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!