Monday, January 28, 2013

No Spend January

In early fall, I read on Facebook that my girlfriend was having a no spend month. The concept was simple, don't spend any extra money. You pay for bills and groceries and that's pretty much it. No extras. No junk food. No eating out. No renting movies. No "this was on sale so I HAVE to have it". Just.the.necessities. It's supposed to open your eyes to how much money you spend on crap.

I thought it was brilliant. I was sold. But when? When do we have our no spend month. October was Adelyn's Christening so we needed to buy stuff for that. November was Lily's Birthday and while it wasn't extravagant, it would still cost extra. Then December was Christmas. It was easy. January. The weather is crappy so we don't want to do anything anyways. It's right after Christmas so we could keep Lily busy with all her new toys. So when she would ask to "do something fun", we had plenty to entertain her without having to take her places. It was an easy decision. So I brought it up to Steve and he was on board immediately.

So we rang in the new year with a bang and geared up for a no spend month. The hardest part? Not eating out. We ate out/fast food at least twice a week, if not more. This meant we were to prepare every meal. No grabbing fast food on the way home from Lily's dance class. No going out to breakfast with Papa on Sundays. Just good ol' home style cooking. Did I even have enough recipes in my repertoire?

Well, it's almost the end of January and I am happy to say we did it! We had a mostly non spend January. Our credit card bill is significantly smaller than it was in December (which is hard to compare due to the holidays). Thanks to Pinterest we had enough recipes to last us. We got our movies from the library. Which we do anyway. If you haven't checked your local library for movies, you really should. They even have new releases! Well, ours does anyway. We took a niece or nephew every weekend. This helped us spend more time with our family as well as entertained Lily. We even had enough left over beer from our New Year's Eve party to enjoy a little relaxing of the adult persuasion. It was an all around success.

What's that you say? "Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater?". Yes, we did cheat a little bit. When we had our nieces/nephew over we got Little Caesar's pizza. It was actually cheaper to do it that way than it was to cook. But we never spent much (thank you $5 Hot & Ready!). Also, I went out once with my best friend for her birthday. I missed her Dirty 30 so I had to make it up to her. Besides, thanks to the firefighters we met, I spent less than $20. =)   But, all and all, we made it. Thirty one days (or will be at the end of the week) without spending money on stupid stuff.

The no spending doesn't end on Thursday though. We won't be as hard core about it, but this month definitely opened our eyes. We're moving forward with a new look on our spending. An inspiration on why we should say no. We now want to hold ourselves accountable for what money we spend where. We want to do other things to help us save money, not just stop spending. Finally, we plan to do more no spend months in the future - every quarter at least.

Whether this concept is new to you, or you've heard about it before. I think that it's a great thing for every family to do. It really does open your eyes to the amount of money you spend frivolously. If you need ideas on how to spend your time, Google it, there are so many great ideas out there.

So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and start saving!

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