I’ve been reading some blogs and articles lately about the no spend month challenge. I have to stay in the house not doing anything extra that costs money, no grocery shopping (well, you’ll read more about that in a bit), and no Starbucks for a month!? Then I remind myself that hey, it’s not a challenge for anyone but us so I can start it, stop it, set the rules, break the rules and I don’t have to be accountable to anyone but us.
Through casual conversation I mentioned this idea to my husband and neither of us jumped at the idea. Neither of us started screaming from the rooftops how excited we were about it. And neither of us put much more thought into it other than, you know, this is what other people are doing. What do you think? Meh, it’s an okay idea.
Suddenly we were doing it and I have no clue how it happened. But, here we are not spending any extra money, and strangely I’m okay with that. I like to go shopping, but these past few days I’ve enjoyed hanging out working on the many projects I already have going on around here. I’m pretty sure this will boost my mood in the end, if anything improve my financial wellness which overall improves that positive life I’m seeking. I’m good with that.
By doing this no spend month challenge I needed to set a few rules. I think the basic rule of the no spend month is don’t spend any money you don’t absolutely have to spend. For the most part, that’s pretty straight forward. I’ve seen a few other people add in some extra rules, such as you have to get rid of things around the house you no longer need. In other words, the purging aspect of getting organized, which I wrote about last week. I’m already doing that in my life so I don’t feel like I need to weigh this challenge down with extra rules. I want to keep this simple so I stick with it.
For now, here are my own personal No Spend Month Challenge Rules!
No Spend Month Challenge Rules
Don’t spend any extra money this month is the basic rule, but there are some exceptions and clarifications I want to make here.
1. Necessary medical
visits, medications and other first aid supplies that we don’t already have in the house that we need are allowed to be purchased. Normally we don’t need to pick up anything, but you never know when an emergency or illness will show up.
2. Business supplies
are allowed. Since my blog has it’s own money, I can buy what I need for blog posts, especially if they are sponsored, in order to get the job done. I can only spend my designated business funds though. None of this will come out of my personal funds.
3. Homeschool supplies
for our co op group are allowed. I am teaching a couple of art classes for our homeschool group and the supplies are purchased with funds the families provided for each class. No purchases are made out of my personal funds for the homeschool group. We have more than enough workbooks and projects around the house to keep us moving on our own homeschooling for a long time, plus there are a ton of free resources out there so we shouldn’t need to spend anything on our own personal homeschooling right now.
This one gets tricky. For the most part we won’t be spending money on any food unless it’s absolutely necessary and I don’t have a substitute in the house. Snack food? Nope, make our own from what we have. Fresh fruits and veggies? Only if we don’t have anything else in leftovers, the pantry or the freezer. We need to use what we have first. Bread? Nope, bake it myself, it’s cheaper. Milk and eggs? Well, since I don’t have a cow or a chicken, I suppose I can pick these up, but only if we really need them.
I don’t have to have milk or eggs for many recipes, so I might be able to get by without them. This one really takes a creative eye to take inventory and develop some interesting meals. Especially once the no spend month starts coming to an end. I’ll be clipping coupons just in case.
We will spend money only when absolutely necessary for the pets. If they are out of necessities such as litter or food, then absolutely we’ll spend money on it. I’ll check for coupons, of course, and as far as litter, I’ve never checked for any potential substitutes, but I can’t guarantee the cats would like a substitute, and I won’t force it on them either. I won’t buy them any extras though. They have enough toys and treats right now anyway.
Bills will always be paid no matter what. If we can pay over on any debts we will. We have obligations and we will be responsible with them. This is a non-negotiable expenditure.
There are certain places we have to go, so we will have to spend some money on gas for the vehicles. My husband does have to go to work and I do have certain obligations to my homeschool group and the blog business that require travel.
We’re always in our house, so they are almost always in use. But, we’ll do our best to cut back on the amount of water, electricity and gas we’ll be using. It’s really cold right now so I’ll miss my fireplace, but I have sweaters and blankets as do the rest of the family. We’ll stay warm, we just have to get creative with what we wear in the house. If that means no more going barefoot, I’ll wear the socks. As much as I dislike them, I’ll still wear them.
9. Household Items.
Most likely we won’t need to buy these either, but if it comes down to the need of toilet paper, we’re not skimping! Cleaning supplies and beauty supplies should be well stocked and if I run out of make up, oh well. If I run out of cleaning supplies, I have plenty of vinegar and baking soda. People use those to clean, right? I may need to research this one better. Basically, I shouldn’t need it, but if we do we look at all other options before making a purchase.
That’s about it. I don’t think I forgot anything. For about the next month or so, these are the rules we’ll be living by. It should be interesting, but I’m already getting creative with some of this stuff. Plus I’m getting some reading and crochet accomplished!
Have you ever participated in a no spend challenge? Did you have different rules? Would you add anything different to mine? What are your thoughts about it? Share your ideas in the comments below.