So that’s why I bought fitbit bands in several colors? By the time they came, I forgot I ordered them. But I have no excuse for my fitbit clashing with my clothes. Also, shipping was free. Free shipping interferes with my good judgment.
So excited to join this challenge! My bank accounts can definitely use a refresh after all of my holiday spending. My biggest weakness as a work-from-home writer who lives alone is that I love going to restaurants and bars so that I can socialize. I’m planning to cut out these spending categories this month, with my only exception being the weekend of Feb. 21-24, when I’ll be out of town for a friend’s bachelorette celebration.
In order to do this, I’m going to make sure I buy groceries that are easy to prepare so that I don’t succumb to laziness. I’m also going to find frugal ways to hang out with friends, like hosting a movie night or going snowshoeing!
This. 100%, this! Hopefully I’ll learn some new tricks this month to help me say “not now” more often.
Glad to be here. It reminds me of the message boards of yore, only easier to read.
Kelsey: My frugal mantra has always been, “I save where I can so I can spend where I want.” Hope you can find that balance as well.
Hope everybody’s frugal February is off to a great start! I made a mad, last-minute dash to Bed Bath & Beyond last night to exchange our Soda Stream cylinder…try as I might, I couldn’t turn bubbly water into a necessity, so I wanted to get it done before we officially launched.
I hope you all will check in occasionally and let us know how it’s going!
We are heading to Las Vegas next week for a quick weekend away. I feel like I may not be a good bet on a no-spend month, but I have noticed that app for places like Starbucks make it much easier for me to spend money at those places than if I have to go in, order, and pay at the register. I’ve definitely been coddled the last couple of months with the SB app in particular, so I’m going to commit to trying to not reload my Starbucks account in February (overlooking that LV trip…).
@mmmflory if you want to talk meal planning, I’d be happy to! I plan three weeks of meals & shopping lists at a time so I don’t have to do it often, and it has made a huge difference in knowing what we are going to eat and being strategic at the store.
I’m late to this thread but so excited about this. I’m feeling distinctly tapped out after just a couple of months of holiday spending, a mini-vacation, too much dining out and adopting a dog, which comes with so many costs beyond the adoption fee (supplies, vet visits, insurance, registration, behavior classes! )
@Chanelle_Bessette I so relate to this - I love working from home but definitely compensate for the lack of socialization with too many meals and drinks out. If I could abstain for even a month, that would amount to a significant bonus in my bank account.
I’ve also received Amazon deliveries that I couldn’t remember the contents of, @Bev I got a little addicted to the fun of receiving packages when I moved over a year ago and justifiably had to order lots of stuff for the new apartment (this is not the case anymore).
I’m feeling especially inspired by “If you can say “not now” to a lot of things, you can say “yes please!” to the ones that really matter,” @anewlife1114 I’d really like to take a trip or two later this year but have a ways to go before that’ll be doable. With that goal in mind, I’m going to:
- Avoid dining out (making an exception for Valentine’s Day )
- Buy nothing online except household staples
- Use gift cards I received over the holidays for necessities, not splurges (for example, using my Target gift card for groceries, shampoo, etc. instead of new clothes)
Here goes nothing!
Wow, @sara. You and I have very different ideas about gift cards. One arrived in the mail by way of apology for a customer service problem, and I was immediately relieved that I would feel no guilt about teensy little splurges. Without those, this effort may be toast. But today was a clear blue skies warmup day (like spring, but with no allergies). On days like this, I feel like my needs are few.
Also, the first mystery meat I picked was a frozen sirloin roast. So at least on Day One, it’s not as bad as the night before when I wanted to run out and buy flowers.
It’s “mental accounting,” I know, but windfalls like that just beg to be splurged, @Bev! I’m using a similar mental workaround for my lunch date with a friend this weekend. Yes, using a prepaid card to eat out is spending, but I’d most likely just let the thing languish without using it otherwise. (Still feeling a little pain from letting an AT&T prepaid bonus card expire…and that had $75 on it!)
If anyone has a meal planning app or site they like, I’d love to hear about it. My Instant Pot has helped enormously with the “it’s five o’clock, what the heck is for dinner” blues, but I’d like to do a better job of planning a bit farther ahead.
@lweston My go-to menu planning is to grab a pile of cookbooks and a stack of paper and map out meals while watching TV. It’s definitely not high-tech, but it forces me to use the cookbooks I already own!
That’s old school! Love it.
I’m in as well! I do have a trip coming up in a couple weeks that was already planned but it’s with family so no hotel/restaurant spending. Only anticipating parking at the airport.
I saw another idea as I was scrolling through some of these comments to challenge myself not to use my credit card. This is a huge one for me so I think I’ll attempt that too.
Liz, how long ago did the prepaid bonus card expire? I had a rebate card I forgot about until shortly after it expired. I called and the nice customer service rep issued me a new one with my remaining balance on it. Totally unexpected!
A no spend month is just what I need - I’m in.
@sara: With an eye toward paying for that trip, here’s a link to “Challenge Yourself to Save,” from a personal finance book. It details more than 30 ways to squeeze savings from even the tightest of budgets. Some of the tactics can result in bigger savings, but even a dollar here and a dollar there can add up.
Welcome taylorflynn603! Glad to have you in our community and in the no-spend challenge. Good for you for joining.
I spent $3.99 this weekend (confession already) watching Groundhog Day. But that is pretty little for weekend entertainment. And it came from rewards money in my account, so it felt almost like not spending.
Oh, I tried, @make_do_mom! I’m pretty good at making a (polite) fuss! In recent years, I’ve gotten my daughter’s airline points restored after ignoring several emails from Alaska Airlines, plus 50% off on a hotel suite because the front desk wasn’t answering calls.
AT&T had this thing where the rebate card said it was good “thru 01/15” (for example). The card actually expired on Dec. 31. 2014. I called and then wrote to AT&T pointing out how misleading this was and they would. not. budge.
Come to think of it, I probably should have written a column about it!
Anyway, hope you all had a great no-spend weekend! I met my friend for lunch as planned, and when she heard about our no-spend challenge, she paid for my meal. (I’ll get hers the next time.)
I also helped my teenaged daughter reorganize her room and we both lamented her seen-better-days nightstand. Then I remembered the black-and-white Fallout Boys flag she’d been planning to donate. Draped it over the nightstand and ta-da! It works great with her room decor and most importantly, she loved it.
I did the meal-planning for the week (thought of you, @emily!) and put a few future Ikea purchases on wish list.
How about the rest of you? How’d your weekend go? Any challenges to share? Or triumphs?
Wellllll, I slipped up on the very first day! Friday, Feb. 1. Turned out, my husband and I didn’t plan for cooking dinner that night, so we ended up walking over to the Salvadoran restaurant near us. Yes, we went out to eat on the very first day of No-Spend February! (An opening day celebration…?!?)
It’s a reminder to me to always check in with my husband about dinner before we’re both hungry, and when there’s still time to go to the store.
That said, at the restaurant we each ordered three pupusas, which only cost $2.50 each!, and we each took one home, which was perfect for lunch the next day. But, true confessions here, we also ordered a beer each But that was the only money we spent this weekend, other than buying an absolutely essential $2.50 rubber ring for our bathtub overflow valve (which… when those things degrade you get leaks so, yes, essential) and going to the grocery store so we could get back to cooking rather than going out!
Back on track…
Good for you @acoombes. We had “I wonder what’s in that freezer bag someone did not label” for dinner last night. Pot roast and vegetables. My weekend confession was $3.99 to watch Groundhog Day on Amazon Prime.
I got an invitation to a baby shower that’s before end of month. Oops. Knitting. Checking gift closet for frames.
How’s everyone else doing?
A few days into no-spend February and already encountered a few challenges. Most stemming from the fact that I did not consult my husband before joining this challenge. Ooops!
He’s been supportive, but a little annoyed that I won’t go out to eat with him. The other night he offered to take me out to dinner — his treat — but I decided that would be against the spirit of the challenge.
For context, we keep the bulk of our finances separate, except for recurring bills and a budgeted amount for savings, groceries and “incidentals” (ie - going out). Occasionally, one of us treats the other, but most nights out come from that joint budget.
The other major challenge: He told his friends that we’d host a Super Bowl party. This was a few days before the challenge started, but all of the spending would fall in those first few days of February and DEFINITELY would not be essential.
We stuck to a very set menu using things we already mostly had on hand – ground beef and chicken wings in the freezer — but did have to make a Costco run for other supplies. Our shopping list was only five items and we didn’t deviate, even though we were very tempted by giant boxes of frozen gyoza and mini tacos. We didn’t overbuy, so we don’t have a ton of leftovers that will ultimately go to waste.