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My Selective Spend Summer


We have big dreams and goals. Big dreams and goals that we only sort of cared about before. But now, we want these big dreams and goals to give Emma the best life possible. To give US with her the best life possible. And some of those big dreams and goals are very expensive – more expensive than we are ready for in 2023, but aren’t completely out of sight for the near future. So in order to help us get there, I am implementing what I’m calling a “Selective Spend Summer.” I’ve tried to do “no spend” challenges in the past (based on this book that I absolutely loved), but I think there have been 2 main reasons that they have worked out – too restrictive and no accountability. So that’s why I’m changing to be “selective spend” rather than “no spend.” Because let’s be real, I’m not giving up my iced lattes. The $5 once a week or so that I spend isn’t going to make a difference. But you know what might? The $200 on dresses that I spend just because it’s a cute dress. Or clothes for Emma – girl is STOCKED for the summer. The last thing she needs is another cute dress (although this one will be most challenging).


And as far as accountability, well – the internet is a pretty good place to be accountable. People like to call you out on your shit every chance they get so why not put it out there and have people call you out? That’s something that I need and don’t mind. Tell me I bought something not on my list. I’ll return it. Tell me to cook instead of taking my fat behind to McDonalds. I don’t need it.

So here’s my plan. Below is a list of things I am allowed to spend money on this summer. And then each month, I am going to post about my savings. I’ll do a separate post here with a starting point about how much I usually spend on certain categories, and then each month I will do a comparison. And we’ll see how much I save each month and what I do with those savings.

What: Selective Spend Summer

When: June 1st – September 1st


Allowable Expenses

-Dinners/plans with friends: we believe that experiences and time spent with friends and family is invaluable to our mental health, and will 9/10 times choose plans with friends over obligations/chores

-Gifts: We have a wedding, a baptism and a couple of birthday parties this summer that we’ll attend

-Personal care products that have run out: basically, rebuys of the necessities. Makeup falls under this category too. But no new makeup, just my tried and trues.

-Health: My monthly pilates membership and AJ’s golf this summer. Golf and pilates are our workouts and mental health savers and time with friends, so we feel that those are very important expenses to continue. I also need a filling and a night guard because I’m grinding my teeth, and insurance only covers a portion of those two things so I need to pay for the rest

-Weekly groceries and necessities: pretty self explanatory. Groceries, formula, diapers, etc. There are a few things from farmer’s markets I will want to buy that aren’t on our usual grocery list, like flowers, but I do plan to cut back on how OFTEN I purchase those items.

-Items on “The List”: I keep a running list in my bullet journal and on a Pinterest board of items I am saving up to buy. As of May 29th, I will stop adding to that list and only purchase current on list items IF i find the exact item I want. “The List” is below:

Home Decor Fashion

-Plaid curtains for our basement -Soludos black wedges

-Bird feeder for our garden -Ralph Lauren white hat

-Material Kitchen reboard cutting boards -Sezane Leontine jumper

-Art frames for basement -Anine Bing hoodie

-Sink accessories -Clare V clutch

-Material Kitchen reboard cutting boards -Anine Bing Dana bag

-Art frame for bedroom -LL Bean Boat & Tote bag

-Living room pillow covers -Prada Saffiano large bag

-Door stops to prevent dings in walls -Long plaid teddy coat

-Fan/Light for Emma’s room -Navy blue dress

-Rosy Soil indoor potting soil -Polo ID Leather Satchel

-Brass double handle vase -Blue & white swimsuit

-New plant for coffee table -Black Mules

-Plant for Emma’s nursery -Neutral mules

-Dog embroidered pillow for living room couch -Striped oxford shirt

-McGee & Co feminine figure -Summer clutch

-Dissh black linen dress

-Quince sweaters

-Dress shirts for AJ

Personal -RL Quarter zip pullover

-Heretic perfume and/or candle (Dirty vanilla) -Skims underwire bra

-Paravel suitcase in carry on size -Wrap sandals

-Glow botanics heating flaxseed pad -Green linen button down

-Higherdose sauna blanket -Thin belts

-Seam ripper -Brown shoes for AJ

-Gua sha

-Oil for lymph massage

-Levenger accessories for AJ

-New water bottle & lunchbox for AJ


Now, I realize some of the items on this list are out of the realm of possibility for this summer, more than likely (the Prada bag for example), but if the perfect one on the Real Real comes around, ya never know!


Unallowable expenses

-No overnight vacations trips. We were considering taking an overnight trip this summer, but we have bachelor/bachelorette parties this fall and a trip to Florida in the new year, so we thought it was best to skip out on any overnight trips this summer. Plus, a weekend away can easily cost $500+ and there’s no where we are DYING to go just for a weekend right now

-Personal care products: I am notorious for buying something during a Sephora sale because I want to try it. Welp, not this summer. Like I said above, only the tried and trues and only what runs out! Plus, I go makeup free so often in the summer while we’re on the water, so I really don’t NEED anything new.

-Health: This also goes for a few low-tox/health related items. We are really focusing on our health lately, and the above list shows what we really want to invest in outside my pilates habit, but that’s really it.

-Fashion/Clothing: Clothes are probably the number one place where I spent my money. I am easily influenced when it comes to trends and trendy pieces, so I really need to cut back and I think I will save a couple hundred dollars a month. Plus, I’ve really been working on my personal style this spring which I think will help. And I’ll probably do a whole post on finding my style this summer too. This goes for Emma as well. Like I mentioned above, girl has PLENTY of clothes for summer. I do NOT need to buy her anything new – no matter how cute it is.

-Home Décor: our house is pretty close to “done.” I really really really don’t need another pillow or blanket or knick knack. There are only a handful of things on my list above that I have been looking for for a while. I think this is another place I will save a significant amount of money.

-Groceries/food: This one is going to be a bit controversial, I’m sure. And one that I think might be the one to evolve the most over the summer. A couple of things AJ and I are trying to be very conscious of this summer is the amount of unnecessary food we purchase at Farmers Markets. We LOVE a good farmer’s market and we LOVE to support local. But so often, we overbuy. For example, we’ll buy our weekly sourdough bread but then find a cheesy bread we want to try at the farmers market and one loaf goes bad. Not only did we waste food, but we wasted our money too. And unfortunately, this happens to us A LOT over the summer. We’re also reevluating the amount of meat we consumer and purchase. We subscribe to ButcherBox but are looking to adjust our delivery because we have a freezer FULL of meat. And a lot of red meat that we don’t really eat anymore. Along with farmer’s markets, we also really want to evaluate how often we eat out just the two of us. And I’m not talking about a date night at a restaurant or dinner with friends, I’m talking the “ I don’t feel like cooking so let’s just run through mcdonalds” nights. This is also part of a larger goal we have, that I’ll talk about in another post, but we think this will also help us save a lot of money.


While I think this is a really solid start, I’m sure it will slightly evolve over the summer, but that’s why I hope to do monthly updates. What’s working, what’s not and how we’re doing overall.

Wish me luck!

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Welcome to my corner of the internet, where I'm (real time) navigating a lifestyle change after a pretty traumatic 2020. Stay a while and watch the Real Life Schmidt unfold and learn a little bit more about me, my husband and our life in small town Wisconsin. So happy you're here!

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