No Spend Month Update: The Final Day

superdog
I don’t think Lane ever noticed that it was No Spend Month.

When the last day of No Spend Month finally arrived, I still had $67. We’ve never had so much money at the end before. I even had a half tank of gas in my car.

I went grocery shopping during the morning. Doug requested chips, and I bought a few other treats and some of the ingredients I needed for the batch cooking I want to do this week.

The pantry contains less now, but that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t call it empty, but it’s certainly decluttered. It reminds me of when I cleaned out the spice cabinet. When I toss dried basil that’s ten years old, I don’t need to replace it, since we were obviously never going to use it. A lot of the food in the pantry was being passed over every week, and now that we’ve finally used it up, I don’t want to buy more.

So what are we going to buy now?

Doug wants a hair cut. He needs it, but he wasn’t brave enough to let me do it to him for him.

I plan to buy a new soup pot, because the one I have is warped and doesn’t cook the food evenly. That’s a purchase that was delayed during this month. Waiting to buy it didn’t save me any money, but it did give me a few weeks to think about it and make sure I really want it.

Those delayed purchases are the exception though, because as I look at my budgets from previous months, most of the discretionary expenses we avoided this month are things that we would have consumed. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Restaurant dinners, entertainment, impulse shopping at the grocery store, coffee stops, and extra car trips to go pick up this or that. The money we didn’t spend on those activities is truly saved. We don’t want to suddenly go eat out twice as much now to make up for the dinners we didn’t eat out this month. In fact, we usually eat out less in the following month, because that’s what we’ve become accustomed to. I am looking forward to having a bigger budget, but my habits have already changed.

By evening, after grocery shopping, we still had $10 left. I saved it in case we wanted to go out and do something fun to celebrate. Should we go out for coffee? No, the coffee at home tasted better. Did I want a milkshake? No, I had a better smoothie at home. See, that’s the problem with No Spend Month. It makes going out and spending money not seem like quite as much fun, because the money doesn’t go very far.

Stopping spending is like going without sugar. It’s kind of hard at first. Have you ever given up a soda habit? I really like root beer, but there have been seasons when I’ve stopped drinking it. Later if I treat myself to a root beer in a tall frosted glass, it never tastes as great as I hoped. It’s too sweet. Yes, it still tastes good, but it’s not as satisfying as it once was.

We decided to stay home instead of going out to celebrate, so we sat out on the balcony and talked while we watched the rain come in.

I didn’t think that No Spend Month could go this well. Thank you so much for your encouraging comments. It certainly helped me to be accountable each week. I learned a lot too, some things I had forgotten, but that’s something I’ll have to tell you about next time.

About Rachel

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

Comments

  1. Hiya :)

    I’ve nominated you for an award. I hope you’re pleased and will pass it on.

    Thanks for all your inspirational posts on your blog; it’s lovely to have the chance to say a public ‘thank you!’

    best wishes
    mrs Green

    Mrs Green´s last post…Our one lovely blog award

  2. Congrats Rachel!

    And what a terrific picture :)

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last post…Meal Cards

  3. I have been following you on this and it has been terrific to watch your journey… thanks so much for sharing!!! You have been an inspiration to me!

    angelvalerie´s last post…on budgets and such

  4. congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment. I love the half a tank of gas. Our life is moving what seems too fast for a no-spend month, but I’m gearing up for school at home. One must actually ‘stay-home’ and do the school to make this happen, so I’m sure our frivolous expenditures are going to slow down. Not without effort tho. It’s always(until you try to discipline it)easier to jump in car(spending gas) and head down for a ____. But I’m speaking to the choir! Congrats again, I’ll be looking back at the month to see what all you did (didn’t)do! Thanks again- Best, Laura

    Laura´s last post…Ancient History- Homeschool Begins

  5. Congratulations Rachel! I love that photo!

    I loved reading your thoughts on the experience.

    Emily@remodelingthislife´s last post…Link Love

  6. you are amazing!!!

  7. Your an inspiration!

    Great Job!

  8. Congratulations! I am very impressed with your achievements. You’re an inspiration! I’m a pretty frugal gal (I write about it in my blog, too) and you’ve inspired me to try to cut down our spending even more. I’m starting small by cutting the food budget for August nearly in half. We’ve just found a way to not buy a second car so my husband can carpool to work. Love your blog and reading about your simple living adventures!

    Allison´s last post…Fall Knitting has Begun: Drive-Thru #2

  9. Denise C. says:

    Congrats Rachel, Doug, and Miss Lane!

    I absolutely LOVE your blog (it’s my favorite!)

    Miss Lane, I adore your superhero cape!

  10. Just found your blog a week or so ago, too late to join in your no-spend month but you did inspire me to have a no-spend week. I read a few of your no-spend posts and thought — why not just skip this week’s grocery trip altogether? It went great (I thought) and I’m considering making it a regular event every month or so. We had some terrific meals just using what we already had. Every time I thought “oh, but I have to buy X” I would think it over and realize there was a Y or a Z in the kitchen that we could use instead. The kids had only a couple of complaints about the experiment. One teenager missed her pepsi and the 8 year old wished we had more fresh fruit that he could snack on. Otherwise it was a success.

  11. stephanie says:

    You have done a great job. Do you know about Freecycle? You could get that soup pot for free if you post it as a wanted item on freecycle. Someone else might be upgrading their pots…and you could benefit..or other things you need…it’s a win, win…register in your area at freecycle.com ! Good luck!

  12. You are such an inspiration. I have found myself being more economical–even without a no-spend month. It is truly amazing what we don’t really need!! (I love the picture of Super Girl flying through the air!)

    mrs. e´s last post…Lake House Mornings

  13. great post! it’s been so interesting to hear how it’s gone for you guys…not sure I want to tackle a no spend month, though I know it would be good for us :) eating out is definitely my vice, as I just don’t enjoy cooking LOL thanks for sharing the journey!

    jodi @ back40life´s last post…Pictures around the House

  14. Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed following your No-Spend month and get great ideas from your blog. Love the “Yippee” picture too!

    Kim @ whatsupbird´s last post…I am a Winner!

  15. So happy for you and your accomplishments! You’ve been very inspiring and I’ve looked forward to reading about your journey.

  16. Well done for doing so well! I to am (ike all of us really) trying to save money at the moment. I did give in an spend money on some sale items today (hehe), but I have been soo good. We have even discovered that you can survive easily and healthily on £25 a week for two people!

    Lauren´s last post…The Phenomena of “The Sale”

  17. Congrats! Awesome job and truly inspiring.

  18. I love that picture. Nothing more beautiful than seeing a papa and his children.

    Shannon´s last post…Fermented Cod Liver Oil

  19. Hi, congrats on your success with no spend month. I got halfway through July and made the decision to take a trip next year. This means saving like a wild thing for the next 6 months, with Christmas in the mix plus Birthdays etc., The outcome was that having jumped on the wagon halfway through the month I managed to spend just $8.00 for the last two weeks. Bread and milk only and a few bits and pieces for my pet bird. I will be doing this for the next 6 months to save as much as I can, that way I will not come home to a credit card bill as big as the national debt.

  20. Thank you for your inspiration to all of us. Thank you. Thank you.

    Cherry Tree Lane´s last post…ILV {i love vintage}

  21. You are my inspiration! I’ve just spent the last of our emergency savings on a new heating and air conditioning unit for our home…we desparately need to put money back into our savings, so we are once again attempting the “No Spend” or as I coin it “Spend Less” month in August. This is no longer “an experiment”, but a necessity for us. If you have any pointers, please let me know!

    Sharon´s last post…My menu is complete, and my debit cards are in my dresser drawer!

  22. mtfiddlegal says:

    Great! I just found your blog a few days ago, thanks to a friend of mine. My parents lived on nearly nothing when I was growing up, and I never felt a lack of anything. Mom tells me that one time all she had was an onion for dinner, so we had onion rings for dinner! (She must’ve had some flour and oil or butter. :-)) Anyway, my friend and I were going to go out to lunch today, but because of your blog, we packed a picnic and ate in the park. Saved us each about $10-15 and much more charming anyway!! Thanks!

  23. Glad to see you made it through, and with money left to spare! I’m still amazed you did it on $250. Our gas expenses alone usually get close to $150, which would leave us only $100 left for food. We’re going to try a no-spend month in October, but my big downfall is that I just love to cook from scratch, and there’s always one ingredient or another that I’m running out of. Admittedly, though, we have been spending more on fruit during the summer given the amazing selection of produce.

    I’ve found too that cooking at home often helps you realize both how much you spend on eating out as well as how much better things taste at home for the most part. These days, I often find it hard to pay for something when we eat out if I know I could make it myself and taste better. Breakfast places are especially hard to enjoy – $12 for a plate of bacon, eggs, and pancakes?

    Life from the Roof´s last post…Da Big Ma

  24. Way to go!

    Jennifer´s last post…I Like Nice People.

  25. Wow, amazing job! You’re an inspiration to the rest of us, truly. I’ve been fighting the good fight here re: Friday night dinners out (a tradition that’s formed in spite of my better judgement). I can often convince everyone that I can cook something much better at home. I lost the battle last night (went out for barbeque), but won it a week ago when I made some fabulous quesadillas instead of going out for a $40 Mexican meal. :)

    liz´s last post…newly organized closet

  26. Hi Rachel,

    we have been doing no spend month for sometime, as dh is out of job and I am SAHM for 2. We live by in $200-$300/month for all gas, groceries and gift, toys etc. Only thing is our family bought groceries for 2 times, that helped a lot. We are eating lot of beans and rice and having small garden also helps. It is getting harder, but like you said, we get used to it, now we make everything at home, that we are craving for.

    Thanks for inspiration though.

    Zengirl

    Zengirl´s last post…20 money saving tips when eating out

    • It seems we are in the same boat. Hubby hasnt lost job, but was off from work for a month. we are used to not having a pay check for two weeks, but not four. Its been tough. But, I was just thinking today, I love/hate not having money to run out and get because one of us have a craving. Love it because I have fun experimenting with things I already have, hate it because things I have here dosent seen to curb the cravings.

  27. you have absolutely inspired me! i’m so glad i stumbled upon this blog, and “no spend month”. i am up for the challenge! thanks for the inspiration!

    Jenna´s last post…little swimmers

  28. THANK you soo much for sharing your No-Spend-Months .
    You have been a great inspiration and Prince Charming and me just finished our “No-Spend-Month”.
    We realized how careless we spent our money and that living on a budget isn’t really that bad. And putting all the money we did not spend into our saving account felt sooo good.

    Nimmi´s last post…No-Spend-Month – Review

  29. So exciting – congratulations!

    Jamie

    steadymom´s last post…Inspiration for Your Weekend

  30. GOOD FOR YOU!
    so impressive and inspiring.
    we have been doing a “no buying new” challenge for 9 months now and it has completely changed our habits and planning of purchases. i love it.
    nicola
    http://whichname.blogspot.com

    nicola´s last post…quotable sunday

  31. That is AWESOME, Rachel! I am so proud of you guys! So inspiring. I know exactly what you mean on how the NOT spending puts things in the right perspective.

    Our No-Spend Month got off track (a lot) with the groceries. There were some calls to hospitality that we just felt very led to take up. Our OTHER spending was really in check – but, oh those food bills. Oy. Anyway. Thank you again for another inspiring, informative, and insightful month. Cheers to you guys!

    Megan at Simple Kids´s last post…SK Showcase: Spotlight On YOU!

  32. Yay! Good for you! (So happy to have re-discovered your blog, btw.)

    Mary´s last post…Wireless

  33. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us! You had a GREAT month; one that can teach us all quite alot about mindful spending.

  34. Reminds me of a comment someone left on my blog…she was taking her lunches to work and finally decided she was going to spend some money to eat out. Kind of a treat for sticking to her worthy goal. So, she went to find something to eat only to discover nothing looked worth while and ended up going back to eat the lunch she packed.

    I told my kids that we are not going out to eat for 5 months in order to meet a goal we are really trying to obtain. They were a bit dissapointed, but I hope the results of planning for financial goals and seeing the awesome results will rub off on them.

    Money Funk´s last post…On Track

  35. You guys did so good- I can’t believe you had that much leftover- what a tribute to your carefully planned month. Way to go, Rachel!

  36. Your no spend month has been such an inspiration. Great job! I can’t wait to try to add some of your ideas to our family’s spending.

    Amy´s last post…Songs from my Youth

  37. What a super picture!!

    Have you decided what kind of soup pot you are going to buy? I’d like to invest in a good one, but I’m just not sure . . .

    • I go for stainless steel cookware, since I’ve gradually switched over from non-stick. I look for 18/10 stainless steel with handles that have been bolted (riveted) on, and rims that will pour well. Most of my pots are from this Cuisinart Chef’s Classic line. Right now Amazon has a great deal on a full set ($100 for 10 pieces), and individual pieces can often be found at discount home stores like Marshall’s or TJMaxx.

  38. My husband and I are intrigued by this idea, and want to try it this fall. I read your background info about what you included and what you didn’t, which was helpful.

    We’re not sure whether to include CABLE in our amount. We do have cable service, and technically it’s not contracted, but it seems like it would be a huge pain to cancel and then start it back up at the end of the month. OUr cable includes internet, so it’s not likely we would KEEP it off if we cancelled it for the month.

    Would you consider cable a bill, or an optional potential no-spend item? I’m curious what you think. :)

    Erin G´s last post…IronMarmie Update: Tattoo Edition

    • I think I would keep it on. We don’t have cable, but for us the internet is an essential bill, and it does sound like a hassle to turn it off and then back on. You’ll have enough of a challenge with the food, gas, and other stuff.

  39. Spurred on by your and Sharon,s no spend achievements I,m going to attempt a no spend August

    Maureen´s last post…At Last Husbands On Board