I have received many positive comments from friends because I have been posting about our no-spend month. My husband asked me why I was sharing all of this, and I told him that it was to hold me/us accountable. We wanted to do this to discipline ourselves and to see how much we could save in a month. If we had just done this without telling anyone, it would be easy to quit or “cheat” and spend money unnecessarily. A friend at church tonight told me it was encouraging to her. Some other friends said this has inspired them to try a fiscal freeze. So I will keep sharing in hopes that someone else will be encouraged or inspired to try a no-spend month or week. With Christmas coming up, a fiscal freeze of any length could provide a little money to use towards gift-giving or travel expenses.
- Today, we bought cereal and more milk, so we spent $10.62 on groceries.
- My husband and Big Sister went to a school social together for lunch, and then they “cheated” and went to Happy Hour at Sonic for half-priced drinks. Big Sister bought her own drink, so only about $1 came out of our cash for the month.
- We were at church all evening, so we used $16.40 for our dinner.
I’m afraid my makeup (foundation) will not last until the end of the month, so I have been using it sparingly. I have a friend who sells Younique, and I’m planning to order from her come November 1st. I may have to see if she will let me trade some products (Norwex) or services (babysitting? cooking?) if I run out before the end of the month!
I still can’t believe I was able to make these without spending a dime. I used to charge $20 for labor (for one nap mat) plus the cost of all the supplies, which could be $40-$50 each!
So not much happened financially today, which is a good thing.
- I gave my husband $5 out of what I had saved because he had plans to eat lunch at one of the fire stations.
- Today was a homeschool day for our older two, so I didn’t go anywhere and had no temptation to spend money.
- My son ran an errand with his grandmother and tried to talk her into taking him to McDonald’s to buy two apple pies, but she texted me and asked if he could do that. He had his own money, BUT this was a nonessential purchase, AND he had chosen to go run an errand WHILE I was preparing lunch for all of us, so I said no.
- I sold two more items on Facebook and banked another $20, so we netted $15 for day one. Good start!
- We had beef tater tot casserole, broccoli, shells and cheese (for the kids), mandarin oranges, and blackberries for dinner. I fed nine people tonight (lol) and still had two servings of the casserole leftover for lunch tomorrow or this weekend.
I guess I should explain why there were nine of us at dinner. A few months ago, I started paying a teenager down the road to babysit the twins at our house for two hours a week while I was home so I could do things (like cook dinner) without having to run after them everywhere. My mother-in-law offered to keep the girls for free every afternoon while I cook dinner, so I offered to feed her and my father-in-law dinner every night. This arrangement has worked out very well for all of us because I enjoy cooking for others and having a full house. So we normally have eight at our table most evenings, but Big Brother had a friend over this afternoon who stayed for dinner, so that made nine tonight.
Here is a photo of the little ones holding hands as we were making our way into Walmart last Friday. (Don’t let their cuteness fool you. They are double trouble!)
I was thinking this was our last shopping trip before October, but I think I went back to Walmart Monday and to Costco on Tuesday. Goodness! This is why we need to do a no-spend month.
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.