Can our family of 3 spend less than $250 for 31 days? Can we be more mindful and disciplined about the money we spend?
Every July our family takes a break from spending. This will be our 3rd Annual No Spend Month. No Spend Month is short for “No Spending Except for Basic Essentials This Month.”
We’re constantly told about things that will make our lives better, and yes, sometimes they do. But that daily message to buy, have, and make things nicer never stops, it consumes our time, and it can make us not see what we already have.
We’ll take a break from trying to add more. The tight budget is for accountability.
We have a total budget of $250 to spend on anything we would buy for ourselves this month.
- Groceries & eating out
- Household items
- Rent, insurance, and bills
- Health expenses
- Work expenses
- Savings and investments
- Tithes and gifts
What we’re starting with:
I have gas in my car and this week’s groceries, plus the food we normally have in the fridge and cabinets. Since we live in an apartment, we don’t have a big pantry or an extra freezer to store more food. We’ll be getting creative with some of the leftovers in the back of the cabinets, but primarily using this month’s budget for our food expenses.
For answers to frequently asked questions about what we’ll be eating this month, see How to Cut the Food Budget and Keep the Food.
What’s the point?
What’s the point of depriving ourselves? Shouldn’t we be able to enjoy life?
Yes, and that’s exactly why we do it. When we take a break from spending, we learn to appreciate what we have. The convenient restaurant dinners become a special treat, our favorite foods are savored, and every time I put gas in my car I am thankful to have the money to do so. We stop taking things for granted. (And let’s not forget all the money saved from not eating out or making impulse buys.)
Advice for getting started:
- Leave your debit card at home and use cash, budgeting a certain amount for each week.
- Spend as little as possible at the beginning while you’re motivated, so you’ll have more to spare later in the month.
- Don’t eat out. One restaurant dinner could be your entire week’s grocery budget.
Every family has a different situation, so adapt this plan to best fit what your family needs. Make your budget amount challenging, but still realistic. If you have a special event planned, just make an exception for that day. Maybe focus on one area of spending, such as not eating out or buying new things for the house. You’ll find plenty of things to keep yourself busy this month, without spending more.
- 1st Week of No Spend Month – $0 spent this week
- 2nd Week of No Spend Month – $40 spent this week
- 3rd Week of No Spend Month – $50 spent this week
- 4th Week of No Spend Month – $93 spent this week
- Last Days of No Spend Month – $57 spent, $10 remaining
- What I Learned From No Spend Month
- Last Year’s No Spend Month
- $30K to $0: How We Became Debt-Free in One Year
- Add Grace to Your Budget
- 20 Pocket-Change Date Night Ideas
- 20 Tips to Waste Less Food
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