I decided to kick off the year with a no-spend month for one simple reason: I have never tried one. We finally paid off all of our debts last year, so I wanted an idea of how much we had when we weren’t paying off credit cards and my husband’s student loans. I was also curious if I could do it.
The truth is, we don’t budget. When I starting really thinking about that, it made me feel wasteful and unaware of my expenses. I figured a no spend month was a great place to start. My goal was to cut out all unnecessary expenses. No going out to eat or grabbing takeout. No buying lunch or coffee. No online shopping. No events that cost money.
We had a few blips along the way. We got pizza one night when our kitchen backsplash was being installed since we couldn’t use the oven or microwave. Also, my husband had a charity event for his work that we weren’t planning on. To attend, we had to get a babysitter. Other than that, we did really well.
What I learned:
This was a serious wake-up call for me. I spend way too much money on items I don’t really need. I went food shopping at Target and it was a struggle for me not to buy a ton of stuff. The dollar spot has a TON of cute notepads and Valentine’s crafts right now and I couldn’t buy ANY of it. I also spotted a few tops that I normally would have just thrown in my cart.
I also realized online shopping is the devil and a major temptation for me. I didn’t realize how many things I bought after reading about them on other blogs, until I couldn’t buy anything. (so if any of you noticed a dip in your affiliate income this month, my spending freeze may be to blame! ha!) I started a page in my bullet journal titled: Stuff I Want. Now, when I see something online or at a store, I have been writing it down. This has been a great way for me to determine if I really need that item.
My husband and I learned that we go out to eat more than we thought. We go out for lunch with the kids a lot during the weekends, and we saved a bunch by cutting that out.
This short experiment really changed how I will spend my money. My husband and I both agreed that we would try to go out to eat less from now on. Also, I am really going to work on my impulse spending. I think I am going to continue writing down items that I want, and then give myself some time to think about if I really need it.
Have you ever tried a no-spend month? Did it change your spending habits at all?