4th Week of No Spend Month

20080724 - Salsa ingredients
These lovelies became roasted tomato salsa.

Last year during the 4th week of No Spend Month, we were almost out of money, and I wrote to friends:

I spent $4.48 on groceries for this week and bought milk, bananas, and oatmeal… a few days ago we were trying to decide if we should spend $3 on a gallon of gas or some more groceries. 

This year we are feasting by comparison, and we spent $52 this week.  I am so happy we were extra careful during the first two weeks of the month, so that we could have more money at the end.  It made a huge difference.  

Some highlights:

  • A miraculous summer sale on produce gave us more fruit than we typically eat in a month.
  • I received coupons for a free burrito from Chipotle and a free sandwich from another restaurant on the same day.  Sweet mercy, that never happens, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
  • We miss eating chips.

I’m impressed by what you’re doing:

  • Dana escaped the drive-through for a whole month of no fast food.
  • Both Amy and Deb made the most of family time on their staycations.
  • Nancy brown-bagged her lunch every single day. She also paid for back-to-school expenses using the money she set aside all summer (the amount she normally would have spent for school lunches).
  • Jennifer began her no spend month!  Many of you have mentioned that you’re planning your own no spend month as well, so I hope that you’ll let me know how it goes!
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Please share your tomato salsa recipe! Do you can it? Lovely picture, btw.

  2. Dana — the salsa starts with this recipe. It helps to cut the tomatoes in half and core them before you put them in the oven. Leave the blackened skin on the tomatoes – it adds good flavor. I mostly follow the recipe, and add corn, and then mix everything in the food processor. Then we just add a bunch more seasoning to taste. We would can it, but I realized that we eat it too quickly, so there’s no need to store it.

  3. partipris says:

    I’m impressed but a little overwhelmed by the concept of the no-spend-month. Never been much of a thrift shopper. However, I am going to be visiting here often now in hopes of being inspired.

  4. partipris, I know what you mean, but it doesn’t have to be such a huge goal. Even just paying attention to spending for a few days can have a positive impact. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  5. you and Doug have done so well this month Rachel, well done.

    One thing I’m finding really hard at the moment is making our meals healthier, while still sticking to a tight budget. You seem to manage this really well though. Would you consider doing a typical weeks menu for your family on your blog? If not, as I realise menu plans can be quite personal to each faimly then just ignore me. :)

  6. Rachel – you’ve done a great job this month. And, from your writing, it seems to have been easier for you this year than last. Guess that goes to show that learning new habit is possible and each time it becomes easier. Thanks for the link. How are you doing with “being prepared”? I managed to get our youngest daughter’s closet & dresser cleaned last weekend. This weekend is the real challenge — the closet of the 15 year old; she’s a packrat to say the least!

  7. Laura – I’ll definitely be talking about menu planning in August!

    Nancy – that makes me think about my messy closet when I was a teenager. That will be a big challenge! I’ve got some ideas that are making me really look forward to our “getting prepared” them in August.

  8. Your ‘no spend month’ is incredible! My wife and I are going to try this in August. Honestly, seeing your numbers sort of makes me feel horrible about my spending. We spend more than $250 per month on gasoline alone! We are going to try a limit of $500, not including gas. Thanks for inspiring us to save money!

  9. Congratulations on not only surviving, but conquering your July!

    I loved reading your No Spend Month updates (as well as all your usual posts!) and am so pleased your family made it through with flying colours.

    While we aren’t in any position to attempt a No Spend Month just yet, we will be giving it a go as soon as we can.

    Thanks for all your motivation and inspiration!

  10. Let me first say I found your blog from Get Rich Slowly and I’m so glad I found it. I love your posts! I feel I’m on the same page with you.

    Second let me say your no spend month has truly inspired me. You have inspired me to the point that I plan to have 70% of my car paid off by the end of 2008!!! And its totally doable!!!!!

    I was going to use August as my no spend month but then I started calculating what I could do for the rest of 2008 if I continued to cut back. I was shocked!!!

    I know it won’t be easy (I like to eat out) but now that I have a goal that is so close and attainable, it gives me the courage and inspiration to continue.

    I went through a period of 8 months where I didn’t work. I learned a lot about myself, became stronger in my faith and learned I don’t need all this STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its very liberating.

    Thank you for your blog and the inspiration you have provided me!!!

  11. I’ve participated in a similar no spend challenge since March and have been amazed at my savings. This month I managed to spend just 50% of my income on ALL my expenses including rent and student loan payments.

    You’re absolutely correct that it’s all about planning and priorities. I shared your site with my group of no spenders (as well like to call ourselves) and love how encouraging it is to see other people saying no to the more, more, more philosophy.

    Our community is not only nationwide but international and we continue to grow. In the last two months I’ve met a dozen of my fellow no spenders and traded goals, strategies and coupons.

    To motivate myself to have days without spending any money I decorate a calendar with stars. I also plan trips more carefully and keep my pantry stocked so I save money on gas and no more impulse buys. Great job this month!

  12. Thanks for including us! We really did have a blast staying within a few miles of home. You CAN do it, too!

  13. I truly LOVED and was inspired by your no spend month. You are too sweet to link up- I really appreciate it. We had the best summer this year and we did it on a budget! I am hoping to have a no spend month once our school stuff is all purchased (I say this as both cars require time in the shop, a diseased tree is about to topple on my house, and we purchased a treadmill to save on going to the gym). It will happen though!! ;)

  14. Thank you everyone for these comments. I am just so amazed by them, I can’t even express it.

  15. Your blog has quickly become one of my favourites to read! I am so inspired by your no spend month. As I told my husband about it, we decided that it is something we really want to try. Unfortunately, it feels like there is so much going on the next few months that requires extra money… but we feel that we would greatly benefit from doing this. So, starting August 7th, we are going to live on $250 for two pay periods (4 weeks). The one hiccup in our plan is that we already have reservations for our anniversary dinner on the 12th and my husband had already put aside money to pay for that (it was suppose to be a surprise, but when I mentioned no spend month he broke down and told me!). It’ll be our splurge for the month, and I really hope that it won’t take away from what I hope to accomplish as we cut down on our spending. Thanks for sharing your experiences and being such an inspiration!