I have been chronicling how we have started living simply, and the next progression in that adventure is a No Spend Month. Now, a friend of mine has done it before, and my immediate reaction was, “Uhm. I could never do that.” Until I looked at our finances, and our ever-shrinking spending pile. And I realized that we need to try it. We’re not getting any more money until the husband is back to work, we don’t NEED anything right now, and frankly, I’m all about hoarding every dollar we get our hands on. So, the No Spend Month will happen next month. We have basically BEEN doing it since the layoff, but with Christmas, Ellery’s birthday, and other things, we have spent money that we needed to for those times. Now, we have all the time in the world to No Spend. One month, to start.
What is a No Spend Month? Well, a few people have varying ideas of it. Some of them don’t spend money on certain things (any extras). Some people don’t spend money outside of what they have budgeted for things, like entertainment and shoes. Well, since our shoes and clothes envelope is empty, and we don’t spend money on entertainment because we don’t have any extra money for those things, our No Spend Month is pretty simple. If it isn’t a bill, savings, food, personal care (soap, shampoo, pull ups, toothpaste, etc), emergency, or gas, we aren’t spending money on it. Simple. Emergency constitutes doctor co-pays (if we need to go; my OB visits are set up already with my doctor), any immediate expenses for car repair if they come up, and any house repairs that may spring up. Now I am hoping that we don’t need any of those things because our emergency envelope isn’t brimming full, either. I have already bought all of our food for dinners up until about February 18, so we don’t need to worry about those expenses until mid month. We have cash set aside for the things we run out of quicker, like bread and milk, but I also stock piled on those goods a few days ago at the store. The budget for this month will consist of bills (which I have already budgeted each unemployment check up until the 20th of February because I am waiting on three bills to come in yet), gas, groceries, care, and a little for emergencies. I have given every dollar coming in a name, and I know where each of them will go. I will start getting paid on the 8th, and my checks will have destinations as well. It is simple. Gas. Savings. Bills. Food. Emergencies. Care. That is it.
Now, what if we find something we want? Well, we wait until March. It is that simple. I have started a 30 Day Waitlist anyway for any impulse buys that we see that we think we need or we want. That way, we write it down, and we wait. If we still want it after 30 days, we must really want it. I believe we will find that 99% of what we “want” is forgotten by the time we can consider buying them. An emergency is NOT lunch out, a toy for the kids, a shirt, or shoes. And we can wait for them, We have so many “things” that we don’t need to add more to the house, really. And we will make do with what we have. And we will love it. Or hate it. Either way, we will do it. I would like to see if we can do it two times a year, or even quarterly. We will have to see how it goes. It’s the shortest month, so it’s the best time to start! I am trying to delay getting our taxes done, and this will help us stock pile. The later I get our taxes done, the closer the husband will be getting back to work, and the more we can keep and not worry about needing to live. But I am also intelligent enough to know that if we need to get them done to survive, we will. I have thought all of this through, friends. Tirelessly, I assure you. It sounds like he will *hopefully* be back in March, and that’s kind of what we are aiming for. But we know it’s not something we can rely on. It can change tomorrow, and they can call him in directly. With his company, you can’t guess. You know when it happens. And that’s about the best anyone can do. So, until then, we do what we can.
I will chronicle our progress weekly, and you can all follow along on this journey. I hope this leads you to consider trying it. I am proud of what we have been able to do, how we’ve been able to still save, and how we have not fallen behind on anything. I said in October when we found out it was going to happen that failure wasn’t an option. And you know what? It still isn’t. We have done it the right way, through thoughtful actions, without credit cards *not once!*, and without any refinancing or modification of any kind. (NOTE: I am not saying that these things are bad. We tried to get help with the mortgage and car payment, but we were unable to get assistance. These programs do help out those who truly need them. Let that be said.) No handouts, either. We have been successful in maintaining and no feeling too squeezed along the way. It hasn’t been easy. I can only hope it is over soon. Until it is, we will do what we have to do. 🙂
Have you done an official No Spend Month? Tell me about it!