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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › ~December No-Spend Challenge~ End o' the month. How did you do? What will you do differently next month/year? Did you learn anything about your...
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~December No-Spend Challenge~ End o' the month. How did you do? What will you do differently...

post #1 of 428
Thread Starter 
This is a support thread to help you ~not spend your money~.

Everyone is welcome to join and you can start any time. It doesn't have to be December 1st.

The plan is simple (although tough to execute):

1. Vow not to spend any money on unnecessary purchases.

2. Come on here everyday and record your spending.

We all record our spending in different ways. There are no rules. You record and update however you would like -- pick a way that will help you spend the least amount of money.


Please write an introductory message when you decide to join our thread. We would like to know:

a. Who you are

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

c. How you plan to get there

Good luck MDCers!! Keep that money in your wallet.

post #2 of 428
Thread Starter 
a. My name is Prudence. I am a SAHM with three daughters and my husband is a teacher. I've been participating in these no-spend threads for a loooong time and they have literally turned our financial ship around. Thank you so much, fellow no-spenders. :

Before I started keeping track with these threads, money just leeched out of our budget each month and I had no clue where it was going. I always felt like I didn't spend money anywhere -- I was the thriftiest person I knew -- but now I know EXACTLY where the money went at the end of the month. And that has helped me budget and control my own impulses so much. I owe a lot to this thread...which is why I try to keep it going each month. Being accountable helps me not spend.

b. My financial goal is to be completely debt free by December 15th. We have $985 left to pay off and then we will be FREE.

c. My plan:

1. Have 20 no-spend days in December
2. Come on here and record all uneccessary spending
3. Try to drive my car as little as possible. Gas = money
4. Find other ways besides shopping to keep myself entertained.
5. Go through our house and declutter -- when I do that I realize how much stuff we already have (a lot) and I'm not nearly as tempted to go out and buy more stuff to add to it.

My previous months:

May 2007 = 19 no-spend days with $265 in unecessary spending
June = 19 /$394
July = 15 /$580
August = 19 /$451
September = 22 /$103
October = 20 /$203
November = 19 /$456
December = Fell off the wagon
January = 20 /$216
February = 21 /$190
March = 24 /$189
April = 19 /$402
May 2008 = 22 /$206
June = 27 /$23 My best ever! Had a baby this month
July = 20 /$274
August = Fell Off the Wagon
September = 15 /$790
October = 18 /$909
November = 20 /$360
post #3 of 428
I'm in!

a. I'm Grace. I'm 29, partnered, with no kids and a lot of very expensive animals!

b. I'm working hard to get out of debt. I've paid over $6,000 on my CC in 2008 and I am working towards having is paid off completely by this spring. I'm also the major breadwinner in my family, so I have a lot of financial obligations.

c. I had my best ever no-spend month last month, so I plan to stick with what is working--focus not so much on never shopping as on keeping within budget and not buying things I don't need. December is hard, but most of my gifts are already collected, and I've vowed to only give handmade and thrifted gifts this year, so my costs shouldn't be too out of control. I've also been putting quite a bit of money into my little Etsy shop, but I've started making sales there as well, so I am hoping in December I might actually see a profit.
post #4 of 428
Last month went pretty well for me, I really cut down on my personal spending! I mean DRASTICALLY! But I didn't hit my savings goal.....maybe this month will be better in that regard.

a. I'm a 24 year old married Mama to a fourteen month old.

b. Major personal financial goals:
Begin a small personal savings, sketch out lists of needed/expected personal bills and expenditures before the month begins and stick to it!

c. (Will come back for this)

Expected Personal Income: $50 in designated allowance, miscellaneous eBay and CL money making.....probably a survey or two.

Holiday Shopping: We are making all of our presents or gifting unused items that we have on hand to others. $10 set aside for shipping items out of the area.

My goals this month: 25 no-spend days
25 Eat-at-home days
Put $1 a day in the bank.
post #5 of 428
a. Who you are:
Alison, DP to J, Mama to an amazing two year old T, and another baby on the way early in February. I am a WAHM and a full time distance education student.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals):
We are following Dave Ramsey. We are currently working on our baby emergency fund which will be complete in the next week, and then on to paying off debt!

c. How you plan to get there:
Follow my goals and keep plowing ahead with our plan.

My Goals
1. Half the month with no spend days: 0/16
2. Unplanned spending 5 or fewer days: 0/5
3. Emergency Fund funded/not spent from: $0/$168.02 added, 0/31 days with no spending
4. Pay off the next debt in our snowball: $0/$225 paid off
5. Tim Hortons 3 or fewer days: 0/3
6. Buy our freezer without credit and come in under budget

: No spend on anything
: Necessary/budgeted spending
: Unnecessary/unbudgeted spending
post #6 of 428
a. Jenny, SAHM to one almost five year old little girl & 22 weeks pregnant with a new little bundle.

b. My main goal is to pay for the midwife & birth supplies without touching our savings.

c. Stop eating out so much, keep out of the "danger" stores, declutter & organize the stuff I already have.
post #7 of 428
post #8 of 428
I would love to join, things are getting tight for DH and I and this is exactly what I need!

a. I'm Kriket, I'm 24 married to my 23 yo DH and 16 wks pregnant with our first. I live in SW Ohio, which is a very low CoL area, so I am lucky for that. This is kinda do-or-die normally we make ends meet by working overtime, or 2 jobs, but because we don't have insurance and had to go on state aid, we can't work any more or lose our health care. Stupid huh?

b. I would like to spend NOTHING all month. I really can't afford anything that isn't budgeted. I also want to get my food storage back on its feet. I had to move it out what is going from the office to the baby room so its all over the place right now. It looks like a grocery store exploded in my house.

I would like to pay off another bill, probably the CC that we went on our 1st anniversary trip with. December is a three paycheque month, and we budget for 2 paycheques, so, the 3rd should pay off that CC.

c. I don't know. I know its not good to not have a plan, but we are only really spending our money on fast food So, if I plan ahead, I can cut that out completely.
I am also going to better organize our eating. DH is a mess because he's very picky. I am going to try and find a freezer, maybe xmas money? That way I can "package" his prepackaged foods for him and save a little at the grocery.

No spend
budgeted spend ON BUDGET!
Spending :

12/1 12/8 12/15 12/22
12/2 12/9 12/16 12/23
12/3 12/10 12/17 12/24
12/4 12/11 12/18 12/25
12/5 12/12 12/19 12/26
12/6 12/13 12/20 12/27
12/7 12/14 12/21 12/28
post #9 of 428
I'm in!

a. Who you are

I'm Brisen, a sahm (kids in sig), and we're homeschooling.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

My goals are pretty broad right now -- cutting down on frivolous purchases, decreasing my monthly expenditures so we can put more money towards our debt & home improvements

c. How you plan to get there

largely by planning better and going shopping less frequently, as well as trying to broaden my idea of "frivolous" I'm cooking from scratch more & relying on my pantry too. Rethinking how I do things at home so I can make fewer purchases. Taking the time to look for things used instead of new.

Christmas will be a challenge -- I tend to leave things to the last minute & then overspend. But I did well in November & I'm going to stick with it!
post #10 of 428
Ongoing thanks for keeping this thread going Pru; the inspiration, encouragement, and ideas I gather here have saved us countless dollars!

a. Who you are...
My name is Kim; I am a SAHM/PT WAHM to 2 great little kids. DH works FT and also goes to school FT.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)...
1. Keep the budget in the black + stick to it.
2. Replenish emergency savings.
3. Continue to hit the debt snowball hard.
4. December - Break $230K in debt paid off since we began to snowball in Feb. 2008.

c. How you plan to get there...
1. INCREASE income
2. Sell/donate unneeded items
4. No more late library materials!
5. ORGANIZE! Majority of overbudget/frivolous spending can be prevented with improved organization.
6. Exercise: feeling good = decreased emotional spending

* Less than $50 in frivolous spending: month to date $0
* At least 25 days (no spend or spending w/in budget): 0/25
* NO library fines: month to date $0
* Stay within grocery/eating out budget: $0/$600
* ORGANIZE/declutter (lack of organization = spending): 0/25
* Exercise (feeling good = decreased emotional spending): 0/25
* Meal plan created (I REALLY want to develop the habit of meal planning!):

Previous months:
June '07: 20 days; $210.42 frivolous; $519.54 groceries; $117.55 eating out
July '07: 16 days; $325.62 frivolous; $825.40 groceries; $112.84 eating out
Aug. '07: 23 days; $144.47 frivolous; $593.09 groceries; $643.07 eating out
Sept. '07: 22 days; $128.37 frivolous; $598.19 groceries; $121.48 eating out
Oct. '07: 25 days; $139.55 frivolous; $472 groceries; $129.55 eating out
Nov. '07: 25 days; $192.50 frivolous; $608 groceries; $101 eating out
Dec. '07: 28 days; $55.20 frivolous; $503 groceries
Jan. '08: 27 days; $19.90 frivolous; $555.85 groceries/eating out
Feb. '08: 18 days; $131.80 frivolous; $668 groceries/eating out
March '08: 28 days; $19.40 frivolous; $500 groceries/eating out
April '08: 24 days; $39.16 frivolous; $768.65 groceries/eating out
May '08: 21 days; $53.41 frivolous; $920 groceries/eating out, 23 Organize/Declutter days, 26 Exercise days
June '08: 21 days; $137.20 frivolous; $621 groceries/eating out, 17 Organize/Declutter days, 23 Exercise days
July '08: 20 days; $88.44 frivolous; $892 groceries/eating out, 15 Organize/Declutter days, 20 Exercise days
Aug. '08: 21 days; $286.33 frivolous; $740.81 groceries/eating out, 27 Organize/Declutter days, 21 Exercise days
Sept. '08: FIDO
Oct. '08: 27 days; $18 frivolous; $769.02 groceries/eating out, 21 Organize/Declutter days, 25 Exercise days
Nov. '08: 23 days; $55 frivolous; $1,178.77 groceries/eating out, 24 Organize/Declutter days, 14 Exercise days
post #11 of 428

I'm in!

Hi all

a. Who you are
I'm Sarah, a SAHM to P (5), L(2) and G (6 mth).

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

I need to stick to my budget. In time, I may be able to cut it (that would be great) but first, I need to learn to stick to it. This is essential if I am going to continue to SAH.
I live in the UK so I will post my amounts in £ rather than $, to help me keep a track of my budgets. My aim being to meet my monthly budgets, which are:

Petrol/diesel for two cars: £220
Food: £75 per week therefore £330 p/mth
Clubs/activities: £31 p/mth playgroups, DH £12 p/mth,exercise for me £10 p/mth, family activities on weekends etc £15 p/mth
Miscellaneous: £20 p/mth (eyebrow waxing, haircuts for us all, school trips/snacks etc)

c. How you plan to get there
I don't have any extra in the kitty for Dec so I need to get the extras out of my regular budget. This means cutting down on groceries for regular days, driving less, only doing playgroup with the kids 1 or 2 times a week, no impulse buys and eating out of the pantry more. We will be spending a lot on gas when we visit my ILs after Christmas so to keep within budget I need to do the least possible driving before then. :
My DH is a bit of a nightmare where all of this is concerned but I don't have the energy to tackle that just now!
post #12 of 428
I seriously NEED this thread! Hopefully I can stay caught up this month!

I'm Kris, SAHM to Toby (10 months). I'm trying to build up our baby emergency fund by not spending frivolously and by selling what I can on ebay. We are $60K in debt and I swear it's my fault because I spend so much on crap all the time. So!

At least 10 no spend days

No random purchases over $20 without thinking it over for at least a day first. This is huge for me. Yikes.

oh and MEAL PLAN. I think I need to make some meals and stick them in the freezer - we eat out all the time and it's really really bad. Only eat out 5 times in Dec.

That's all I got
post #13 of 428
I am Allyson SAHM to my two boys 6 and 20 mths. My husband is active duty military and we live in Italy.

I am committing to for 30 days (to start) no extra spending. Paying only bills and buying groceries.

I have come up with a rough idea about meal planning and cutting grocery costs to start. Trying not to drive as much. Not spending ANY money that isn't for a bill or groceries.
post #14 of 428
OMG, do I need this.

a. Who you are:

I'm a SAHM to a three-year old son. My DH works full-time and it seems like his job is pretty secure, but I'm a bit freaked out by the economy in general. Everyone who knows me would say that I'm SUPER frugal, but lately the money has just been pouring out and I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not even sure where it's all going. I need to get back on track. Desperately.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals):

I want to stop the crazy spending and be happy with what we have. I don't expect that I'll actually spend NOTHING this month but I would love not to be buying so much random stuff that I start losing track and figure "the hell with it" like I have been.

c. How you plan to get there:

I'll report here every day. I will STOP USING THE CREDIT CARD (except for gas -- I pay at the pump so I won't have to get my son out of the car). And I'll keep my eye on the prize, which is saving up money for a bunch of home improvements next year.

Good luck everyone!
post #15 of 428
I am Amy and I am a SAHparent to my 2 dds. We live a pretty frugal lifestyle and contribute to our retirement very well. Before the crash, we had well over 6 figures and and now we are right under that. That will recover within a few years and be fine since we are not touching this for another 30 years. But its on our mind anyhow!
We live a debt free life w/ exception to our mortgage. We would like this paid off within 15 years instead of 29.
To get to this, I will eventually go back to work plus we will be done the major remodeling on our home within the next 3 years which will free up funds.

Goals this month:
-Pay for any xmas expenses w/ cash

-keep grocery costs under $400.00 this includes my produce and dairy delivery every week. 331.73/400

-Feed my freezer

no spending at all today
: eat from what I have on hand at home

1 & :
2 paid preschool tuition
3 produce and dairy delivery $40.82; gas fill up $27.72;
4 $37.20 for groceries, great meat sale too! $30 for a 2nd hand gift that is perfect!
5 Payday groceries @ TJs $33.35
6 Mortgage paid today. Lunch in our downtown area for the holiday jubilee $17.69, advent wreath candles 4.16
7 Church $11 :
8 Target run $44.25; Grocery $86.79
9 & :
10 produce and dairy delivery $40.82; dinner out before taking DH to airport
11 DH's MC due today, paid in full like always :
12 $6.41 happy meal run; Kohls $61.26
13 $58 for xmas cards and stamps; $40 sitter :
14 Church $10; $1.40 at walgreens :
15 & :
16 & :
17 produce and dairy delivery $34.68 :
18 Grocery run: $99.13; gas $18.72
19 Payday & :
20 My MC due today paid in full; birthday lunch for me! $36.00
21 & :
22 lunch out w the girls $20.74
23 & :
24 My birthday; $20 gas; $19.94 lunch out; $26.88 gift for me @ musuem;
25 & :
28 Church
30 produce and dairy delivery $40.82
post #16 of 428
Thread Starter 
Welcome newcomers! We are glad to have you : and it is always nice to see our regulars back again.

Originally Posted by kriket View Post
I am also going to better organize our eating.
Good luck Kriket! That seems like a very doable goal. I hope you are able to get that freezer.

Originally Posted by Brisen View Post
trying to broaden my idea of "frivolous"
I need to do this too! Last month I started just counting Starbucks coffee runs as "part of dealing with life" and I need to record them again. I don't know when I started thinking $4 for a cup of coffee was necessary. This month I'm cracking down on myself.

Originally Posted by FeelingBlessed View Post
Ongoing thanks for keeping this thread going Pru; the inspiration, encouragement, and ideas I gather here have saved us countless dollars!
Awww...and thanks to you too, Kim. Your presence and advice has saved me a bundle.

Originally Posted by Krisis View Post
We are $60K in debt and I swear it's my fault because I spend so much on crap all the time.
Yep. That's me. Been there. You have a great plan and I think you'll be able to do it.

Originally Posted by AllysonB View Post
I am committing to for 30 days (to start) no extra spending. Paying only bills and buying groceries.
Whew Allyson -- that is a HUGE goal. I've been doing this for a long long time and only one person I know (Carla -- she's a hero) has been able to go the entire month without spending extra. I'm not saying you can't do it -- I would love to see another person do that too! But please stick with it, even if you aren't able to meet that goal. The really hard core no-spenders usually aim for 20 days. Recognize that just ~recording~ your spending is progress, because then you know what to work on.

Originally Posted by New Mama View Post
I don't expect that I'll actually spend NOTHING this month but I would love not to be buying so much random stuff that I start losing track and figure "the hell with it" like I have been.
That is what we are all aiming for. Welcome! You are going to do great!

Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
Back for more! Will post after I close out november! :
Welcome back for round two, Amy!
post #17 of 428
Count me in!!

a) I'm Pam... SAHM to 2 little girls, married a wonderful DH who is presently in his last year of school.

b) Our goal is to not have to borrow any more money to get us through till April when DH can get a full time job. Our budget is tight, but we can do it as long as no extra money is spent!!

c) Plan is to basically keep to our budget, and nothing extra. I do have a little money set aside for xmas gifts, but I am making most of the gifts this year. Make a lunch for DH every day. Encourage DH to ride his bike to school everyday. Absolutely no, and I mean no meals out!!

As for no of days that I don't spend any money... I am going to start out small... 15 days I hope will be doable for us.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a good start to the month of no spending!!
post #18 of 428
OK. Last month I spent $330 of my goal of $150, and I had 16 of my goal of 16 no spend days.

This month's goals are $250 flexible spending (need to give myself some room to finish with Christmas gifts) and 17 no-spend days.
post #19 of 428
Well, November no spend challenge really opened my eyes. It is the first I actually completed with some accuracy. My dp doesn't not tract his spending, so I can't really account that in our budget. Don't ask.

So, now I have a baseline so I can make some more concrete goals.

I work so I'd like at least 1 no drive day a weekend. Well, actually I anticipate doing better then this as we have several days off for the holidays - but that would be a standard monthly goal. My December monthly goal will be double that so, 8.
No Drive Goal = 8

I accomplished 7 no spend days in Novemeber. I think its a good goal, but I do realize its the total amount spent not how many days I don't spend.
No spend day goal = 10

I do have a monthly grocery budget of $450 a month in my financial plan. So, even though its Christmas time I'm going to use that as my guide
Grocery Budget = $450

We do have a dining out budget of $60 a month (now this a combined amount between my dp and I and since I don't know how much he spends when I'm not around, I'm going to cut that in half)
Dining out = $30

I'm still trying to figure out our christmas budget. We have only purchased our son's gifts so far. We do have a gift budget of $2160 for the year and christmas is a huge part of that. I'd say our total xmas budget is $1k. We spent $150 on our DS - so, lets say we have $850 left. I want to cut that down to $600 due to our job insecurity. So, I'd say we have $450 left.
Christmas budget = $450

Our entertainment budget is $45 a month -- I might start up netflix for the winter, we probably go out to the movies for a date as well. Haven't had one in about a year.

Lastly is an unnecessary spending budget or misc. I don't have one figured out, so I'm thinking $50 sounds good and doable. Especially since I am self indulging right now which isn't the best time. My job is in question so of course, I am spending more on fast food and personel enjoyment items (pedicure, etc.)

I forgot a gas for me budget. My work pays for my gas Monday - Fridays (unless I'm on vacay or holidays) -- so my personal budget is low (wish I could say the same for DH). I do plan on doing more driving then normal this month (I am off an significant amount of days that won't be covered by work) so my gas budget for December will be $60 -- typical months I should count on $30 maybe? this is a good exercise to find out what I truly spend.

So, to summarize my goals for December are:

No Spend Days = 10
No Drive Days = 8
Grocery budget = $450
Gas = $60
Dining out = $30
Christmas budget = $450
Entertainment budget = $45
Unnecessary spending = $50
post #20 of 428
Thread Starter 
Welcome Pam!

I just checked my calendar and I'm setting my no-drive goals pretty low this month. There are only four days when I can skip driving -- plus it is snowing heavily right now and once we have a lot of snow on the ground I start wanting to drive more.

But I'm keeping my no-spend goal relatively high because I've already bought all the presents for Christmas and I'm ~~really~~ motivated to be out of debt by the 15th.

15.. Payday and Credit Card Payment Day

My Goals for this month:
0/20 No Spend Days
0/4 Let the Car Rest :
0/$985 Paid to Credit Card
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › ~December No-Spend Challenge~ End o' the month. How did you do? What will you do differently next month/year? Did you learn anything about your...