September 2015 Budget & Shopping Ban Update

October 1, 2015


Ahhhhhhh… <– that’s the sigh of relief I let out, as I sat down to write this. September felt like one of the longest and shortest months of this entire year; short because it flew by, long because it seemed like all I did was work. Whenever a friend asked what I was doing, I usually said “working” to which they often replied “do you ever take a day off!?” I don’t like feeling that busy, but I hustled this month for a reason – and it was about more than just making money. I’ll explain more on Monday, but for now let’s look at how my budget worked out (including my latest net worth update).

September Budget

Before I jump into the numbers, here’s a quick breakdown of what type of work kept me so busy this month. Right now, I have four clients I work with on a regular basis: two I do some writing/editing for, one I help create online courses with and one blog/community I manage. I also make some extra money through sales of the Mindful Budgeting Program and get little bonuses through referrals, etc. This month, I spent the majority of my time working on online courses, because the client had some major deadlines to hit with their higher-ups and I wanted to help as much as I could.


When I decided to become a full-time freelancer, I didn’t know exactly what I would be working on every week, but I knew I wanted to earn at least $6,100/month (before taxes) so I could bring home the same amount of money I was earning before I quit my job. In July, however, I was so burnt out that I actively chose to work less, and made $4,773 as a result. In August, I put in the hours to reach my goal and made $6,226. And this month, I hustled and earned $6,850 – $2,400 (35%) of which I set aside for taxes. Here’s what I did with the leftover $4,450.

Life Expenses – $2,649 (60%)

September was an extremely frugal month that came with one big expense: car insurance. For the past couple of years, I’ve been paying my car insurance monthly, largely due to the fact that it was $145-$151/month when I was still in Vancouver. Since moving back to the island, however, my car insurance has gone down dramatically. Even with ICBC’s newest rate increase, I’m still only paying $81/month – so I decided to pay for an entire year, instead. Paying for the year didn’t save me a ton of cash (only $32, in fact) but I was sick of having to think about the monthly payment. Had I chosen to stick to monthly payments, I would’ve spent just $1,790 ($1,709 +  $81 insurance) on living expenses in September! Instead, I handed over $940 to ICBC and removed one monthly annoyance from my financial life.

Travel – $601 (13%)

I set my travel budget at $600, for my trip to Charlotte, so this should be a win… but the trip was actually more expensive than I had anticipated, thanks to the ever-dropping Canadian dollar. Right now, our dollar is at its lowest level since 2004, sitting at just 75 cents per $1 USD. I shouldn’t have been surprised by the exchange rate. Our dollar has been low since summer 2014, and I’ve done enough travelling south of the border between then and now to know it’s not really a great time for Canadians to be travelling south of the border. But $0.75… that hurt.

To put it into perspective, one night we went out for a nice dinner and I spent $30 US – that’s $40 CAD. I never spend that kind of money here! (You’d better believe I ate a lot of cheap food options after that.) And my hotel was $290 US which is $400 CAD. I had a great time with everyone there, so I can’t complain about the trip… it just wasn’t fun to see all those extra dollars disappear. Anyway, when it comes to variable expenses like this, I try to include a good buffer in my budget; in this category, I needed it. (And I’m sad to say I don’t think I’ll be crossing the border again any time soon.)

Savings – $1,200 (27%)

Finally, a number that makes me happy. If you consider that I actually made $6,850 this month but saved $2,400 right off the top, tack this on and I really saved 53% of my income this month – and that feels pretty darn good. I still feel this constant need to earn extra money and cut my spending back even further, though, so I can save more more more. I don’t know when the savings bug hit me this hard (maybe right before I quit my job?) but I constantly feel this need to hoard as much cash as possible. Speaking of that, it’s been three months (a full quarter) since my last net worth update. The numbers have gone down with the market, but then I’ve kept more cash, so I’m basically where I was before:


(I have a weird thing about saving at even numbers…)

Note: It hurts to be sitting on this much cash right now, but the $9,000 in my chequing account is technically my emergency fund (now just referred to as my “buffer”) and the $7,000 in savings… well, I’d like to invest some of it in my TFSA index fund, but I’ve been told not to just yet. If something bad is going to happen to the markets soon, I would rather have the cash (especially since I’m self-employed now)… so I don’t mind waiting for a little longer. (Also, I don’t include all the money I have saved for future taxes, in my net worth, since it’s an asset I will eventually be giving to the government.)

Shopping Ban Update

Now that I’ve gone over the numbers, it’s time for a shopping ban update. I’m getting ready to finish the 15th month of my 24-month shopping ban, which means I have just 9 months left. (Seriously, where is the time going!?) The purpose of the first yearlong shopping ban was for me to become a more conscious consumer and I have certainly accomplished that. When I finished the first year, though, I realized that my one regret was not keeping better track of all the things I did have to buy (toiletries, etc.) – so I decided to do it again. During the second year, I’m tracking every item I buy, so I can show you what an average (female) consumer might need in a year – and this month, that wasn’t much.

Items I purchased in September 2015:

  1. 1 box of tampons (needed them in Charlotte, didn’t have my DivaCup)
  2. 1 long-sleeved shirt (tossed 2 t-shirts, replaced with 1 and wear it constantly)

And that’s it. I literally had to double-check my receipts and walk around my place to confirm I hadn’t bought anything else. If I’d brought/used my DivaCup and decided not to replace those old tops, I wouldn’t have bought a single thing in September…

…so that’s what I’m going to challenge myself to try to do in October!

October Challenge: Buy Nothing New

Seeing how much more I was able to bring my living expenses down by, this month, was extremely motivating. For months – even years – I’ve been hovering around the $2,200 mark (some months more, some a little less). But knowing I could’ve spent just $1,800 this month, if I hadn’t paid for that year of car insurance, gave me a thrill. (I believe the Frugalwoods would say that makes me a frugal weirdo.) In October, I not only want to challenge myself to spend less than $2,000 on living expenses, I also want to buy nothing other than groceries and gas.

This challenge won’t be easy for me. Some of my makeup is running out, I’ve realized I don’t own a thin long-sleeved jacket or sweater that’s appropriate for hiking in the fall, and the holidays are coming. (Christmas is the day after Halloween, right? Oh, never mind – only stores think that here in Canada.) Buying nothing other than groceries and gas will require me to get pretty creative, but you’ll all be here to help me come up with ideas for how to get through it, right!?

Also, a little fun fact for you: today is my 5-year blogoversary!

On October 1, 2010, I setup “” and entered my first weekly spending report. I never imagined I’d still be writing here 5 years later, or how many wonderful opportunities would come from it. Thank you for being the best online friends I could ask for.

Now… are you up for a 31-day shopping ban!? :)

  • Shelly October 1, 2015 at 4:58 am

    Happy 5-year blogoversary!!! I can’t believe it is October already! I don’t think ‘ll be joining the shopping ban. With a husband and two kids, something always comes up. Though, I will be cheering the rest of you on. I am more aware of what we need vs what we want when it comes to purchases. Since reading the Marie Kondo book, I am more aware also of what is serving a purpose in my home and what is taking up valuable space.

    We found out how crappy the Canadian dollar was when we went to Florida for two weeks in July. The difference certainly added up when it came to purchases! As for Christmas being the day after Halloween; I’ve seen quite a few Christmas items out and about already. Costco, here in Newfoundland, has had a display up for a while now. I usually start my Christmas shopping in October so I don’t mind it so much. I just hate it when they start playing Christmas music in stores too early.

    Last month I said I was going to start a blog, or at least come up with a name and I do actually have a name. I had a few written down, including one that just had my name, but one just seemed to stick. Its a bit long, but I’m hoping it will be easy for people to remember. Maybe it’s time for me to get a ??? blog started?

    Hope everyone has a great day! September actually ended warmer than July for us. No surprise there; that’s just weather in Newfoundland for you. :)

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:38 am

      I haven’t been to Costco in ages, but saw pics/posts from friends that showed the Christmas stuff was out in August, haha. I think my “Christmas after Halloween” comment came from my experience working in a mall for a few years as a teenager. The morning of November 1st, all the Halloween decorations came down and the Christmas ones went up (and, of course, the music changed too). Anyway, I’m glad you’re enjoying the books, Shelly! And yes, get that blog started – I know I’d love to read it. :)

  • Kristen October 1, 2015 at 5:01 am

    Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. That is a great accomplishment. As a self employed person, I understand the want to hoard the cash. I am lucky that my husband brings in a regular pay cheque, most of our expenses on there. I tried a flat out shopping ban and it didn’t work, mostly because we had a mouse problem (to date we have trapped 8 mice and the dog has caught 2), and my parents decided that we were doing Christmas in October when they visit . . . so I had to prepare for that. Overall though, with mindful spending, we brought our expenses down a lot and increased our savings by $400 a month. The one area we had issues with was eating out. We didn’t say no to a few social invitations and our eating out was crazy. We are doing a month of no eating out (well, my husband will still do his weekly work breakfast but nothing else). I am looking forward to that challenge! Hope October is a productive month!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:40 am

      That sounds like a great challenge, Kristen! I always *say* I’m going to not eat out for a month, then still manage to spend $75-100. Clearly, I haven’t made it a strict goal yet – maybe that can be my challenge for November. :)

  • Kate @ Cashville Skyline October 1, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Wow, congrats on your five year blogiversary! And it looks like you had a productive month. Nice work! I’ve been stepping up my emergency fund lately, too. I don’t like holding so much cash. But I’m sure I’ll be grateful when I need it. Happy October!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Yes, I hope I don’t need it one day, but that’s what it’s there for, right? (If nothing else, it does bring an incredible peace of mind.) Thanks, Kate!

  • Rob October 1, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Congratulations, Cait, on your 5-year blogoversary (is that a word? lol). I’ve enjoyed reading your words and thoughts over much of this time. Congratulations also on your work / financial achievements over the past month. You’re really hitting your stride as a self-employed person, I see.

    As for moi, well September has been a mixed bag. Over a month ago my computer packed it in and so I’ve basically been awol from the on-line scene during this time. Added to that, as everyone is aware, the financial markets have been down (as well as everyone’s net worth) but, hey, that’s how things go eh?

    So, yes, right now cash is king, as they say, and one should spend conservatively, being on the lookout for bargain prices / investments. As to the Canadian currency situation, not the best (vs the US) right now. That said, if you still intend to travel to the US in the future (even if not as often) then you might wish to consider starting slowly and set yourself up a $US saving account. This will help over time to mitigate currency exposure impact on your travel costs. Just a suggestion.

    Have a great weekend.

    Btw, our Toronto Blue Jays baseball team won their division title last night (first time in 22 years) so I guess September wasn’t all that bad! :-)

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Yes, I’ve been thinking more and more about opening a USD account, since I do get paid in USD by some clients. I think I’ll finally make that happen in November, as I’m expecting a one-time lump sum of cash to come in… and I certainly won’t need it all, when I get it. Something to finally consider, anyway! Sorry to hear about your computer. Did you finally get a new one? (i.e. how are you teasing me about the word blogoversary, haha.) Here’s to a new month!

      • Rob October 1, 2015 at 10:38 am

        Yep, bit the bullet and bought a new computer. Initially I tried to get the old one repaired but sadly it had become “boat anchor” material. So I ordered a new one online and then upon delivery got my techie son to set up the software stuff for me. Fortunately I had all my info backed up offline and so didn’t lose anything.

  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies October 1, 2015 at 5:10 am

    Congrats on all you’ve achieved in five years. Your blog (and huge following…hi!) is an incredible testament to all your hard work. So amazing! Sounds like freelancing is going very well for you, too! As far as a 31-day shopping ban or any shopping ban, I have such a hard time deciding what constitute shopping. For example, last month I had to pay $75 to enter a new teacher licensure program. I put that in spending because it wasn’t necessary…but it kind of was. I guess I’d really have to get serious in thinking about what spending means to me first. In the meantime, I’m focused on getting rid of all the stuff I don’t need.

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:47 am

      What exactly does the program do? Licensing sounds like a necessity… no? :) I get a lot of comments from people who are unsure of how to classify their expenditures per a shopping ban. I think it’s time to write a post about that! Thanks for the comment and the congrats, Penny. :)

  • Claire October 1, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Hi Cait. Happy blogging birthday. So glad to have discovered your blog this year – I’m finding it a great source of inspiration and support. It was my three year blog birthday yesterday and I’m into my second month of ‘A Year of Less Spending’. Good luck with October’s budget!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Hi Claire! Congrats on the 3-year birthday! Are you the same Claire who told Laura and Mark about me? I did the most wonderful podcast interview this week, and they said a blogger named Claire from the UK sent them my way. If it was you, thank you – they were so lovely to chat with. :)

      • Claire October 4, 2015 at 5:15 am

        Hi Cait, yes same UK Claire here! I was interviewed last week by Laura and Mark and we chatted about you as an inspiration for my ‘A Year of Less Spending’. I’m looking forward to hearing your interview soon :)

  • Amanda October 1, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Happy Blogoversary! It’s so exciting to see the scope of your blogging journey. It’s very inspiring. As is the result of the shopping ban. I’m considering trying it for a month to see how I do. My biggest spending issue is on the run snacks/meals. I’ve got to get better about having stuff with me. Then I’d feel more confident in my ability to succeed at a ban.

    Also, yes. September was long and busy and yet flew by. What? How?

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Yes, I sometimes feel like I have an easy out with that, since I work from home – but I do still find myself out and about, hungry and craving a snack. We could all do a better job of planning for those hunger pangs, I’m sure. :)

  • Leanne October 1, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Wonder how many of those five years we’ve followed each other for?! Mine would have been back in July but I’ve had about five different blogs since then haha. I’d love to join in with a no spend month but can’t this month. I do have one planned for November though! Not as brave as you to do it for a year+ x

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Probably ALL OF THEM! Or at least 4. ;) xx

  • giulia October 1, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Happy 5th blogbirthday!… I’ve tried to have shopping ban on determinated period but I am better as budget planner instead shopping banner… but I’m trying to adjust some areas to have a good social life without intacking savings(coffe at cafe with collegues only twice and never alone, buy new clothes only if necessary and if they’re on my personal approved shopping list, same story for bags and shoes), make up only when they run out… Glad to know that you had good time in your trip also if it is been a little expensive…WOw your savings are great, and I think your choiche to wait before to invest is good…Keep your work and thanks for sharing with us!!!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Never going out for takeout coffee alone has been life-changing for my budget, Giulia. Just set yourself with a good method to make it at home and you should be fine. Good luck!

  • Catina Marie October 1, 2015 at 5:47 am

    #1: I am SO glad that Webroot let me back in! they sent me some funny email report stating they lowered your risk level or something completely silly like that!
    #2: You have inspired me…my co-workers and I did a “No Spend September” and although I only saved 2% of my income, I cut out the bad habit of over-spending and dipping into savings to cover my behind!

    I am finding my biggest challenge is my son. He is 14 and does not really understand what is happening. “Mom, can you buy me ______” ….”Sorry son, its No Spend September”. I am definitely trying to “reboot” his mind and make up for my past mistakes of buying him whatever his little heart desires.

    You also have pushed me back into my side hustles so I can earn more. I work a full-time, 40 hour a week job but I have not been making enough to accomplish my goals so I got back to my marketing roots and when asked to take on side-gigs, I said “YES”!

    Loving your blog…you are shedding a lot of light my way.

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Ha! Well the good news is that whole incident actually inspired me to setup some extra security measures, so I shouldn’t have to worry about my blog ever getting hacked now! So it’s all good – but yes, I’m glad you can read again. :) A No Spend September sounds awesome! How did everyone do!? And HECK YES is what you should start saying when those side-gig offers come through. Proud of you!

      • Catina Marie October 2, 2015 at 5:21 am

        Awwww….thanks Cait!
        So, I only saved 2% (BOOOO!), but my co-worker saved 8%! Another one sort of threw in the towel. We have a small office so it was only the three of us.
        I should do much better this month due to the side hustles & will probably bring in an extra $600-. I will report back after “OH NO YOU DIDN’T OCTOBER”. Ha ha!

  • Rebecca@TheFamilyFinder.Net October 1, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Congrats! I have a tip for your make-up purchase. Make a conscious effort to stop wearing any. It took me some positive self talk on my part but as things ran out I did not replace them. For a while I even told myself that I could NOT leave the house without mascara, so I bought a new tube when the old one needed to be replaced, but now I don’t wear it daily. I still have that mascara but I have learned to LOVE my 5 minute morning routine and the way my face feels without makeup. My skin is healthier and the things that I was wearing makeup to cover up have disappeared. At first I felt kind of (read VERY) vulnerable without it. Now it is kind of liberating to go against the grain. Just an idea though, to-each-her-own! Love reading your updates!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Oh, if you saw me probably 22/30 days of the month, you’d know I don’t wear any, hehe. I typically only put makeup on if I’m going out and doing something other than hiking (and only wear eyeliner, some eyeshadow and mascara – just a little something for the eyes). Hmm… this makes me think maybe I should write a post about beauty products. The idea has never seemed like something *I* would do, but maybe that’s exactly why I should! Thanks for sharing your experiences with it, Rebecca. :)

  • Alyssa @ Generation YRA October 1, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Oh my goodness, Cait – congratulations on your 5 year blogoversary! That’s incredible! Way to kick butt at working hard & surpassing your goal for income this month. It must feel great to set aside for taxes, add more to your savings, all while still traveling to Charlotte for your trip to FinCon – that balance is amazing! I am also incredibly impressed on how you only bought 3 items for the month, that’s fantastic. It just goes to show that there are so. many. things. we do not even need to keep living life to the fullest day to day.

    P.S. I’ve got a weird thing for saving in even numbers & other things in life too. :)

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

      The financial balance was great, but I don’t plan on repeating that (working hours-wise, that is). More to share next week (much of which you know about!) but the fall months are going to look much different, I think. A few months of lower earnings will be worth it… I hope! :S :) ;)

  • Jen@OurFrugalLife October 1, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Great work! And I hope that October allows for a little more downtime! I’m so impressed by your perseverance on your shopping ban. That’s wonderful! We’ve started a similar challenge just today for the month of October. We’re a family of 4 with two young kids so I’m not sure how we’re going to do, but we’re going to give it a try! If it goes well, we may try to continue it through November. Keep up the good work!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Yay! Oh, I can’t wait to hear how October goes for you guys, Jen. What do you think will be the most difficult part? Try to plan ahead for it now, even if that means just coming up with a little mantra you’ll tell yourself every time you think of spending money on something you don’t need. (And yes, October is going to include a lot more downtime!)

  • Cassie October 1, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I can’t believe it’s already been 5 years. That just blows my mind. Then again, look how far you’ve come in just 5 years! Congratulations Cait!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Blew my mind too, when I realized it! Thanks, hun! :)

  • Tori October 1, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Hi Cait – I feel you on the CAD dollar, it sucks!!

    I was just looking at my monthly expenses to see which re-occuring monthly purchases I could nix like you did, and one of them was my phone bill. Do you include your phone bill in your monthly expenses? As well as your internet? I know your job is very web-focused so it might not be possible for you, but I’m hoping to see if I can cut back so that even if I can’t get rid of them, at least they’re a little bit less!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Oh yes, my phone bill is going to be high in October (because I got a small plan that allowed me to use it in the states – another reason travelling down there isn’t great for the budget, haha). And I do include my internet, yes. I’ve gotten my bills down about as low as I think I can go… but they’re still higher than I’d like. The only good thing is I can write a portion of it off at tax time. If you haven’t already, Tori, I’d suggest analyzing your last 6 months of bills, seeing if there are cheaper plans available and calling to downgrade them. If the companies won’t help you, tell them you’re thinking about leaving and you might get a discount (even if it’s only for a few months, it all helps the bottom line, right?). Good luck!

  • Lori October 1, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Congrats on 5 years!! That is amazing, I have found much inspiration from your blog since I started reading a few months back.
    I am in for the no spending month of October! I just purchased some seed starter supplies yesterday (Sept. 30th) and have decided to start growing my own herbs from scratch, so instead of buying more things, I think I will grow things instead. Nothing enhances food like fresh herbs.
    Good luck to all who take on this challenge!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Woo hoo! Happy you’re going to join me, Lori. Is there anything I can do to help support you and the other challengers, this month? :)

  • Jillian October 1, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Awesome stuff! I love keeping up with your journey! So inspiring!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Thanks, Jillian!

  • SUSIE October 1, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Congrats on your Blogiversary!!!
    I love reading your spending updates :)

    PS.. I’m on day 121 of my shopping ban (1/3 of the way there!!)

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:11 am

      WOO HOO! <-- I just said that out loud, hehe. That's incredible, Susie! How are you doing? What's been the toughest part so far? Is there anything that's been surprisingly easy?

  • Maggie @ Northern Expenditure October 1, 2015 at 8:13 am

    What a big month for you! A five year anniversary! Only buying two things! Good job! It’s been so awesome to follow your journey. You continue to push yourself and stretch yourself… something I need to be better at. We’re traveling this month, so spend will be higher. And we’re almost out of toilet paper. :) But I’ll do my best to not purchase anything ELSE! (I ‘m NOT going to go without!)

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Haha, I think toilet paper is allowed! (I seem to have an endless supply over here – we can thank Costco for that.)

  • Amy October 1, 2015 at 8:32 am

    So inspirational! I’m trying so hard to really reduce my expenses as well. One area in my spending that is way higher than I think necessary are gifts for others. Have you written about how to approach the gift thing without coming across as being cheap and still gifting something nice? My family and I mostly don’t buy Christmas gifts for each other anymore but things like birthdays, weddings, baby showers – it just gets out of control.

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:15 am

      I haven’t written a lot about it yet, no, but I have something planned for a little closer to the holidays. My family doesn’t exchange birthday or Christmas gifts anymore (unless it’s something small we know the person would really love). But weddings, baby showers, etc. for friends – yes, it certainly gets expensive. I will be sure to write some of my thoughts/ideas about it soon, Amy!

  • Fervent Finance October 1, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Congrats on five years. Great job keeping expenses low, even with a FinCon trip!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Thank you!

  • P. October 1, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I am curious about how you got involved in developing online courses. Would you be willing to say more about that?

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 8:52 am

      I’ve written about it a few times before. I used to work full-time for the Ministry of Education, here in BC, and have been a contractor since I left. :)

  • Dawn October 1, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I am off to the states next week – and you words hit home for me. I was planning on shopping, and enjoying lots of dinners out and maybe even a massage or facial at an amazing spa! (it’s a girls trip, celebrating all of our 40th birthdays!) However, when looking at the exchange, and my $700 I saved for the trip turning into $500, well, I’ve scaled back. A $40 manicure instead of the $170 massage/facial, and maybe a pair of shoes or a new bag – but no clothes (and the sales at the outlet mall better be good for me to consider a purchase!) Also, we decided as a group to not eat out every meal. And due to the advice of a co-worker – I’ve loaded up my Starbucks card here – you can use it at par down south!

    Your blog is so relevant to my own life – I love it! Thank you Cait!

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 11:02 am

      I would also challenge you to only shop for something you really need, Dawn. Maybe that is a new purse or a pair of shoes! But I wouldn’t just spend money for the sake of being able to say “I bought them here or there”. If you buy something you’ll use regularly, you’ll be able to say “I searched for a while and finally found the perfect thing when I was on this trip”. Much more satisfying, than looking at something you rarely use and thinking “I wish I hadn’t bought that”. Enjoy your girls trip! :D

  • Jessica October 1, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I would love to do a shopping ban. We have 2 kids in school and I find that I am constantly spending money. There seems to always be something that needs to have money spent on it. Milk program at school, birthdays, sports activities….. ahhhhh!

    I think we could do this ban if we had some categories budgeted but not restricted… therefor not spending over what we plan….. anyone else with kids find this troublesome?

  • Revanche October 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Happy five years!

    I’m doing the same with our insurance policies. We literally only save two dollars per policy by paying in full BUT I don’t have to think about each policy more than once per renewal and that’s the best.

    “(Christmas is the day after Halloween, right? Oh, never mind – only stores think that here in Canada.) ”

    No, it’s actually 2 weeks before Halloween, according to US retailers. *eyeroll*

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Ha, so basically Christmas is starting… NOW!

  • Sarah Noelle October 1, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Congratulations, Cait! Five years is a long time to stick with anything — and you haven’t just stuck with it, you’ve grown it into something that is making a difference in a lot of people’s lives. I only discovered your blog about nine months ago, but it has been (and continues to be) a huge inspiration to me. Thanks so much for all your honesty in writing about yourself and your journey.

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Thank you for reading and being so active on the forums, Sarah! I appreciate everything you bring to the community. :)

  • Lisa @ Broke and Fixing it October 1, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I just have to say: I’ve always loved your end-of-month posts, but they have been especially intriguing since you’ve been self-employed. It’s so, so inspiring to see how well you’re doing for yourself and where exactly your income comes from. Thank you for being so transparent with us!

    Oh, and happy blogiversary! :)

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Of course! I’m going to talk a bit more about the numbers on Monday, as I want to be extra transparent going forward (including how weird it sometimes feels to post numbers!). :)

  • Travis @enemyofdebt October 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Happy Blogoversary, my friend. I started just a few months before….I’m not sure exactly when we “met,” but it must not have been too long after we both started blogging. I do remember one of our first conversations was on how expensive women’s razor blades are. :)

    • Cait Flanders October 1, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Haha! What a great/hilarious memory. Yes, I’m sure we’ve known each other for just about 5 years, anyhow… so happy friendship anniversary to us!

  • Meg October 2, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Congratulations on five years, Cait! I came across your blog right at the start and then I think you briefly deleted it or hibernated it? Either way, I came across it again when you’d decided to return and have been reading along ever since.

    August was a good month for my shopping ban, September less so. But October is a new month so back on that horse, eh?

    • Cait Flanders October 2, 2015 at 7:34 am

      Oh my goodness! You really have read it since the start then, Meg. Yes, I wrote from Oct 2010 to Mar 2011, then deleted it for 3 months and came back in Jun 2011 (maxed out). How cool you’ve been reading for that long. :) And yes, here’s to a new month!

  • Amanda October 2, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Happy bloggiversary! :)

    • Cait Flanders October 2, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Thank you so much, Amanda!

  • Debt Hater October 2, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Sounds like your hard working really paid off this month with how much you earned! And your expenses were super low even with paying your car insurance in full. It’s one of my least favorite expenses and now you don’t have to deal with it the rest of the year. Congrats on 5 years of blogging too, that’s a long time!

  • Maggie @ Creative Clarity October 4, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Way to go, Cait! Your September looks awesome. Congrats on all of your hard work.

    You were so smart to change your car insurance over so soon after you moved back. When I moved from the city to the Island, I didn’t even consider that insurance would be cheaper. After living here for nearly a year, I had to renew my insurance. Imagine my surprise when my rate dropped from $220/month to just over $100! I am still kicking myself for the wasted payments. :)

  • Renee October 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing all these details & congrats on your blogoversary! :) It’s inspiring to see what you can choose to go without every month. Keep at it!

  • Katie October 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Congrats on 5 years! Maybe you could do a clothing swap with a friend or family member for the hiking jacket/sweater?

  • Currentlylovingsimplicity October 8, 2015 at 1:17 am

    I also started a shopping ban for clothes in September, it is to last at least until Christmas. So much time saved by not going into stores/ looking online!
    Also: I just wrote a blog post about how you inspired my to live more frugally and my thoughts on that. I hope you get a chance to check it out!

  • Amelia October 13, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Nice one, committing to buying nothing new in October :) Might be a coincidence that October is actually Buy Nothing New Month? has a pledge, all sorts of info and a daily inspiring email for subscribers.

  • Tyler October 14, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Sounds like you had an awesome month of income there, I was explaining exactly what you do for income (because my goal is to do something similar in the coming months to years) and she as of yet doesn’t understand but she is now being supportive of it which is more than she was a few months ago. Anyway I look forward to many more great income posts like this, I think that now that you are working for yourself and able to spend more time on the things you love that they will become even better and draw an even larger audience which of course will increase your income.


  • Kate October 30, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Happy blog birthday! The US seems to think Christmas begins in September. -_- I cannot believe how early Hobby Lobby and Cracker Barrel put out their Christmas merchandise. LET ME ENJOY THE FALL FOR A MINUTE!