Tag Archives: No Spend Month

No Spend Month, Week Four.

Well, friends, we did it. We completed our very first (and certainly not last) No Spend Month. And, we did an excellent job, if I do say so myself. And I do.

We bought gas in both cars. We did a little grocery shopping (bread, milk, snacks) because I had shopped for our dinners the week before in advance. We were set for a good finish.

Our one little “blip”, if you can even call it that, came on Sunday (the 24th). Sunday was my sister’s birthday, and she wanted to spend the day with my girls and her wife. So my husband and I went crib shopping. Remember, we were done having kids and our crib was recalled, so we have NO crib (or much else for that matter). Anyway, we headed to a few (read: five) stores looking for the perfect crib (we found two we like, and SHOCKER to ya’ll, my husband likes one and I prefer the other…). Before we left the house that afternoon, I took a $10 bill out of our grocery envelope in case we ran into any issues while we were out. Crib shopping can sometimes take a while, and I didn’t know if we would be able to be home for lunch. I didn’t want the Hunger Monster to strike and for us not to be prepared for it (note: we used money we had already budgeted in for food). While out, my blood sugar started to drop a bit, and graham crackers weren’t cutting it. I had to get lunch. Well, we went to Burger King and spent $9.41 on lunch for two of us. Was it a true emergency? Perhaps, as had my blood sugar dropped too low I may have had a worse afternoon. Was it one I was prepared for? Yes. Because I anticipated the need by taking money out of our envelope for food in case we needed…well…food. So, we KIND OF fell off the wagon for a second (hello, pregnant women need to eat. And, apparently, I need to eat constantly), but not really, because it was budgeted, we stayed under budget, and it was still food. So, we were almost perfect. What can I say? I gotta eat!! Regardless, I still feel damn good about No Spend Month, and I look to do it again sometime in the summer.

It will be a bit harder for us to do once we actually have money TO spend on things that aren’t essentials, but I know we will be able to do it because we have the discipline in place to not allow for failure. Failure hasn’t been an option for us yet, and it will not be in the future. If we can do it now, we can do it anytime we want. It’s all about controlling the money, the money not controlling you. And, I can say with confidence, we *at this point* have damn near perfect control of our money. 🙂 More income will mean more savings, and that, to me, is cool as hell.

If you decide to do a No Spend Month, let’s talk about it! Post your ideas, link up to my blog to record your progress, and keep me posted on how it goes! I have inspired two of my friends to try it this month, and I KNOW they will rock it! 🙂

nospendJust stop it. What do you have to lose?

No Spend Month, Week Three…

Well folks, another boring week over here at FancyPants Manor. We bought groceries. And gas. And we took our daughter to her school’s monthly skate party (we had budgeted that in, and the cost was $10 for both her and my husband to skate, for those of you who would like to know exact dollar amounts of what we do). That about encompasses the excitement that abounds, I tell ya. Aside from the $1000 emergency savings fund, nothing really exciting happened over here.

In other news, I made our meal plan until April 13, which is huge. That will save me a lot of time. I want to be able to get up until and shortly after the birth of Finola planned and shopped for in advance so I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t know a lot of “let’s take the new mom casseroles and dinner” folks, so I figure I better get on it myself. So that’s the plan. I am sure it won’t be hard. I am disciplined and diligent, and I take care of what needs taken care of. NO big. I got this. 🙂

The Universe has been doing some really neat things over here at FancyPants Manor, which I am going to be weird and vague about for right now, but know it is SO true that God provides, and that good things happen when you don’t even come close to expecting them. It’s amazing when something happens that just literally nails you to the wall. And I was nailed to the wall yesterday, that’s for sure. I have gotten the chance to talk to two friends and educate them on what has worked for us, and they are implementing their own systems in their homes to help their families. And that means more to me than anything. To think that I can use this time to educate people and help them out by what I have learned is a dream, and it was something I didn’t know I wanted to do until I started it all. So, if you need tips, feel free to ask. 🙂 I will share it all (as you know!). I am in a uniquely blessed position to teach and help others, and that is always cool for me. I am a born teacher, in many ways.

We are really getting the hang of No Spend Month, and I am trying to figure out when we can do it again. I’d like to do it again around September-ish. We could do August, but August is school supply season (which, admittedly, we could budget for and buy in advance, so it wouldn’t be an issue). So, August or September just seems like a good time to try it again. I’d like to implement it twice a year. March will be Low Spend Month until the husband gets that phone call, which we all hope comes in March. I am almost positive it will; I told you I have good feelings about it coming soon. But, like with anything, we don’t know until we know. So, we wait. Yay waiting. I have become an amazingly patient person because I haven’t had a choice. lol.

Nothing fun to report. Next week is the end of this journey. I can’t believe it. 🙂 No Spend Month will be a distant memory, and hopefully in a few months’ time, all that is left of this crazy layoff period are the memories of the lessons we learned, the budget skills we implemented, the meals we planned, and the memories of the amazing times we had with all of us together. You know what WON’T be left? Debt! And that, that is such an amazing feeling that I cannot even express. The girls will be a wreck when he goes back, but they are resilient and will adjust accordingly. This time with them has been invaluable, for them and my husband. They have gotten the chance to value time with him (and me), and that is far more important than anything we could buy for them…

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And, in these times, we have an excess of time where there is a lack of money…
And they are better for that.

No Spend Month, Week One.

As promised, I am going to keep you all posted on the whole No Spend Month. So far, it’s been easy. I guess I should plan this for when we actually have extra money to be able to spend. But as it is, every penny we have goes to savings, bills, groceries, and gas. Literally every single penny. But that’s ok. No debt collectors are knocking on my door, so I suppose I’m doing it right. We have incurred ZERO debt during the past three months, no CC purchases, and NO missed payments. So, something, somewhere so far is working for us. It’s called discipline and not giving in to “stuffitis.” In fact, we have cancelled and cut up CC’s, and that makes it helpful to know we can’t fall back on them. We just do what we need to do. So far, so good.

Week One. This was borderline frustrating because we found out that we are having a baby girl on Thursday. Naturally, we went to Babies R Us that night to start picking out room colors and other necessities. We went knowing we had NO money to spend, which helped. I knew what I wanted to find, and I happened to find exactly what I wanted. Which is nice. But I was looking at all these baby clothes, blankets, and other knick knacks and I had to walk away. I had to remember we had no money on us, no money to be able to buy anything we wanted, and that everything will have to wait. THAT was not the easiest thing, but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. I haven’t felt “let down” by not spending money. I haven’t felt like I am missing anything. Which is good, and it shows my thoughts on money and savings/spending have really changed. That is always a good revelation to make about yourself.

We started the Thirty Day Wait List for impulse purchases, and so far we have a trash can for the basement and MegaBlocks for the kids on it. Boring, eh? But that’s ok. It can all wait. March looks *so far* to be getting better. I spent about half an hour doing our Zero Line Budget for March, and I anticipate it changing a bit when my husband does return to work because there will be a lapse between unemployment and his paychecks. That will be a welcome *very welcome* wrench in the plans, and I will deal with it gleefully when it happens. Hopefully it won’t be a long delay, or during an inopportune week of bills, but one never knows. Again, we never know until we know. That’s kind of the name of the game at this point.

So, in my opinion, No Spend Month isn’t sucking my soul out of my eyes yet. I doubt it will. My tips I have for anyone thinking of giving it a try are (so far):

1. Don’t keep more than $1 in your bank account attached to your debit card. Once you pay the bills, truck yourself to your local ATM or bank and get the cash out to separate into envelopes. This just makes sense if you’re doing cash envelopes anyway. But it’s handy to know that you have no money to spend, even if you wanted to cheat. I do it every week. And I will continue to. It makes sense.

2. Don’t carry cash on you at random. Be intentional in your cash carrying. If you’re not going to the grocery or the gas station, the cash stays at home. Period. NO excuses, NO cheating, NO regrets.

3. Remind your kids that it is No Spend Month so they don’t ask a billion times if they can have things. My oldest gets it, which is nice. I just tell her we are trying something new in our house, and we won’t be buying anything that we don’t absolutely need, like food and gas. She thinks it’s cool, and I am sure she tells her preschool buddies about it somehow because she tells them everything as we find out. But whatever. Maybe their parents will ask me about it. Or think I am insane and depriving my children. Whatever. I don’t care either way. (Real Life, JUST HAPPENED example: My daughter asked me if she could get some Dora Rock Show thing on TV. I told her maybe later, but not in February. And she said, “Absolutely not because it’s NO SPEND MONTH!” and walked away. See? Easy.)

4. Stay strong. Even in Babies R Us while surrounded by little hot pink onesies, baby toys, nursery decor, and other such frills. Discipline is saying “no” now so you can say “yes” later. It isn’t fun, but it’s worth it.

That’s all I have so far. I will take any tips from anyone who has been there, done this. So far, this isn’t bad. It’s easy to not spend money you don’t have. Now, I also understand it is easy to spend money you DON’T have and spend more than you make, but again, eyes on the prize. Onward to Week Two!

goalwithoutaplanNow, isn’t that the truth?

No Spend February…

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!

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