31 Day No Spending Challenge

No Spend Month jpgThis August we are doing a no-spend month in our household. It’s half damage-control from the last few months, and half just a way to reset/get back on track. We aren’t in any trouble, but we certainly can’t keep up the pattern of spending we’ve had going on in recent months, in which we finished an entire basement, and bought a new TV and elliptical machine. (Granted, we used out tax returns on the basement, and sold some items to pay for most of the TV and elliptical machine cost. Still. It’s more than we are used to forking over in a short period of time, and we have a smaller income these days.)

I want to build back up some savings this month by cutting our spending to the absolute necessities: groceries, utilities and other bills, gas, and mortgage. August is the perfect month for it, as there are no birthdays or other gift-buying occasions in our immediate family this month except our anniversary. (This year is the big 1-0 anniversary, but we have a fun Yellowstone trip planned in September and I think that more than covers the celebration.)

For the last week of this month, I am preparing for our no-spend month by doing the following:

1. Writing down the following lists:

  • Allowed expenses (with budget estimates)
  • Goals for the month
  • Things to do that are FREE*

*I will share my list of free things to do shortly. I may add to it throughout the month, but basically I will list all the things I’ve been putting off doing around the house, projects to start/finish that I already have supplies for, free things to do in my area, etc. This list will be helpful to me on those days when I am going stir-crazy and feeling stuck at home, as well as allow me to finally check off some of those nagging to-do items.)

2. Menu planning (trying to use up some pantry/freezer stuff as much as possible). This will be a very loose plan.. more of a list of possible meals to pick from when I do my actual weekly plans/grocery shopping.

3. Unsubscribing from mailing lists and turning off push notifications on all my money-saving apps. (I don’t need to know every time the stores I like are having a sale.)

4. Filling up the gas tank.

5. Stocking up on a few staples, so I don’t need to make many shopping trips (to prevent impulse purchases).

One thing I have noticed is, though I love a good challenge, challenge months are long. It seems like 31 days is over in a flash, unless I’m abstaining from carbs or shopping. So I know this will not be easy. I’ll try to post some weekly updates about how it’s going, successes and failures, and what I’m learning along the way.

Anyone want to join me? 🙂

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