No Spend January – Half Way In

Snagged this chart off Google. I cannot take credit for it!

Am I the only one who thinks you can learn a lot about a person by the magnets they have on their fridge? If I’m correct, this picture tells you more than just how our No Spend month is going. ; )

So, as you can see, we’ve had two days that we didn’t follow our “no spend” rules, and in all transparency, I was the one who caved on both of those days. I didn’t even consult David; I just spent. Both of these spending ventures were on lunch, and on both of these days I didn’t feel well (common cold on the 13th and then a migraine on the 16th).

A lot of you have messaged me and asked what our no-spend guidelines are. For us this month, they’re…

  1. No spending money on anything “extra.”
  2. Only spend money on basic groceries (no fun stuff like gelato) and basic non-groceries (like diapers).
  3. Pay our normal monthly bills, but be a lot more conscientious about turning lights off and not wasting water.
  4. We can eat lunch out once a week, on Saturday, as a family. PLUS, we can eat lunch out after church on Sunday. (But only if we make it to church. If a kid is sick, and we have to stay home, no eating lunch out that day.)
  5. Using a gift card does not count as spending.

Thus far, this experience has been very enlightening and healthily uncomfortable.

It’s forced GREAT conversations with our 3 year old about spending and saving.

It’s also revealed spending habits I didn’t realize I had: e.g. I spend money on convenience more than I thought I did, which has been shocking to me because I’m the girl who peels my own carrots and makes my own sweet potato fries.

It’s created new meal prep habits: I try to make two dinners at a time on Fridays now (or at least a dinner and half), so that way I already have dinner at least mostly ready for Saturday which prevents us from eating out.

It’s de-cluttered our home by forcing resourcefulness. I already try to be as resourceful as I can, but this has taken it to a new level. One example, I ran out of conditioner, so instead of buying more, I dug into my travel bottles and have been using those. In the process, I noticed a bunch of stuff under my sink that really just needed to be thrown away. So to the trash those things went. Win win win.

We’ve been using our gift cards. We love receiving gift cards, but I feel like we’ve been hoarding many of them the last few years. I’m being a bit dramatic using the word, “hoarding,” but we live in a town with very few stores, so unless we’re online shopping, we just don’t venture out to the places where our gift cards are to (mostly referring to restaurants).

We’re past the half way mark, but we still have over two weeks left to go! I’ve almost thrown the towel in on this whole thing a few times, but I’m glad we’re sticking it out. And again, to be completely transparent, but not to get into a political discussion, the government shut-down has definitely turned a mirror on my selfishness these past couple weeks. Like I told a friend yesterday, there are people rationing out their insulin, and I’m sitting over here really wishing I didn’t have this self-imposed no-spend thing going on so I could go buy a new wreath for my front door.

The revelations that have come these past two weeks haven’t all been pretty. But, that’s exactly why I’m sticking out.

Have you ever done a self-imposed no-spend month? I’d love to hear about your take-aways from that experience. The positive ones and the not so pretty ones!

Until next time,

❤ Lindsay

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