Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The No Spend Month Challenge

It's a couple days before the No Spend Month Challenge begins, but I thought I would share a little bit about it just in case you were interested or perhaps you might even want to do it too. A couple years ago I came across a blog called Small Notebook, the same blog that I learned how to compost with worms, add clear pictures to Craig's List, and the reason I bought the space saving booster seat as opposed to a high chair and Bryan's french press. It is one of my favorite blogs to read! I am not sure how I found it in the first place, but I started reading it just after Rachel's second annual No Spend Month. I found the idea of only spending $250.00 on anything they would buy for themselves intriguing. Then last year the time came around for No Spend Month again. I considered trying, but to be honest, I was probably just too greedy. This year though, I wanted to give it a try.

Here's the details:

Our family is going to try to spend less than $250 for 31 days. We (meaning mostly me, but Bryan is somewhat willingly going along with it) want to be more mindful and disciplined about the money we spend. We are going to only spend money for basic essentials this month.

Rachel, from Small Notebook, said it perfectly last year, "We’re constantly told about things that will make our lives better, and yes, sometimes they do. But that daily message to buy, have, and make things nicer never stops, it consumes our time, and it can make us not see what we already have. We’ll take a break from trying to add more."

Our typical monthly food/Wal-mart (since I usually buy everything at Wal-mart) budget is $300.00. That includes all soap, shampoo, paper towels, cleaners, food, etc. We usually have a separate allotment for eating out ($50.00) and then a miscellaneous allotment ($85.00) for things that come up like home repairs, flea medicine (ugggghhhhh, they are horrible this year), co-payments at the doctor, etc. Here is the kicker though, we only budget from Bryan's paycheck, so that means all that I make from tutoring is pretty much fair game to use as we please or used for extra savings. My tutoring money goes to support things bought at the farmer's market, additional meals eaten out which still is not many at all, and other luxuries. So the $250.00 tight budget is going to be tough but hopefully it will keep us accountable. Already we know of a few events we would like to attend this month, but we might just have to do some sacrificing.

Our $250.00 will be going toward anything we would buy for ourselves which include:

  • Groceries
  • Eating out
  • Clothing
  • Household items
  • Entertainment
Areas of expenses NOT included:
  • Mortgage, insurance, and bills
  • Health expenses
  • Work expenses (if any)
  • Savings and investments
  • Tithes and gifts
  • Gas expenses
Here's our refrigerator/freezer and our food cabinets:

We are starting the month off with a pretty good supply of food because I had to go to the grocery store today, but it was not a grocery trip that was out of the ordinary. I spent $102.00 today. We do a great job of eating up almost everything before restocking the fridge and the two cabinets of food, but I think we might have to do some major stretching this month. We'll see. I plan to update often about where our money is spent. So stay tuned to our attempt to hopefully learn to appreciate what we do have.

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