I want to try a no-spend month: how to get started - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to try a no-spend January-- just gas and groceries, with the hope that I can work through the freezer and pantry to limit grocery spending. Any tricks for making it work? I've not done this before.  How often do you do a no-spend month? I was wondering if I could do one every other month or so. Any experience there?


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#2 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 06:26 AM
 
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Ha! I was just thinking about this myself-making my menu plan and stuff.  I don't know.  I just typically try to stay out of Target and that usually keeps me out of trouble :)

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#3 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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I love a no-spend challenge, but have slipped away from them recently.  When they have worked well, they have worked really, really well.  I want to do another one in January (and Feb and March) and here is what helps me:

 

 

 

Work around times when I know I will have to be spending money, birthdays, holidays, travel.  I don't bother doing no-spend challenges in the months before Christmas...I just get frustrated and give up. 

 

Work with the weather and play outside as much as possible.  Garden, bicycle, take walks, hang laundry, play in the snow, be active and busy and happy with whatever is happening outside. 

 

Take advantage of time when I know dh will be out of town.  He travels a lot for work and spends none of our money when he is gone.  His expenses are all covered by the job.  So, I love these times when I am literally the only one in the house spending money and I can track every penny. 

 

No Redbox, no Kindle downloads.  We go the library or we borrow from friends.  I am a wanton glutton for books and can rack up impressive Amazon bills.   redface.gif

 

Know your weaknesses and plan for them.  We love to go out for ice cream, so I plan at least one or two ice cream trips for the month.  

 

Keep a tidy house.  Not only does cleaning keep me busy, I often come across art supplies, unfinished projects, fun things to do.  

 

Play "how-low-can-you-go".   Can I set the thermostat a few degrees lower?  Can I use 1/4 less laundry detergent?  Can I use a bit less shampoo?  Where is the threshold for household items...how little can I use and still get the job done?  This helps me reset my mental status and what I think of as 'needs'.  

 

And I am totally in for January!!!!!!

 

 


Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves

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#4 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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I was thinking of doing something a bit different for 2012.  My own version of 'I'm not buying it'.  Meaning absolutely not buying.  Granted my kiddo is older and doesn't need much (he's 11 and we live in where its HOT).  I have  a set grocery budget, we have crafts coming out the wazoo.  The zoo membership is paid for, the science center will be purchased before the year end.

 

I think with a bit of determination I can keep on track and make some serious progress with this.   I've been active in the declutter and organizing challenges.  I've done the crafting challenges and the compact challenge.  I'm ready to do this.

 

*I know it will be awful because I have a yarn and book addiction (I have a NOOKCOLOR and LOVE IT).  

 

Grocery and bills are allowed.   Thats about it.


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#5 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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I think this would be awesome.

Honestly I think its helpful to come back to a place where shopping is NOT entertainment. A place where my children don't get ANY new toys! (Which in truth are a HUGE waste of money!)

I'm excited and I am hoping to get DH in on it. He spends A LOT.


Living a life like no one else, with my husband, and all our children
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#6 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 08:58 PM
 
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I want to do this too.  I've actually been having a good no spend week.  Bought groceries at the market on saturday and haven't spent a dime since except for a dollar on the bus today.  I'm making a whole bunch of presents from stuff we already have, packing lunches, cooking all our meals.... feels good.

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#7 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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I like the no-spend threads... I get a lot out of them, but I agree with RuthieGirl, trying to do no spend in december just wouldn't have worked.  So, back on the wagon in January.

 

A couple of things that really helped me:

 

-written budget with DH.  At first he had a "sure, whatever honey" attitude toward it, but now it's a good discussion every month.  Having everyones input and buy in is really important.

 

-meal planning: we saved about $200 of our $500 usual grocery expenses the first month we did this, and that was without trying to save or be frugal at all.  There's a lot less temptation to go out and eat if you have a plan for what you eat every night, you have what you need to make it, and there's variety built in.  For us it works best if there's meals that take less than 1/2 hour to make and we have leftovers after each meal for at least one other meal.  Now, we also try to take advantage of loss leaders, etc. and we save even more.  But the big savings was just in that first month -- less waste, less impulse eating out.

 

-pocket money: we withdraw a certain, small amount every month and keep it in a kitchen drawer.  We both carry $5 in our pockets... and that's all.  So, if you get caught without your packed lunch because you forgot it, you can get something to tide you over, but you aren't tempted to get more than that $5 worth. 

 

-really, really good coffee at home: we roast our own every day or every other day, and what we make is so much better than the coffee you buy at Starbucks.  And cheaper than the cheapest stuff at the grocery store.  Saves tons of money each month.  There's no temptation for a latte.

 

-FlyLady:  just started this, but it's really helped make home a welcoming place where you want to hang out. Just like meal planning helped avoid the urge to go out to eat, clean house helps avoid the urge to just escape which, if you're anything like us, winds up inviting spending.  Also, because the house is usually presentable (I can't claim to have reached FlyLady-dom, but it's a lot better than it was), we can have people over when they ask us to go out to dinner with them.

 

Library: Yeah, obvious.  But I used to spend hundreds of dollars every month on books.  A couple of months ago discuvered interlibrary loan, so even the ones they "don't have" they can get.  Plus our local library has a ton of DVDs and videos.

 

 

Anyway, for me, going no-spend (=budgeted spending in order to be long term), because I needed DHs buy in, was all about making the alternative no spend thing pleasant.

 

Best,

Anka


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#8 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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I have to stay offline--I do most of my damage online. :(

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#9 of 13 Old 01-03-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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This is a great idea!  I need to do this!  I agree with OliveGirl-- I do most of my damage online!  I rarely go into stores here in town, unless I need something (pet store, grocery store, post office) but online...I'm so weak! Especially since I sit in front of a computer all day for work and love to browse blogs on my breaks...there is just SO MUCH temptation there, from cute clothes to gift ideas to awesome little things or craft projects that I just do.not.need!  


I am currently having morning sickness and so can't promise to not eat out at all this month, but other than that I am going to commit to not buying anything but groceries and paying bills this month.  I've been so tempted to start thrift-shopping for baby stuff, but it's really way to early, so this is a good incentive to stay out of the shops and offline!


 Married to my sweetie and enjoying life with our fabulous dog.  Expecting #1 in August 2012!!!!

 

 
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#10 of 13 Old 01-05-2012, 07:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnkaJones View Post

-really, really good coffee at home: we roast our own every day or every other day, and what we make is so much better than the coffee you buy at Starbucks.  And cheaper than the cheapest stuff at the grocery store.  Saves tons of money each month.  There's no temptation for a latte.



I'm curious about this - how do you do it?  Which beans do you buy and where?


In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." Buddha

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#11 of 13 Old 01-05-2012, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmom4 View Post



I'm curious about this - how do you do it?  Which beans do you buy and where?


Me too!!!

 

I used to spend alot on books.  I do have a Kindle now, and am about to get one for my dd, but there are just so many free books!  One day I just stopped!  I just had to stop buying books so I did.  I also stopped looking for clothing deals online, and unsubbed to all the clothing stores' emails so I wouldn't be tempted. 

 

Other than groceries and bills, we don't spend much anymore.  At Christmas, aside from not having as much to spend, I didn't WANT to spend as much.  We have been purging for awhile now and why would I want a bunch more "stuff"?  I look around after Christmas is over and I am very pleased.

 

We had to spend on a goat buck last weekend, but the alternative is paying for breeding, which was more $, so we really had to, but we sold rabbits and that paid for him, plus we could stock up on feed for all the other animals, and that feels good.

 

I try to look around at what we DO have, which is so so much more than alot of families (of course our priorities are way, way different, too), and am happy.  My wants are very different than most people's I know.  I only want a good garden this year, and good luck w/getting bee jobs, rain so we can have fruits to forage, for my rabbits to freaking lift their bums for breeding like they should, and for our new wild pig connection to call saying we need to come get some pigs, and one last thing is that I want all 3 of my goat does to conceive so we can have lots of milk for cheese.

 

I stay out of stores.  I grocery shop weekly if I need to, but only buy what's on sale, and ONLY what we need, plus exactly one treat.  I try to go to the store only every other week or more, but sometimes we run out. 

 

My desire is if we spend, it's for something extremely practical, like a tornado safe room, which will also serve as food storage, or insulation for our rabbit barn, or at the very least, it's because we sold something/did a job that pays for what we have to buy.  We are good at coming up w/sidejobs/ of all kinds for barter or cash. 

 


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#12 of 13 Old 01-05-2012, 11:24 AM
 
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We get most of our stuff from Sweet Maria's (http://www.sweetmarias.com/index.php).  They also have a lot of information about coffee roasting.  There's also a book I like a lot, Home Coffee Roasting: Romance and Rivival by Kenneth Davids (currently priced at $10 used on Better World Books. or you might be able to get it from a library).

 

The basics are getting some green beans and a roaster of some sort.  We bought a dedicated coffee roaster (a slightly older model of this: http://www.amazon.com/Coffee-Storehouse-SR-300-Fresh/dp/B00338L398/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1325791170&sr=8-2... I wouldn't get it from Amazon because I've seen even this model cheaper than that -- we paid about $80 for ours).  The Home Coffee Roasting book said that that was the easiest way to start, and it really is quite easy.  You just put in the beans and turn on the timer, and about 10 minutes later you have beans ready to go.  While the Coffee Roasting Book poo-poos using a popcorn popper, Sweet Maria's says they work well and suggests some you might try (one I found as cheap as $30, and would totally have tried if we hadn't already bought our current machine).

 

Anyway, once we roast our beans, we grind them and French press them.  It's really incredible coffee; the aromatic compounds are lost within 24 hours of roasting, so you may never have had coffee that still had them... it's really amazing stuff.

 

Hope that helps!  Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Best,

Anka

p.s. if buying beans from Sweet Maria's, check out their samplers.  It's a good deal, and you get to try a bunch of new stuff every time you order.


hippie.gifwife to DH, new mom to babyboy.gif 7/4/2011.  femalesling.GIF familybed1.gif BFPChart2.gif cd.gif knit.gif

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have followed me.  They have clung to me all my life." -- Abraham Lincoln. 

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#13 of 13 Old 01-05-2012, 03:26 PM
 
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A friend pointed me towards a 23-day frugal challenge - maybe something like that could jump-start a no-spend month? =)


Just a homegrown heretic hopelessly in love with her amazing DH, 2.5 year old Eli, and now expecting a new arrival April 2015.
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