resealing the deck). I know people do their own powerwashing and resealing but I would need to rent a powerwasher and figure out how to use it correctly. I would also need to find the time to reseal the deck and I just know I don't have that time right now. Also, it's the kind of project I hate and I don't want to do it. So, I saw an Angie's List deal for the service and jumped on it.
I've also been spending money on items for a raised bed in my backyard. I was looking at CSAs in the area and they are pretty pricey and I end up with more produce than I can use for just the two of us and no idea how to preserve or store some of the items. I didn't want to join again and end up with a lot of food waste. I also tried growing tomatoes in pots one year and it happened to be a year when all the tomato plants were infected with some blight. I spent a lot of money and got no tomatoes.
Instead, I decided to add a raised bed to the backyard. I bought cinder blocks because I decided they would be the easiest inexpensive method to build a box. I'm only going to grow plans I know we'll eat and that I have a plan for preserving. I'm planting tomatoes and I plan to freeze tomato puree to use to make sauce throughout the year. I'm planting cucumbers and planning to make pickles. I'm also planting green beans and beets. Green beans because we love them and they are easy. Beets because they were my favorite new vegetable from when I did the CSA and they are also easy. The rest of the garden will be herbs - basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, lavender, sage, thai basil, and rosemary. I will dry or freeze any leftovers for use over the summer.
This is an expense I expect to pay off all summer and fall.
In addition to all of this, I have way exceeded my food budget. My grocery spending is at $746, which is even higher than my average since January 2016. Part of that, is that I did food planning for a month the first week in May but the meals will probably last us two months. I planned for five full recipes per week and that was too much. I probably won't need to buy much meat in June. All of the meat for all those meals are prepped and in the freezer and I can just pull them out when I need them. I also ran out of a lot of big items - cat food, coffee pods, dishwasher tablets, paper towels, and Frontline for the dog. Some of those things, like Frontline, wouldn't necessarily be classified as groceries but I bought them at BJ's so I left it in. I only buy that once a year.
The food spending that really bothers me is the restaurant meals, which includes coffee, lunches, takeout, fast food, and restaurant food. I didn't do as good a job as I needed to at cutting that out. It's so hard not to get lazy about making my breakfast in the morning and buying it instead or stopping for a sandwich while out running errands instead of waiting to eat when I get home or packing a sandwich if I know I'm going to be out all day. My spending on this area so far this month is $430, which is less than last month ($521) and less than my average ($626). However, when you consider how much more I spent on groceries it should be a LOT lower.
Anyway, I've been pretty hard on myself about this and that really isn't the answer. I just need to look at and figure out what I can do differently next month.