makin’ bank challenge: april recap

Well guys, I did it. 30 days of hardcore budgeting. My April Makin’ Bank Challenge is officially coming to a close and I gained more from it than I ever could have imagined. Here’s what I learned…

Makin’ Bank Challenge: April 2013 Recap

1.) I don’t need to shop

I’m extremely proud of myself for this one. As a self-professed shop-o-holic, I was nervous about challenging myself to 30 days without it. But, I survived! No clothes, makeup, accessories, etc. were purchased for the entire month and my bank account absolutely loved it. I hadn’t gotten into a horrible habit of feeling like I had to buy something anytime I went shopping. Not true! I refuse to give it up entirely but, from now on, I’ll make sure that I’m only spending money when I have it to spare.

2.) Bills are expensive

I took over almost all of my bills this month and, let me tell you, I was shocked. I honestly had no idea how quickly they’d add up. It has been slightly overwhelming but that’s okay. It feels really good to know that I’ve taken a few of those burdens off of my parent’s shoulders. Oh, and just FYI, pets are expensive. Thankfully I love Lionel to death and don’t mind spending money on him…lucky boy.

Lionel3.) Keeping track is key

Writing down all of my purchases really forced me to see where I was being impractical. Grocery shopping was the biggest shocker. I’ve never been good about planning meals or shopping in advance- I just picked things up when I needed them. Not good. Now I aim to make one (or two) grocery trips per week and avoid the “extra” purchases. So far, it’s making a huge difference in my overall budget and I’ve been able to use up stuff that’s been in my pantry for far too long.

4.) Fun is necessary

When I set up this challenge, I didn’t create a separate weekly budget for “fun” stuff (dinner/drinks with friends, movies, activities, etc.) I didn’t think I needed to. But, of course, I do. We all do. I don’t want to stop doing things that make me happy just because I’m being money-conscious. So allowing myself a certain amount to spend however I please is crucial. Life is too short to miss out on the fun stuff…

Mini Golf5.) Use cash

I stopped using my debit card almost entirely this month and relied only on cash. I honestly think that little switch made more of an impact than anything else. We all know how easy it is to swipe a card without a second thought. Cash feels so much more…permanent? If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you ditch the plastic for a while. You’ll be amazed at how much less you spend.

So, where does that leave me for the month of May?

I’m definitely going to give myself a little breathing room. If I go shopping with my friends and find something I like, I’ll buy it (plus I desperately need some new shorts!). I’ll continue to keep track of my overall spending and the status of my bank accounts just not quite as strictly as I was. And, of course, I’ll continue to pay all of the bills that I’ve taken responsibility for. Not too much will change, I’m just planning to relax a little bit. I also start my 2nd job this month (yay!) so my income will be increasing. My goal is to continue saving my butt off for 6-8 months and then I’ll re-evaluate from there!

Here’s to feeling accomplished and propelling forward…


  1. Ellie said:

    Great job on your first month! From my experience, it usually gets easier not to spend money when you get used to it. I think your policy to be a bit more relaxed this month is a good idea. Sometimes I take it week to week. If I extra saved one week or have extra, I’ll allow a bit more spending the next week. Do you use coupons? I find them to be helpful when deciding where to make a purchase. I got a sheet of Dunkin’ Donuts coupons this month so I’ve been buying my coffee there rather than at Wegmans to save money on my days off. Sometimes I wish I had a smartphone because I know you can get better deals on them as well 🙂

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much!
      I definitely use coupons when I can. They make a huuuge difference! And PS: I’m so jealous that you have access to a Dunkin Donuts. They keep talking about opening up locations in SoCal but they haven’t done it yet. I’m a Starbucks gal at heart but I definitely enjoyed DD’s when I was in NYC recently!

  2. Wooo! sounds like you kicked butt this month!! And yes … we don’t NEED to shop. but sometimes it’s necessary. don’t stop doing it .. just do it in moderation. I’m very frugal with myself but if I see something I think a friend will like I go all crazy. I spent $60+ on a friend’s birthday gift because I thought she’d like it. She did and it was needed since she’s kinda alone in a new town buttttt maybe she would of loved the $20 gift I could of gotten her. I think that’s my biggest thing. buttttt good luck with 6-8 months. can’t wait to read the update!

    • Emily said:

      Aww! That’s so sweet of you! I’m such a sucker for buying things for other people…I love the feeling of getting someone the perfect gift so it’s worth spending extra money, in my opinion!
      And thank you for all of your support!

      • agreed!! I just don’t like when they think that they HAVE to buy something back!! and always. I love you!!! 🙂 haha

  3. I like your May goals, they seem really doable and also not too strict! I know if I tell myself I absolutely cannot spend money on fun things, I’ll want them that much more. But I still need to have limits, so I just try not to go crazy with impulse purchases, and everything seems to balance out. But I know I could definitely do a better job of limiting these purchases, so that’s what my goal is now.

    • Emily said:

      Thank you!
      And I’m the same way. The second I tell myself I can’t spend money then I want to buy everything. I couldn’t believe I made it the whole month without an extra purchases! I feel like I’m going to go crazy now though…haha

  4. I can’t believe it’s already been a month since you started this! Crazy how time flies. My goal is to save as much as I can this summer because I don’t plan to work as much in the fall once school starts again.

    Seeing all the summer clothes pop up everywhere makes it SO tempting to go shopping, but I’m going to try to hold out for a little longer 😉

    • Emily said:

      Isn’t it insane?! I can’t believe it’s May already…
      And I’m in the same boat, girl. Summer clothes are my weakness!

  5. Taylor said:

    Yaah! Nice job this month! Now that you have a better understanding of where your finances need to go it will become much easier!

    • Emily said:

      Definitely! It has already gotten much easier!

  6. jaimeproulx said:

    Using cash is the biggest tip I use too! It makes me so much more conscious of my spending! Using my credit card makes it too easy! Feels like I’m not even spending anything! So if I don’t have cash, I don’t buy it! 🙂

  7. Good job girl! We are all so busy thinking of food and health that we often don`t take the time to consider our budgets but they can cause so much stress when they are out of whack! Congrats!

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