What I'm Learning During My No-Spend Month
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This is the first update on our No Spend Month that we started on February 1, 2018.
We’re currently 12 days into our No Spend Month of 2018. I thought it’d be fun to give an update on how we’re doing and the insight we’ve gained so far.
First, let me say that I’m no stranger to short term restraint leading the way to long term gain. When we were paying off our 100,000 in debt, restraint was the story of our life for YEARS! We really didn’t have any short term pleasure throughout that time.
We didn’t take a vacation.
Almost never ate out.
We cancelled our gym memberships.
Stopped buying clothes for us adults.
And didn’t allow ourselves to make any home improvements. (Not even adding a cute throw pillow to the couch.)
It was a tough time, but honestly, I don’t regret a thing. I’m SO glad we took that time to sacrifice in order to have the freedoms we have today.
All that to say that I’m no stranger to no spend months. I will say, lately, we haven’t been living that way. We’ve been trying to get back to more intention and try to stretch our dollars a bit more. You can read more about why we’re doing a no spend month here.
So, what is my month long restraint teaching me this time around? Well…
IT’S BEEN MUCH EASIER THAN I THOUGHT.
I was really worried that I would feel tempted at every corner. You know how you always want what you can’t have. Thankfully, it hasn’t been true.
Now, maybe that’s due to the busyness of our life right now. Having four little kids in 2 different schools and having a business in the start up phase, volunteer responsibilities and Sam having his own business…on and on it goes. But, I’d bet that you’re just as busy.
I’ve found that my big picture goal of finding out where our extra spending has kept me from giving into the few temptations I’ve had.
And, 28 days. Not so bad, right?!
Another thing we’ve noticed from our no spend month is that our budget meetings are SUPER short! When you don’t spend money, there aren’t any transactions that need to be categorized and there’s not much to discuss as far as spending. It’s been a nice respite from longer budget meetings!
WE’RE SAVING MONEY. LOTS.
We’ve budgeted about $2000 less than normal. Since it’s a no spend month we’ve decided to not fund a bunch of categories that normally would have miscellaneous spending. i.e. toiletries, dining out, clothing, home repairs, haircuts, etc.
And we’re fine.
So, this means that we normally spend $2000 MORE than we’re spending in February. What the what?! Where does all that money go?
Honestly, this awareness has been our goal all along. To see where we might be overspending that we could cut back on during this start up time of my business. It will be helpful to determine what spending will have to be put back in the budget…like money for haircuts…and what money can continue to be saved month after month.
WE’RE GROCERY HOARDERS
Lastly, I’ve learned that we are hoarders when it comes to groceries. We REALLY like to buy 2 of something even if we only need 1 of that thing for the week’s menu plan. Even with our freezer and pantry inventory and creating a grocery list every week, we’re still overbuying.
I get that that can sometimes be helpful. Like when we don’t have to buy that product the next week because it’s already on hand. But we have an inventory that I don’t think we necessarily need. That inventory could actually be cash in our checking account.
Just a thought I’m still mulling over.
SPENDING MONEY INCREASES OVERWHELM
What I’ve noticed in these past 12 days is that NOT spending money has seemed to calm our days a bit. Decreased the overwhelm that comes with a highly scheduled routine based around spending money. NOT spending money has taken out a lot of the decision fatigue that comes with the daily barrage of things to do and spend money on.
It’s been an interesting revelation and one that I want to explore more in the next couple of weeks.
I LOVE EATING OUT
One thing I REALLY miss is eating out. I love to go out for meals with the kids. The ease of sitting at the table and not having to prepare anything. And, not having to clean up afterwards is worth a LOT of money to me.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the free entertainment for kids (Chick-fil-A playground anyone?!). We’ve also been known to take card games to the restaurant to keep the kids entertained while sitting. It’s actually a sweet bonding time. A little respite for all of us. I miss that LOTS.
Alright, there’s my insight after 12 days in!
Have you ever done a No Spend Month or Week or Year? I’d love to hear about what you learned.
Alrighty friends, good luck for the rest of the month! And remember to check out my No Spend Challenge Board over on Pinterest for all kinds of other inspiration!
I’m rooting for you!