Are you going strong in your financial goals? Want to keep up the momentum?
Or maybe January was a struggle and you want to reset and start over.
Either way, a no-spend month could be great for you!
Let me tell you what’s involved. It’s not as scary or as hard as it sounds.
Why would you want to have a No-Spend Month?
Most people probably don’t plan a no-spend month just for the heck of it (though that was kind of how our very first no-spend month started).
Having a good reason is an important part of planning a no-spend month. Without a solid reason for restricting your spending, you might have a hard time keeping up the motivation to follow through.
Some great reasons for having a no-spend month are:
To build up your buffer so you can get a month ahead and start living on last month’s income
To put more money toward paying off debt or some other financial goal
To reset your spending habits, serving a function similar to a fast or a cleanse would serve for your eating habits.
To cover an upcoming expense like a trip or a home improvement
Decide now what you’ll do with the money you save during your no-spend month. Get your whole family involved and motivated by your goal.
In fact, if you’re up for a fun challenge, you can join us for a no-spend month in February! We hopped on Facebook Live yesterday to officially invite you all to participate with us! Keep reading (or watch the video below) to hear about how the “rules” work. Then, at the end of this post, I’ll tell you exactly what our rules will be.
What are the rules for a No-Spend Month?
Before anyone asks if you can do this or that during a no-spend month, let me firmly lay down my strict rules:
Rule #1: Set your own rules.
Rule #2: Follow the rules you set.
Seriously. You will get the most out of a no-spend month if you set your own rules instead of trying to do exactly what we do or following someone else’s guidelines.
And it kind of goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyway), but you should, of course, continue to pay your bills. Pay your mortgage and your utilities. Pay your credit card and any other payments you owe.
Some Ideas of Rules for Your No-Spend Month
Here are some rule ideas to get you thinking. Figure out what will work best for your family. Be sure to do something that’s a challenge and a sacrifice, but don’t go to crazy extremes that will make you cave and give up completely.
Remember these are just ideas. Do what works for your own family!
–Cut your normal grocery budget in half. Force yourself to get creative with what’s in the pantry and freezer.
–Set an amount each week to allow yourself to get some fresh produce or dairy.
–Cut your food budget out completely and eat from your pantry, freezer, and food storage.
–Cut out all eating out. Plan ahead and bring your lunch to work everyday and don’t let yourself get takeout at night.
–Cut out all entertainment spending. If you have something already planned, you could set that as an exception at the beginning of the month.
–Cut out any all discretionary spending. Wait until March to see if you really need whatever it is that is tempting you.
–Reduce fuel spending if you have another mode of transportation.
–Take a look through your own budget and see what else you could give up for a month.
As you’re thinking through the rules you want to implement, keep track of how much money you’ll save by not spending the money you would normally budget to these categories. Having that chunk of money to put toward your goal will keep you motivated when things get hard.
Our No-Spend Month Rules for No-Spend February 2019
When we were paying off six figures of student loan debt, our all around spending was very low. We didn’t have any budget for eating out or entertainment. We spent very little on household miscellaneous. Our kids weren’t in any paid activities.
Since we didn’t have much else to cut, we cut our grocery budget out completely along with any other household spending.
Now our spending, though still low by some standards, is much higher than it was back in our studen loan payoff days. We have a lot more that we can cut now, which means we will be able to save more with our no-spend month than we have in the past.
Here are the “rules” we have set for ourselves.
A total of $100 grocery spending for the month.
I’m sure we could survive without doing any grocery shopping at all, but for my own sanity we will allow ourselves some wiggle room. We have been out of cheese for the past week and, well, we love cheese.
No Clothing / Household / Fun
No clothing and no entertainment will be pretty easy I think, but no household miscellaneous will be hard. Our household category was over $300 the last three months in 2018. It will help to not go to the store, but I’m sure things will come up where we’ll be tempted to spend. We’ll stay strong!
Our oldest son has a wrestling tournament in February where they charge admission for adult spectators. We’re planning this as an exception to our no-spend month.
Want to join us for a No-Spend Month in February?
Come on, you know you want to! February is a nice short month! If you already have some spending planned, just add it into the rules as an exception. There’s never going to be a month where it’s easy peasy to go without spending, so why not give it a try now?
In addition to my other blog content, I’m planning to have weekly no-spend month posts and videos up here each week. If you’re on my email list, you can also watch your inbox for encouragement and ideas for your no-spend month adventure!
Are you in?
- Have you ever done a no-spend month before?
- What will be the hardest part of a no-spend month for you?
I call my no-spend month my ‘One-Month Clutter Challenge’, as I focus more on getting rid of stuff than saving money, but I’m happy to see we’re going in the same direction!
Great idea, sounds positive. Thanks