If you’re still paying off the holidays, want to start saving for summer vacation or just need a little more wiggle room in your budget, we might have a solution for you: a no-spend month.
What’s that? A month where you try to avoid all non-essential spending — and you get to define what that is. February’s a great month to do this, since it’s the shortest one!
You don’t have to do this perfectly. Some spending may be unavoidable. But those of us who have done this before know it’s kind of magical:
- Not only do we save money, but we get creative finding no-spend workarounds when unexpected situations pop up.
- We get clearer what’s a necessity and what isn’t, which can really help us get a grip on our spending going forward.
- We appreciate that having any discretionary spending is a blessing. For many, every month is a no-spend month because they don’t have any extra money beyond what it takes to survive (and sometimes not even that).
I’ll go first. Here’s what I think my no-spend month will look like:
I’m planning to spend on perishables, gas and parking (if needed) and a couple of already-scheduled medical appointments.
I’m committing to cooking out of our pantry as much as possible, and buying only stuff like milk, fruit and vegetables. (That may finally encourage me to thaw out some of the mystery meat/other foods lurking in the freezer.)
I’m attending a two-day conference with a friend that includes most meals, so I’ll pack lunches, snacks and a water bottle. I shouldn’t need to buy gas, since it’s within the electric range of my Volt, but we’re carpooling anyway to be more ecological.
I already agreed to join another friend for lunch on another day, so I’ll probably use a prepaid card that still has ~$20 left on it.
My husband and I don’t make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, but my daughter and I will make a heart-shaped cake and cookies (which we’ll also share with friends). Everything we need should already be in our pantry and fridge.
I’ve taken Amazon, DealNews and other shopping apps off my phone and tablet (gulp) and unsubscribed from a bunch of deal-oriented newsletters.
But I’m making a stuff-I-want-to-buy-when-this-is-over list as well!
How about you? Are you in? Tell us what you plan to spend on, and what you don’t, and then keep us updated!