Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Spend Month

A couple of months ago, I came across a pin for a No Spend Month. I was definitely intrigued by this so I pinned and later went and read it. This family of three lived on a budget of $250 for a month, after their bills. While that is incredible, I knew that there was no way that would fund us for a month. For us, not having gasoline in our car isn’t an option because we have to go to work.

That being said, we sat down on June 28 and decided to re-analyze our budget. Our budget month is set based on our pay periods, so it’s not a true month. For this experiment, our month started on Friday, June 29, and ended on Thursday, July 26.
We talked and came up with what we felt was a reasonable amount for us to live on for a month and then divided that by 4 weeks. This became an exercise of needs vs wants.
Week 1: We finished the week with $0.05 to spare! It can become very easy to justify things we need when in reality, we don’t. This week was an adjustment in rearranging our thinking. Of course, the third day we did this, my car got a screw in the tire. Unfortunately, we had to buy a new tire. But, this is what our emergency fund is for so we didn’t put that into our budget. More on this later.
Week 2: We went over by $3.44. While I was disappointed in this, Reed needed teething tablets. I didn’t want him suffering one more night for the sake of $3.44. During this week, we got pretty excited because we could really see what this was doing for our bank account.
Week 3: We spent $9.00 more than we budgeted. We also deposited an additional $95.00 to our account from lessons that Zach does that we didn’t need for anything else. The $9.00 overage was spent on two uniform shirts for Ava. I came across two red shirts that were the right color red (they have to be specific) and there were two left in her size. Not buying them that day meant I risked going back and them not being there and buying them later for more.
Week 4: This week. I won’t lie. We got a little lazy and went to dinner Wednesday evening. We’d had a long day, we were tired and just didn’t feel like cooking. We ate for $16. I also had to buy a wedding gift. So, we went over by $34.00. And really, I’m ok with that.
Even though we had one week where we actually stayed under the amount we set, I think just the practice of this was incredibly beneficial for us. We didn’t know at what amount we would need so it was a guess. It seemed pretty close! And while in a way, I feel as though we failed, I am SO PROUD of us for being so diligent.  And truthfully, counting the deposits made from additional income we don’t count on, we finished $49.00 under the target we set for the month!!!
At the end of the month, we had an extra $450.54. Awesome! The amount we budgeted to live on didn’t include the money we put into savings or investments or any of our monthly bills like our house payments, tithe, and utilities. It did include our groceries, gas, diapers, etc. So that $450.54 is extra money we have to put somewhere else. Part of it will go for the tire we had to buy for my vehicle which means we aren’t dipping into our emergency fund.
All in all, I have to say this was an extremely successful project. In fact, we have already decided we are going to live like this from now on.
Doing it the way we did, we didn’t feel deprived. We still lived our life and still had fun, just cut out unnecessary spending. We went through our freezer and pantry and basically cleaned it out! We had one week where we didn’t go to the store at all!
One thing I’ve seen from this – as the month went on, I saw things I wanted. And in the past, I probably would have purchased some of them. None of them were necessities. It’s funny. My birthday is coming up in about a month and usually Zach asks me what I want and I always tell him I don’t really need anything or I don’t really want anything. Well, I have a list this year! :) Funny how that works!
We are definitely going to re-work our actual budget to incorporate our new limits and I’m excited to see how this extra money will help us meet our financial goals. If you feel like you can make changes, I encourage you to give this a shot. Any little bit saved will help! I’m by no means an expert but if you have any questions, feel free to ask!


  1. this is awesome!!! 450 saved that month - wow!!!
    curious, did you make a separate budget for the grocery store, gas, diapers, etc. or just make it a goal to keep them under a certain number? also, do you allot for things such as "gifts" or is there and "extra" fund or a certain amount that each of you are allowed to spend (even if it's little) so you can have a little splurge like a cup of coffee or something?
    i'll be honest...i am the WORST budgeter in the history of the world. like, you'd probably be shocked (or maybe not - ha!) but i am SO interested in it. i just can't figure out all the in's and out's on my own. i need someone to do it for me and then i have no problem sticking to it.
    congrats to y'all and what a great example of being good stewards of your money!

  2. This is awesome!!! $450 extra I amazing!!!! I've been doing much better but it seems there is always SOMETHING, such as wedding gifts, bdays etc. But just being more 'aware' has really helped AND, I started a list for myself and Kal too ;)
    Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement to keep it up!

  3. With our lives doing some MAJOR changing soon I hope that we are able to do this. We spend countless amounts of money eating out and it frustrates me. Fast food is an addiction. No lie. $450 is absolutely wonderful!

    If you have anymore budgetting tips you would like to post about, PLEASE post about them! Thank you!

  4. That is great. I have been tempted to do something similar to that. We are lazy with cooking and eat out too much. We out dinner, which turns into eating out lunch too since there is no left overs. it sure does add up!


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