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~~ September No-Spend Challenge ~~ Our last week for this challenge...how are you doing?

post #1 of 459
Thread Starter 
This is a support thread to help you ~not spend your money~.

Everyone is welcome to join and you can start tracking your spending at any time. It doesn't have to be September 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 459
Thread Starter 
My name is Prudence and I'm a stay-at-home Mom with three young daughters. My husband is a teacher...so the money is not overflowing around here, but we have a good steady income and we get by just fine when I watch my spending.

My Goals: To become more conscious of where my money is going and to make decisions about when and why I spend it. If I'm not paying attention, I spend too freely and we get into trouble. I read "Your Money or Your Life" years ago and I'm trying to keep the principals of that book acting in my life.

My Plan: To have more days in the month where I don't spend any money than days where I do. This requires a lot of effort on my part. I literally have to choose not to spend the money...and work at other ways of entertaining myself and passing time.

I'm going to come on this thread daily and update my tallies...that keeps me conscious of what I'm doing. Thank you ladies for sticking with me all these months! : I couldn't do this without your support.
post #3 of 459
I'm Jessica, married to Chris who is deployed right now. We're expecting our first baby in mid-September. We're debt-free and saving (slowly but surely!) to buy a house. I'm also going to record my exercise on here.

No money spent: :
Necessary/planned spending: : (groceries, rent, baby stuff etc.)
Unnecessary spending: (such as eating out or a splurge on yarn)
Exercise: :


1 (rent)
2 (stocked up on food at Costco today so when my baby comes I won't have to go to the store as often) (lots of walking and "weight-lifting" at Costco, haha!)
3 (car insurance, power bill...ugh the first few days of the month always depress me because that's when the bills are auto-paid...bah!)
5 (as much as I could with a fetus sitting on my sciatic nerve, anyway...)
7 (got the last of my baby stuff, woohoo!)
8 (groceries & new tires for car...they were balder than my husband and snow season is coming!)
14 (groceries)
16 (nursing tops)
18 (lunch)
19 (farmer's market)
21 (visiting husband likes to eat out)
22 (herbs & stuff prescribed by midwife, lunch)
post #4 of 459
I'm Kim, and I am a SAHM to my 15mo daughter. : My husband is an engineer, and we are currently looking to buy a house. So, I am trying to cut expenses so we can save as much $$ as we can for moving costs, etc. We already managed to save enough for a typical 20% down payment in our area!! My goal is to look for areas where there is excess and cut back on it before we have mortgage payments.

I will start on Sept. 1. Can't wait!! I definitely need this accountability!

No money spent:
Necessary/planned spending: :
Unnecessary/unplanned spending:
post #5 of 459
Hi, I'm Pax! I'm currently a SAHM to our almost 4yr old and 7yr old. I'm in the process of looking for a part-time job 2 days a week (I'm a LPN) basically planning on having DD2 go to either daycare or do a nanny share 2 days a week while I work Per Diem at a place. Unless I can find a part (or even full time) job working at a Drs office, the hours at most drs offices would be similar to the hours my children are in school. Dh works full time for .gov and is out of state several months out of the year.

Currently we are doing well, we can meet all of our bills and have a savings but we are not full debt free. We do have some CC debt that is slightly less than what we currently have in savings. We could pay it off fully and maybe have $2k in savings but this makes DH and I both uncomfortable. We both grew up poor and we feel better having savings so my hope is to cut out alot of extras and pull our belts in to pay off our debt. My goal is to have our CC and my modest student loan ($8K) paid off within 18mo.

Sorry for the ramble.

DH and I have commited to write down all money we spend (we use cash mostly) we talk about large purchases but I think we have been nickle and dime-in ourselves. $1 here for a soda, $4 for a book etc.

Goals No shopping at goodwill. This will be hard for me as I normally go weekly but we don't need anything.

Keep a lean food budget this month $450. We stocked up (and couponed alot) this past month (august) I'd love to do even less than that amount.
No shopping online with the exception of my monthly order to a co-op site that is factored into the food budget.

Gas $120 for me. DH is usually around $250, but he has been working nights and driving my car (with the better MPG) so maybe able to save $ here

Limit eating out to 4x this month. We normally eat out 4-8x a month, we normally go to places that have a kids eat free and have a coupon for one of the adult's meals.

31st$57 on groceries.


2. $114 spent, $5 non-food items grocery, $20 b-day gift, $13 Post Office, $4 latte ( didn't need to buy this) $62 fall clothing for me ($145 budgeted), $ 10 waxing (part of my "fun" money)

3.Spent $4 for a Tea and Scone.

4.$4 Latte and Steamer, $19 Groceries, $17 Macdonalds for Dinner.

No Drive days 1/10
post #6 of 459
a. Who you are

Hi, I am Ruth, No-Spend Challenge junkie and SAHM to three homeschooled kids.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

We paid off our last CC in August, so September is our first month to set savings goals. My initial goal is $1100.

c. How you plan to get there

Stick to the grocery budget ($500) and hold on to my dollars!

September goals:

1100 savings
50 paint dining room
500 groceries
100 dd's birthday
post #7 of 459
I need this. I'm Leta, yet another SAHM to three kids- DSS, 11, who's here part time, DD, 3, and DS, 2.5 months.

At the beginning of this year, we had no debt other than our mortgage and my students loans. We paid cash for our new windows (which are so awesome! ) However, we drained our savings to pay for the windows.

Then, several things happened, and now we are back in cc/car debt.
In January, we got a natural gas bill of nearly $700. (Gas went up 25% during a frigid winter.)
Four weeks later, we had purchased a pellet stove, all the doohickies needed to install it, and enough pellets to see us through the rest of the winter for about $1400. We still had our huge heat debt to the gas co. to pay off for Nov-Feb, which we paid off this spring :, but we still owe $800 on the cc bill for the stove and pellets.
Both our cars died, within weeks of each other, so we bought a van.
We had unforseen travel and medical expenses, which went on cc's. (Thankfully, the medical is interest free until April.)
Plus, our property taxes went up, and our car insurance as well, because now we have collision on the new van. With the addition of the pellet stove, our homeowner's insurance went up, too, though only by $30/yr.
So it's been a butt-kicker of a year for us, financially. Our summer taxes ($575) and car insurance ($640) are due in September, and the only way we'll be able to pay them is because I squirreled a little money away and got a house payment ahead, so we don't have to worry about making a mortgage payment this month. So now is the time to start recording expenses! It's going to be a super tight month, so we need to do it out of pure survival.

My goals are to pay off the $800 we still owe on the pellet stove, and $400 of the medical expenses before February (when our tax return usually hits). Then, I plan on using our tax return to establish an emergency fund and pay off the rest of our cc debt. That way, we should be able to pay off the van completely in 2010, and use the following tax return to pay cash for a second car. That's the plan/hope.

My more immediate goal is to get the taxes and insurance paid for, then a winter's worth of pellets ($700), then about $250 in "investment" purchases (bulk stuff, gamma seal lids, etc.) and only then do Christmas shopping- and I need to have that stuff accomplished by Thanksgiving at the latest.

Another minor goal is to call the HR lady at DH's work, and get all the stuff set up to start a Health Savings Account.

I've been tracking our bill, gasoline, and household spending already, but not our daily incidental stuff, like mailing costs and a pop at the gas station, that sort of thing.

I've bullied DH into compliance, I need to go to Family Dollar today and buy him a memo book. He is definately the spendier of the two of us, so his participation is vital.

I just went through and completely refocused our household budget, leaving us with a theorhetical surplus of around $500 a month, and I want to see where it goes! We don't use debit cards- too many fees!- so it's cash and pen.

Augh, this was too long! If you read it all, thanks.

Anyway here's my codes:
Leta's No Spend Days:
DH's No Spend Days:
Leta's Spendy Days:
DH's Spendy Days: :
Neccesary Spending:
(My rule is that this catagory must be detailed, so I know what "neccesary" really means.)
post #8 of 459
Duuuuuude! I'm SO in this month. I promise. I'm sticking with it. I've said it many times before and always give up...not this time. I NEED to get back on track!!

a. Who you are
I'm Desiree, a mother of 2 (one who is starting K on sept. 9th!) and a homemaker who is semi-frugal but needs to get more "hardcore"!

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

Dh and I are doing the TMMO. We're currently on Step 3 (working on our 6-month emergency fund). Our goal is $8,000...once that is done we are going to start saving for a BIG down payment on a house. I reaaaaaally want to buy a house - but if i don't stick to my budget better it's not going to happen as quickly as I'd like - which is still not very quick (at least 5 years!). Our EF is currently at $1779.01/$8000.

c. How you plan to get there
Well, by putting every penny I can manage to scrounge up in our savings. I even picked up a penny on my walk today - lol - hey! It's money, right? I'm going to try to trim our food budget down a bit and use the things I have on hand - dried grains, beans, etc. and see how low i can go while still eating healthfully. Oh - and I need to stay away from Goodwill. Seriously.

Wish me luck! I try and try to do this but always seem to fail...I SO want a house of our own one day and need to get better with my money if it's going to happen!
post #9 of 459
Originally Posted by Paxjourney View Post
Goals No shopping at goodwill. This will be hard for me as I normally go weekly but we don't need anything.
Aaaah! I'm so with you on this one! Maybe we should PM eachother to "talk ourselves down" when we're tempted LOL!
post #10 of 459
a. Who you are
I'm Aileen, married and part time stepmom to 11 year old dd and 16 year old ds.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)
Pay off remaining car loan of 6523.63 and remaining cc 2k. Build up 6 month reserve savings (still need to figure out how much this should be).

c. How you plan to get there
Watch my spending like a hawk - groceries especially and unnecessary purchases. Have already trimmed cell phone bill, landline bill and cable. Already have automatic draft from paycheck going directly into savings account.

Budgeted spend
: Unnecessary spend
No spend

post #11 of 459
Thread Starter 
Leta's Spendy Days:
DH's Spendy Days: :
Leta, your key made me laugh out loud
post #12 of 459
1. Vow not to spend any money on unnecessary purchases.
I hereby vow not to spend any money on unnecessary purchases!
2. Come on here everyday and record your spending.
8.28 No spending

a. Who you are
Hi! I live in Rockport,TX on the Gulf coast. I work part-time doing taxes for a CPA, and I have two precious kiddos (3.5 DS & 9mo DD).

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)
This is my hubby's slow time of year, plus I won't be working from Nov 1st to Jan 1st (no taxes to do). But it looks like my husband has an oppurtunity to work in Kaneohe, HI during that time, which would mean a lot more $. The problem is the cash to get us all there. So the financial goal is to save enough of what little we're making now to go to Hawai'i for 2 months.

c. How you plan to get there
That's a good question. The answers I have now are to only spend money on bills, basic food, toilet paper, soap, and gas. Also, I've increased my hours at work from 15 hours every 2 weeks up to 18 hours a week. If it turns out there's enough work for me to do, I may start going in a few afternoons, too.

I guess I could try making a flexible budget... not sure what we usually spend, so it'd be mostly guesswork.... How do y'all make-up/fine-tune a budget?

Thanks for this thread!
post #13 of 459
Originally Posted by Crunchy*VT*Mom View Post
Leta, your key made me laugh out loud
I was just bein' honest...
post #14 of 459
I'll give this a whirl this month :

a. Who you are

Baraka, who just recently returned from living in China for a few months and is slowly re-acclimating into western culture. DH calls this "reverse culture shock".

We live practically debt free (except for student loans which are mild) and with a low (10-15,000$ year) and variable income. Both DH & I work part time and for ourselves. We have a 2 yo baby girl who is our heart.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

Quite literally & immediately, I am traveling to Taos, NM to study with Natalie Goldberg (one of my heros!) at the end of the month. I will take a writing retreat there. In China this summer, I completed my first book, which has been a huge process and milestone for me. This retreat in Taos will be my reboot after that experience to begin a new writing project.

Beyond this, I feel quite certain that I will be a very wealthy woman in this life. And I will create a lot of beauty and joy around me through this material wealth. This is already true, but I can really feel in my gut the truth of this for the future- like a supernova of what already exists.

c. How you plan to get there

I want to spend my money in September on this retreat in Taos, not on misc. junk throughout the month. So, I will track and spend only on necessaries and also a few conscious choices of luxury this month. Those are:
1. 2-3 bottles of wine (~$30)
2. 1 show (~$15)
3. Little bits of money for CVS coupon shopping each week (~$2 a week)

Also, a disclaimer that my grocery spending will likely be a touch higher than usual as I am beefing up our stockpile from having been away all summer. Also, I have self publishing expenses that have already been saved for. I won't track publishing costs, but I'll track everything else. DH is totally on board!

Looking forward to this exercise with ya'll!
post #15 of 459
I sort of fell off the wagon . . . not spending wise, just updating. By Oct 1st we need $1500 for our closing on our home. So I'm in for September. I'm going to take the planning approach by listing out what I expect I'm going to need to spend for vitals and Mia's 3rd birthday. I have vacation from work for a week. I plan on spending most of that time packing and getting rid of items(not shopping or buying more). Hopefully we'll be able to make a few bucks by getting rid of some big items not come with us.

$80 weekly for food & gas
$50 mia's birthday (present & chuckie cheese)
$1500 for house closing

4 food & gas 0/80
11 food & gas 0/80
18 food & gas 0/80
20 Mia's Birthday!
25 food & gas 0/80

food & gas 0/320
birthday 0/50
closing fund 200/1500
nothing purchased

Items Sold (0)
post #16 of 459

Count Me IN!

I'm Mara, a newly SAHM-- went on maternity leave when my son was born in May, and didn't go back . I'm still getting used to the idea of not earning my own income for the little stuff like lattes, plus I used my paycheck to get all the groceries. I'll use this month to practice getting in budgetary shape!

My goal is not so much to spend nothing, as to be MINDFUL of what I spend, why, and how. Trying to get groceries to go further, meals to go further, tanks of gas to go further. DH and I used to eat out at least twice a week; I'm trying to gradually get that down to twice a month. Goal for September is no more than 5 meals out. DH and I have a system called the Dollar Fairy: he gets cash from the ATM for his day-to-days, but he never puts one-dollar bills back into his wallet for some reason-- he folds them up and pockets them and they end up on the coffee table. I use them to buy frivolous little things (mostly coffee). My goal is to use ONLY dollar-fairy money for that stuff, and to squirrel some of it away.

I do need some new pants badly; my body is shaped differently than it was pre-baby for some reason :, so even though I'm only ~5 pounds over where I started, none of my pre-pregnancy stuff fits. My butt has disappeared and I need new flat-ass pants. So, I know that at some point I'll be hitting up the sale racks, looking for new jeans or cords. I need an oil change, too.

Basically, I am trying to ease my way into this: maybe October or November can be a truly no-spend month!

My key:

: is a no-spend day
: is a planned meal out
is planned spending of some kind
is negative spendy-ness, either a meal or other unnecesaries.
is something bought with the dollar-fairy's leavings
post #17 of 459
8.28 No spending
8.29 A few groceries & TP
post #18 of 459
post #19 of 459
We have a small trip that I didn't get the chance to save up for, so I want to really minimize spending this month to make up for the lack of planning. Outside of bills and various things that are in the budget, I tend to set aside $200 per week right now for food and spending money and the odds and ends that come up, small household things. I'd like to have that work out to be much closer to $100 per week this month.
post #20 of 459
Thread Starter 
My butt has disappeared and I need new flat-ass pants
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