Well, if you recall from my last post (or my social media posts), during the month of November I’ll be taking on a no spend month challenge. It doesn’t mean no spending at all. I don’t know about y’all but I don’t want any late notice letters and fees coming my way. I also have to eat and go places. Because of this, there are certain rules I have established for myself to play by. Everyone’s rules will be different. If you decide to take on the challenge for yourself, I encourage you to look up other blog posts about no spend months to get some ideas from the rules others set because you may forget about something. I did.
Obviously, one of the main purposes of this challenge is to save money. For me, it’s also about a reset on spending after some less than frugal habits have popped up. It’s to reevaluate some of my habits to see where I can cut back regularly. I’m also on a mission to have “less stuff” so while I won’t be bringing anything new into my house, I’ll have an opportunity to go through and purge what I have.
Taking on this challenge was inspired by some recent posts on the subject by other bloggers I follow. I thought it might be fun to try myself. Actually, fun may not be the appropriate word to use but it should be interesting and eye opening. I decided that November would be a good month to start because it was the next full month. It did not dawn on me until quite some time after the decision to do this that November may not be the best time. Helloooo, holidays and holiday preparations. I don’t always think things through before I do them. Sometimes that’s a good thing and others it’s quite painful. I’m undecided on what type of “thing” this will be this month. The good news is that I already have my Christmas shopping done and I haven’t seen anything in the holiday sale adds in years that I just had to have. I hope that continues this year.
So just what am I going to do with my “free” time during this month? (Get it? Free…because I can’t spend anything… It’s corny, I know.) I’m going to finish up a few remaining customer orders because those come first. Then I’m going to spend some time working on scrap wood projects as well as doing an all out clean up and reorganization of the shop. It needs it. Badly. I also need to prepare space for a new, large tool purchase coming up very soon. I also plan to finally relax. In addition to my job job (yes, I meant to write job twice), I work about 20-30 hours a week on 7MD stuff. That’s a lot of working hours. I’ll be sure to keep you updated with how the month is progressing. The successes and the failures will all be shared. No secrets here.
It’s time to go over the rules. Again, your rules may be different than mine. You may need to add in something I didn’t, increase/decrease dollar amounts, or take something out that I added. Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Reoccurring Financial Obligations
- All reoccurring financial obligations will be met. This includes my mortgage, utilities, and credit card bills. I always pay off my credit cards in full each month to avoid paying interest rates so I’ll be paying for last month’s purchases this month. But come December, there will be virtually nothing to pay which will be outstanding. I also pay extra on my mortgage to pay it off faster. That payment will be coming out this month, as well.
- Medical and Emergency Expenses
- You can’t skip out on medical just because you are doing some silly little internet challenge. I know that there will be some minor medical expenses this month so that is already factored in. Emergencies are hard to plan for (otherwise they wouldn’t be emergencies) so I just plan to deal with them if/when they come.
- Vroom Vroom Juice
- I have to be able to go places which means I need to be able to buy gas. I typically don’t have to buy gas more than once or twice a month. This isn’t a huge expense for me but I will try to limit my driving.
- My dogs didn’t choose to go on a spending freeze and have their own needs to those will be met, too. I predict it’s only a $20 bag of dog food this month so no big deal.
- Customer Orders
- Several months ago, I cut off most customer orders. At this time, I have three in progress but they all are taking up a good chunk of my time. Because they have to be completed in a timely manner, I can purchase materials to finish them without the cost counting against me. The good news is that I believe I already have all of the materials on hand so there shouldn’t be any purchases. Purchases for my own projects will count against me.
- I like to eat. Sometimes, though, I overspend on food and end up wasting more than I should. I don’t eat out too often but even a little bit here and there can add up a lot at the end of a month. I also have a habit of buying new items at the grocery store without checking if I have it at home first. This month I will be eating in as much as possible (unless I con someone else into treating me to takeout). I have plenty of food at home to choose from but I am making allowances for buying supplemental, fresh food. I have set my budget limit to $200 for the month for food purchases. This may seem high to some and low to others. I feel this will be enough of a limit to me to encourage me to stick with the plan while still be flexible enough to not be living off rice and beans for 30 days. I also need to purchase food at the end of the month for a small cabin vacation so I’m trying to work that into my budget, as well.
- Fun Money
- I wanted to build in a little cushion of “fun money” that I can spend on whatever I want. I think that having a set amount that I’m allowed to spend will help me not completely fail at this challenge because spending isn’t “forbidden”. I have, however, set my limit low enough that I have to really think about my purchases before I make them. I have set my fun money limit at $150.
So, there you have it. It sounds like so much fun, right??? I think it won’t be awful. I will be better for it at the end. I mean, I did a strict keto diet for a month so I can do anything!
With the ground rules having been laid out, it’s time to go over my progress so far. I’m officially one week in and it hasn’t been hard at all. I actually didn’t spend anything at all except for my groceries. I put a lot of thought into my list about what items I could maximize most and get the most bang for my buck from. I focused on fresh staples that I could use for several meals and tried to only buy what was absolutely necessary for my planned meals. By the way, meal planning goes a long way toward keeping costs down at the grocery store. I went in with a hope to only spend around $50 on groceries this week. I spent $60 so I’m calling that a win.
Initially, it just felt like a regular week without any restrictions because I didn’t have a need or an urge to buy anything. I had to stop myself a few times from stopping by the store really quick to grab something that I didn’t really need. I did see quite a few things on the first day on Facebook that I kind of really wanted to buy but I quickly talked myself out of it because it just wasn’t needed. I also had a wonderful and supportive friend tell me that he was going to be sure to send me all the good tool deals for the holidays later this month so that I don’t miss anything. Isn’t he the best? All the eye rolls with that one.
I’ll be back next week with another update!
If you missed the other installments of the No Spend Month, you can check them out here.