A no-spend month is a fantastic way to assess and change spending habits, plus add extra padding to your savings account.
I admittedly enjoy spending money; it can become a problem. At times throughout the year, my husband and I find that we need to step back, reassess our spending, and add more to our savings account. Sometimes, we want to pay off an extra medical bill or debt.
On our first ever no-spend month, I paid an additional $800 off in debt. That may not seem like a lot, but our income is under $70k a year, so that was a huge help! It’s become a game to see how much we actually can save or pay off.
We try to do two or three no-spend months per year. Before I tell you about what I learned from a no-spend month, let me tell you the rules.
- Pay normal monthly bills
- Only purchase budgeted and planned items
- Pick where you want to put the extras
- NO eating out, toys, or silly expenses
Seems simple, right? Wrong! It takes some adjusting. Here is what I learned.
1. I like fast food.
Ok, I don’t necessarily like all fast food, but those frappes from McDonald’s are a severe weakness. I also love peanut butter milkshakes. Apparently, I have a love of delicious drinks!
2. A stockpile does help save grocery money.
Stocking your pantry throughout the year does help. We can our harvest, and I try to pair some coupons with good grocery deals. I keep baking essentials on hand at all times. We may not have had everything we wanted to eat, but we had what we needed.
3. Simple meals are the way to go.
Everyone loves those fancy dinners from Pinterest, but going out to get the ingredients is expensive! Simple meals are the way to go. We did a lot of eggs or pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for dinner, and pasta for dinner.
4. We go out a lot more than I thought.
Staying home stops you from spending money – usually. Amazon is a money sucker, so put down the phone. When you leave the house, you are spending money. Gas costs money! During our no-spend month, I try to consolidate trips, AND I pack a lunch when we leave.
5. It’s about the mindset.
The goal of the no-spend month is to help you save money, but it’s really about your mindset. It’s very easy to get sucked into the consumer mindset. During the challenge, I find myself becoming more creative and thinking about alternatives. Things are used up entirely or utilized differently.
6. Saving money feels good.
We’ve all went shopping when we were feeling a bit down, but saving money feels just as good. Instead of going to get that milkshake, I made some at home and moved the cost into my savings account. That felt so good! There is satisfaction in saving money.
7. Cheap doesn’t equal not fun.
When we want to have fun as a family, it typically ends up costing money, but I remembered that cheap doesn’t mean its not fun. We can go to the lake with a picnic and fish together. Park dates with friends is free, and I get some mom time! We invited friends over for dinner instead of going out to eat. Cheap doesn’t mean the activity isn’t fun!
A no-spend month can change your outlook and save you money! Have you tried a no-spend month? If so, share with us your favorite lesson!
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