Not spending for a month is not an original idea with me. I found an article in Reader’s Digest about it. I found blog posts about other people who have done a No Spend Month. My favorite example is over at Small Notebook where Rachel and her family participate in a No spend Month yearly.
The idea is fairly simple.
- Only spend money on essentials.
- Pay yourself first by stashing some money in savings.
- Pay all your bills on time, and only spend on groceries, and gas or transportation costs.
- If you have a full pantry, use this month to eat from your pantry so you have no food costs.
Learn more: How To Start A No Spend Month
I’d recommend hiding your debit/credit cards for the month and only use cash for purchases. We typically use a debit card and did in October which may have contributed to our high spending. I’m going to give cash only a try this month since I’ve never done it before.
The goal of a No Spend Month is to think about every purchase you make, and find a way around it if at all possible. I’m sure you’ll be surprised how much you save.
If you truly have a need, or an emergency, see if you can use Craig’s List or Freecycle to get what you need for free. Otherwise, see if you can make do. The drippy faucet in the bathroom in our house is serving as a plant waterer. (It’s 40 years old and the whole faucet, okay the whole bathroom needs replacing.) I am using a trash can to collect the water, and soaking my orchids in it. I figure this is a good interim solution to a pesky problem.
I also plan to make a list of things we wanted over the month and said “no”to purchasing. Like the 2 day rule for buying, if I didn’t still “need”it at the end of the month then I can live without it. I used this for ALL purchases.
Psychologically it helped to use my free time to do the things I kept meaning to do, but “didn’t have time”for. I spent more time cooking and baking, just being with my kids, and working on Halloween costumes. (it was October)
This time around I plan to work on some photo projects, scanning old photos with our new scanner, sorting through and selling DVDs, and books we no longer need, and of course spending more time with the kids.
We have 2 kid’s birthdays this month, (Aidan will be 3, and Emma will be 7) but I think I can get away with spending very little for them. And the almost 7yo’s party won’t be until February so I don’t have to worry about that expense this month.
Learn more: How To Host A Frugal Birthday Party
Our goal is to spend less than last time, when we spent $1,200. I’d like to be under the $800 mark.
I’m also going to experiment this month with once-a-month grocery shopping which will save me time and money. I’m planning that out this week and will go shopping next week for everything. The idea is to to hit several stores over several hours, and then only make 1 or 2 runs for milk and produce.
I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
So who wants to join me?
If you can’t do “no spend” this month, pick a month when you know you won’t have any large expenses.