If you’ve been following along with me on my no spend year adventure, you’ve probably noticed a trend. Almost every month, I talk about how my no spend endeavor was such a fail, but then come around to realizing that it wasn’t that bad. Well my No Spend September doesn’t follow that pattern. There is nothing about it that wasn’t bad.
No Spend September
Let’s start with Fincon. I had an amazing time at Fincon and wouldn’t change it for anything. And, I paid for most of it well before the actual event. But still, I did spend a bit of money on gas to drive down to DC, and on food for the four days while I was there.
The biggest Fincon expense was buying tickets for next year’s Fincon. I’m going to take my partner with me next year, so that was a four-hundred-dollar expense. But, I bought the tickets well in advance, so it wasn’t nearly as expensive as it could have been if I had waited.
I don’t count buying tickets to next year’s Fincon as a failure of my no spend September, it’s basically a legitimate business expense at this point. But, it was expensive, so I needed to include it.
My biggest expense during my no spend September was all the fun. Maybe this is what happens when you repress having fun for several months – you spend all the money on fun things all at once! The sad thing is that I can’t even tell you how much I spent. But, I can tell you that I had a blast doing it!
We did something fun pretty much every weekend of September. And why wouldn’t we? We have a new relationship, we have some awesome life goals, and things are going fabulously for us. Why wouldn’t we spend some of our free time having fun? The problem is that most of the fun wasn’t exactly free.
We spent twenty bucks per person getting in the Hershey RV show and checking out all of the different types of RVs available. Of course, I can easily spin that as market research for our two-year plan, but still it was money spent. We did good by not indulging in the over priced fair food that was available at the show, but since we live an hour away from the show and were freaking starving, we had to stop to eat before heading home.
This stop made me realize how expensive even supposedly cheap food can be. We stopped at Five Guys, which is basically a fast food joint, and it cost us nearly thirty bucks! Now we’ve learned – we may as well spend an extra twenty and grab sushi somewhere. Grabbing fast food isn’t exactly cheap anymore unless you go to one of the big 4 and order from the dollar menu, which is pretty gross.
Goggle Works and Reading
We spent another fantastic weekend checking out the Goggle Works Art Center in Reading, PA (Pronounced Redding for some reason). The free gallery was fantastic, and we got to see the works of a lot of the artists who had studios there. Free fun for the win!
There was an adorable little coffee shop called Flourish that we stopped at for a delicious refresher (and amazing Instagram photo), but other than that, we didn’t spend any money in Reading. Go us!
Mini Golf and Ice Cream
We spent another fantastic Saturday afternoon driving along gorgeous autumn highways and taking in the scenery. Of course, this adventure led us to an adorable little mini-golf course with a dairy, so we had to stop for a round and a cup from the delicious local creamery. Mini golf and ice cream aren’t all that expensive, but it was still money spent when I’m trying to not spend any money.
Bar Hopping Lancaster
Our most expensive day in September was a night out on the town in Lancaster. We went to a few local breweries, sampled beer, ciders and meads, and ate tons of delicious foods. The best part was the meadery, where they let us throw axes! I mean, we had to pay for it, but it was great fun. Did you know it’s becoming its own sport? My boyfriend may have gotten a bit too into it, but it was a fun drunk couples’ activity.
We also spent a ton of money on food while in Lancaster. There’s this amazing little hole-in-the-wall Trinidadian food place that my friend raved about, so we had to test it out. Unfortunately, I was a little too drunk to enjoy that type of cuisine, so I ended up getting it to go and we went to Wawa instead. There’s nothing like a delicious sandwich when you are a little more drunk than you meant to be. I ate the Trinidadian food the next day (I’m not wasteful!), and my friend was right, it was fantastic.
Unfortunately, our night out in Lancaster was incredibly expensive. I had almost forgotten how much just a few drinks at an actual bar can be. I didn’t keep track of all the spending that night, but we easily spent over $100 between the two of us.
If you think we spent all the money during the no spend September on fun and that was the end of it, you’d be wrong. We also spent a little too much money on shopping. I impulse bought a gorgeous set of tarot cards (they just called out to me, as these things do), but that wasn’t it. I also decided to take a trip to Michael’s.
You may not know this from reading Partners in Fire, but I’m also an artist. I love to paint (and I’ve even sold a painting or two, go me!). I’ve been avoiding Michael’s because I love the store so much. It’s hard for me to go in there and not spend all the money.
Unfortunately, I decided to go in this month. I ended up with a bunch of new canvases and paints. My boyfriend is also an artist (way way better than I am if I’m being honest), and he’s teaching me how to paint actual things (I’ve stuck to abstract in the past). We now have a scheduled Friday night date night where we sip some tasty drinks and work on our painting techniques, and its’ been great fun. It was definitely worth the hundred bucks we spent at Michael’s to have this date night and learn some awesome new painting techniques.
We also spent tons of money in September on future fun. I booked tickets to see the Black Keys in Philadelphia in October, and I scored tickets to see Greenday play with Weezer and Fallout Boy next summer. I had tickets to see Greenday at the Rose Bowl before I left California, but I got the job in Savannah and had to move a few weeks before the show, so I didn’t get to see them. They have been one of my favorite bands since high school, and I haven’t seen them live since Insomnia came out (Man, that was a long time ago!).
Neither of those ticket sets were crazy expensive, but those online ordering services price gauge you. Overall, I spent about $300 on concert tickets this month.
No Spend September Failure
As you can see, my no spend September wasn’t really a no spend September. We spent tons of money on tons of different things (I did a lot of these things with my boyfriend – I paid for some and he paid for some, but regardless of who paid, I consider it spending money).
I think part of the overspending is the fun of a new relationship -we actually enjoy going out and spending time together and it’s nice to be with someone who can contribute to that fun. But it’s also been rough sitting at home all the time and not doing anything. I’ve missed having fun.
All though I had a great time having fun in September, I acknowledge that I spent too much. I have three months left on this no spend year journey, and I’m going to try to finish it right. However, I still want to continue having fun and enjoying my life, so we will see what these next few months bring.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.