We have been overspending for years, and the large amount of money that we had set aside a couple years ago for a trip to Disney World in a couple more years has dwindled. Our children think a trip to Sonic after school everyday is the norm, not a rare treat. Taking four children grocery shopping is exhausting because each one asks for so many things. I say no to most things, but I usually allow one treat for each kid, which adds to our grocery bill. I have talked to the older two repeatedly about how $2 here and $3 there adds up over a week or a month, and we end up spending $100 or more on nonessentials.
Browsing on Pinterest, I often saw links for “No-Spend Month” and “Fiscal Freeze” and thought that would be something interesting to try, but I didn’t decide to actually do this until about a month ago. I was planning our September dinner menu and realized that I could come up with a whole month of low-cost meals using things from our pantry and freezer and just a few items from the store. When I saw that Living Well Spending Less (LWSL) was promoting their no-spend month challenge for October, I was even more determined to do this.
I signed up for daily emails (“30 days of living well spending zero”) from LWSL and made out a dinner menu for the month of October. I read what I could find from others who have completed a no-spend month and made mental notes. I got my husband on board, which didn’t take long after he sorted all of our checking account debits by business and saw the number of entries for Sonic, Target, Costco, Walmart, Papa John’s, etc. In preparation, I started selling lots of excess stuff on our Facebook garage sale group and will continue to do so. I have saved all the money from items I’ve sold recently and will use that cash (almost $300) to buy milk, bread, fresh fruit, etc. My husband must go to lunch with coworkers and attend lunch meetings at times, so we will try to pay for all of those with the cash I have saved as well. My husband drives a company vehicle, so we only have to buy gas for my vehicle. Since we aren’t going out to eat or shopping, I shouldn’t need as much gas as usual. I subbed at my kids’ school last month and received my first paycheck in years towards the end of September, and we set that money aside to use for gas in October. Our plan is to save all of our regular income (my husband’s salary minus monthly payments and tithes) and to live on what we have in our pantry and freezer, supplementing with cash for essentials as needed. I will post updates as the month progresses.
I took photos of our pantry and both refrigerators/freezers before this month began because I want to compare at the end of the month, just for fun.