Ding, dong, the witch is dead! Oops, I mean No Spend Month is over! O. V. E. R. Let’s not waste any time and dive right into my final spent tally as well as my thoughts on the whole thing.
So, I did break my budget on Black Friday Weekend (because it’s not just a day anymore) spending. And by a couple hundred dollars. A majority of the things I bought were for 7MD. It was a few tools and some hardwood lumber that I had been planning on buying but the sales came up and I couldn’t pass on it just because I was participating in the no spend month. I mean, the whole purpose of the month was to save money and I did save some by buying during the sale. It really sounds like I’m trying to justify myself. Hahaha. Maybe I am. As I was told a couple weeks ago when talking about this whole experiment, “You a grown woman and don’t have to prove anything. You make your own money.” True, true! But even though I did spend more than I originally budgeted at the beginning of the month, I still practiced some restraint. I used credit card points where I could and I didn’t buy everything that caught my eye. In fact, there were very few impulse purchases, if any. So that’s pretty good.
How about those groceries?? Thankfully for thanksgiving, I was able to eat leftovers for a couple days after. If I were to pick a meal filled with my favorite foods, Thanksgiving would be it. Minus the turkey. Blech. I’m a ham girl. And because my mom made everything herself (I did offer to help but she said no), I didn’t have to spend any money on food Thanksgiving for thanksgiving dishes. And I didn’t have to buy any food for this week because I’m actually on a little retreat to celebrate my birthday. Cabin in the woods with a fire and hot tub? Yes, please!
So, my total on food spent for the month is $135. That’s really pretty stinking fantastic, if you ask me. I never disclosed this earlier but most of the month that food budget was for two people.
When I was planning this month and what I would do woodworking wise since I couldn’t buy any new materials, I was going to clean up the garage and do so many scrap wood projects. Yes, I can hear you laughing with me. Best laid plans, folks. None of that happened. Not even a little bit. What time I did have was spent working on previous orders. Oh, wait. I did sneak in a personal project there at the end. Anyway, I’m happy to say that all of the orders have been finished. I have one more for next month (because I need to buy new materials) then I am done for the year! I realize there is only a month left but that’s still pretty exciting. I get to do whatever I want or nothing at all and I won’t feel a bit bad about it! I’m going to share with you the projects I got wrapped up this month. I just realized today that not a single one of them involved using pine. I’m stepping up my game, y’all!
The first one was a shadow box for a friend. I was so honored when he asked me to make a box for a medal he was awarded because he could have gone to any professional and had it done. The honored feelings quickly subsided when I started running through my head what was involved in a shadow box and that I was in over my head. After a lot of planning and researched, I finally had a plan in place and went to work. This piece was not without its troubles but they were all so worth it. My favorite part is how the grain of the walnut continues all the way around the frame. That’s some forethought there.
Side note, there aren’t really many good tutorials that take you all the way through making a shadow box from milling the lumber to attaching all of the pieces in the box. I’ll be making a couple more boxes at the beginning of the year so I hope to remedy the lack of tutorials by making one of my own. Brace yourselves now. It’ll be long.
Next up was a first anniversary gift from my best friend to his wife. Last year I was lucky enough to be the officiant who married them. This year I got to make the anniversary gift. They got married in a cabin (in the same area I’m in right now, actually) and the cabins have a journal style guestbook in them. He wrote a lovely note about them getting married then took a picture of it for later use. We brainstormed on what he wanted and finalized a plan. His wife loves chevrons, the color purple, and dark toned woods. I worked up a frame out of walnut with purple heart featured and accented by some maple. Thanks to a friend with a laser engraving machine, I had the picture my friend sent me engraved on a piece of maple. I’m thrilled with how it turned out! Sometimes the concepts that brew in my mind don’t always come to fruition. This one was better.
The last customer order I worked on was a very large cutting board. It was made to go over the sink area of a camper to increase the working counter space. This thing took a total of four glue ups and I couldn’t send it through the planer in one piece because it was so big. I used cherry, walnut, and paduak. This one tested my patience a bit. It also made me sick. Seriously. I think I have an allergy to cherry wood.
And the final project was another cutting board. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and I happened to have the materials I needed on hand. It really helped that I was able to use some pieces of hardwood I received as a prize from winning the cutting board contest a couple months ago. I only had to mill up a couple pieces of redheart and maple to get this done. I also added finger holds for the first time. Keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook pages to see how I did that.
Maybe next month I can finally work on all of those projects that have been on my to-do list.
Alright, let’s talk about how I feel about a no spend month. I actually liked it. For real. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I had expected. Granted, some of my purchases just got postponed until December 1st but I did pause when an impulse purchase came up and really thought about if I truly needed it or would use it. The answer was usually no. I was able to give my credit cards a break. I cleared out food in my house that needed used up without bringing more in that just went to the pantry or freezer. I didn’t bring in more woodworking materials that would have just taken up more space. I also didn’t have to go to Lowe’s for a month which was super nice. If you feel like you need a financial reset or just want to try a little experiment for yourself, I highly recommend a no spend month. It forces you to use what you have and get creative. It also forces you to evaluate your spending. It’s so easy to just buy small things here and there but those small things really add up. If you do decide to take on the no spend month challenge, don’t do it in November or December. January is a better time.
Do you think you’ll try a no spend month yourself? What do you think would be the hardest part? What rules would you set for yourself?
If you missed the first three weeks of the No Spend Month series, you can check them out here: