Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year. No Spend.

Well the holidays are over and a new year has begun.  That means the holiday bills are about to become due!  If you're feeling like you did a little too much "ho ho ho'ing" this holiday season like I am feeling, join me this month as my family attempts another "No Spend" month.

Some of our holiday spending
 The concept is simple.  The goal is to try to spend as little money as possible for the entire month.  Oh, but how fun would it be if the goal was to spend AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE.  Maybe someday when I fall into a billion dollars.  To start a "No Spend" Challenge is simple:  Set your goal amount, any amount you want really and try to stick with it as hard as it might be.  You exclude bills (if this isn't obviously) that are regularly and currently due.  I'm not 100 percent positive but I'm going to guess that my sons' day care centers would not appreciate me skipping payment for an entire month just because I'm in some "challenge" to not spend....or my mortgage company....or the insurance agent, you get the picture.

The goal is to reduce the day to day spending we all do.  You know, the little things that add up really fast like:  groceries, eating out, a nice yummy FourBucks (aka Starbucks) mocha, a Target run where I only go for one item but come home with at least twelve....I'm sure many of you can relate.  That's the spending that hurts the budget.  That's the spending we are trying to eliminate as much as possible for this month (well any month really). 

Us eating on the cheap back in 2012
 We haven't attempted a No Spend month since October 2012 so it is time once again to try to significantly reduce our spending for an entire month.  With all our holiday spending barely behind us, but the bills yet to come due, I thought the timing couldn't be better and I'm betting a lot of you are feeling the same way.  The goal last time was to only spend $250 for the entire month.  I ended up spending $418 ($254 once gas was excluded).  While we didn't meet our goal to only spend $250, we reaped the benefits to our bank account the following month anyway. This time around, we're aiming for $200 for the entire month (excluding gas).  Yep, I am a glutton for punishment.

That means my budget is $50 a week (I find it easier to focus on a week as a time but you do it your own way).  Now, $50 is less than I usually spend in groceries alone in a week's time so this isn't going to be easy.  There are lots of ways to cut back.  I'll go through some of my tips and tricks and how we get through the weeks (if we do!) in my upcoming posts.

I invite you all to join me and share with me your successes, challenges, and failures along the way.  I'll be doing the same. Tips from you on saving money are especially invited as you play along!  Trust me, even if you don't make your ultimate goal, any amount of cut back really helps the bank account and gets your financial picture back in order after a season of spending giving.  

If you need some inspiration, you can read about my previous No Spend Challenge here:

Week 1: Getting Starting & sharing a cheap recipe, oh, this was fun to read, I announced my pregnancy in one of these posts
Week 2: No Spend Challenges, we announced we were having a baby boy! 
Week 3:  I shared a cheap recipe with you all.
Week 4:  Wrap Up.  Successes, Challenges, Failures. 

Talk to you all real soon!  Now stay in and do something free for a change.  That's what we'll be doing! 

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