In 30 days we will attempting our 3rd no spend month this year! Yes our 3rd! My hubby isn’t to fond of doing them but he agrees they are good for us so he participates.
We aren’t real big spenders but we both have our weaknesses. Mines Hobby Lobby and craft items while his is gas stations and fast food.
What is a no spend month you ask?
Exactly what it sounds like. A month long time frame where you don’t spend any money… aside from the basic means of survival necessities. And by necessities I mean any guides and limits you want to give yourself. Everyone’s take on it is going to be different.
When we did our first no spend month back in January we had a ton of people ask us why? The answer is real simple. We are tired of being controlled by money. Money is the means to pay for living not the reason for living. What we do now sets the tone for our kids and their future. Being money focus isn’t where we want their priority to be! We want them to be mindful and present. To not be burdened by the materialistic things around them. We want to instill more of a minimalist mindset in ourselves along with our Little’s.
Part of our (my) New Years resolution was to be more mindful and more present and less burdened by things. We committed to not just doing a New Years resolution but to doing quarter year resolutions. Where every 4th month we touched base on our original resolution and revisited our life goals. Part of those goals was to start each quarter year out with a no spend month. To refocus ourselves and to re-align us with where we want to see ourselves as parents and just us living our one life! Hygge!
Our first no spend month rules:
We weren’t allowed
1. Gas station convince items
2. Online purchases aside from amazon prime for diapers
3. Food purchases outside of the grocery store
4. Eating out
5. Phone app purchases
6. Unnecessary beauty items
7. “Excuse items” (its for the kids, we really need it)
We were allowed
3. Birthday gifts (with a price limit)
4. Household necessities
5. Medical items
How we prepared for our first no spend month:
Although home necessities was included in our spending allowed items I wanted to stock up to test how well we would do. I also didn’t want to test myself by having to go down certain isles at the store (I’m a horrible impulse shopper). So I bought the big pack of toilet paper, the large box of trash bags, got our refills for laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent. I also made sure we had enough Reynolds wrap because we grill like crazy. We were set for body wash and tooth paste. I was a couponing queen for a good while so I haven’t purchased those in years. (I may add a blog post about couponing in the future, when I start back up with it). We did need deodorants so I got those too (our home already smells like dirty diapers… we don’t need BO adding to it)
What we learned from our first no spend month:
-it’s actually easier than you think
-you become more aware of your actual spending habits (you catch yourself thinking about buying something and realize ohh shit we are in a no spend month and it’s not a necessity)
-less material things have come into our home (we don’t need more anyways)
-we cooked more homemade and healthier meals
-we spent more quality time together. (Less time shopping or going on random errands)
-we saved a ton on gas. (Like a ton! You use less gas when you don’t make trips to hobby lobby almost daily)
-you have to be even more mindful of the things you purchase when it’s over. (we over compensated not spending any money by blowing way to much that first week after) it’s very common to indulge after. I’m going to make a part two post about how to survive the month after.
-only buying necessities actually feels really good
-you save a ton of money… money that needed to be saved and not spent on random things
-life is so much simpler without the need to “buy” something (you probably don’t need it anyways)
How we did with our first no spend month:
We actually did really awesome! I was really surprised. I even made a return to Target and didn’t browse down any isles! I had to walk past the dollar spot because it’s by the entrance and that’s my week zone for Target (I think it’s everyone’s) and I didn’t purchase any unnecessary items. About a week in my husband texted me to grab a lighter on my way home from work. I was tempted to not do it and tell him no. But…. he was a smoker at the time and cigarettes for him were part of our spending allowance. So I got it (you know I needed to light some candles too… we lived 10 days without power during hurricane Irma so a lighter is kinda a necessity).
In April we approached our second no spend month! We were way less prepared but we also went into it with a much clearer mind. We had already done it. We knew what to expect and our spending habits over the last three months still stayed pretty low aside from that first week after (we count that as major winning)!
We weren’t allowed:
1. The same things listed in round one
2. This time we opted of removing alcohol from our budget
We were allowed:
2. Party items for our Little’s 1st birthday (but on a smaller scale than previous ones)
How we prepared for our second no spend month:
We did add on more restrictions. We took out some of our prior allowed items… ALCOHOL! We pre-purchased diapers, wipes and alcohol for the month to see if we could survive and calculate a months worth of needs for these and not spend anything aside from food groceries. We had plenty of toilet paper, deodorant and garbage bags to last us through the month so we didn’t need them.
How did our second no spend month work out:
But…… I personally didn’t anticipate our alcohol intake. Apparently we drink way more than what I had stocked up for us. So we re-negotiated that part of our no spend month and decided to add that back into our allowance. We aren’t doing a no alcohol month!
This time we also had our third Little’s first birthday! Which means I had to go into my favorite store (HOBBY LOBBY) and purchase birthday decor while bypassing all the awesome isles that awaited me. It was actually pretty easy to do. I’m more into diy than buying premade. So I just avoided the craft supply section.
My hubby did make apple app purchases in March that took way to long to deduct from our account and they actually came out in April. So that was a bit of a bummer!
This round we are planning for our third no spend month in July. July we not only have Independence Day (FIREWORKS) but we also have our middle Little’s 3rd birthday and our out of state vacation. Talking about a real challenge right! I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a very lenient no spend month. We have lots of memories to make and memories are priceless!
We haven’t quite gone over all the details of what we will allow but definitely lots of Pre planning in June will need to happen.
I’m on a journey to becoming more mindful and a no spend month helps you ground yourself to what’s most important in your life. This topic actually has lots of to be continued posts coming your way.
– How to prepare for a no spend month
– What to do during a no spend month
– How to survive the month after a no spend month
Have you done a no spend month? Do you want to? Comment below and tell me all about it! Want a free printable to help keep you on track? Click subscribe and you will be notified when it’s uploaded and available along when the next posts on this topic go live.