7 Lessons Learned From Having a No Spend Month
I’m so excited for the new year. It’s less than two weeks away and it is a time of starting over and fresh. I feel like I need that in the area of budgeting. So I am setting some big financial goals for 2018. It’s time to really get things in order with my money both personally and with my business. I’m a big fan of doing no spend months to get your finances on track. My family did one again in September and I thought it would be a good idea to share the 7 lessons learned from having a no spend month.
I encourage you to try this in your home and I hope that these lessons learned from having a no spend month will motivate you to give it a try if you’ve never done so before. This especially helpful to do after a period of spending such as the holidays. To get back on track with your finances and get out of the spending habit.
1 The areas you struggle with may not be what you expected
Sometimes you have an area of your life where you tend to overindulge and want to spend money. I have a few of those areas, I like to buy books and coffees. When doing the no spend month in November I did ok not spending on those things but realized that my spending habits were a bit out of control and I was wanting to overbuy everywhere I went. This is why I did the challenge in November I needed to shock myself out of my spending habits before the Holidays.Ã‚
2. That the habit of spending money was more intense than I thought
Maybe you have a good handle on your spending and you are a master at sticking to a budget. If you are I should be learning from you. If you are like me and money is a bit of a struggle know that this blog is a judgment-free zone. I have made so many money mistakes and am continuing to try and learn and improve. If you want to learn more about having a no spend month I highly recommend the book 31 Days of living well and spending zero by Ruth Soukup.
I thought I wasn’t as bad at overspending as I learned I was during my last NSM. Suddenly I wasn’t supposed to spend money and I wanted to everywhere. I realized I had been doing that too much lately and the NSM woke me up to that issue. If you try doing a no spend month you may learn a little something about your money habits that you were unaware of.
3. You learn to make the most of what you have
One of the fun parts of a NSM is making the most of what you have. This month is a great opportunity to go through your freezer and pantry and get a little creative with what you have on hand. I always budget a small amount to spend money groceries each week but less than my normal grocery budget. Enough for fresh food, milk, etc. Then we eat what we have on hand to make that food stretch for the month.
You also learn to get creative in doing things around the house instead of going out to do things that cost money. I’m sure most of you have an endless amount of movies, toys, games, crafts, etc. that your family and kids can use around the house so going out to entertain them doesn’t need to be something you spend money on.
4. Not spending sets such a good example for kids
If you are worried about how your kids are with money. Maybe they always want to go out and spend money and get new things than doing this challenge will help. When we do a NSM my husband and I always make sure our daughter is aware we are doing it and that she is a part of it. We started doing them when she was 8 and now she’s 11.
You will probably have to remind them that you can’t do this or that because you aren’t spending extra money this month. Then help them find another activity that can be done instead. Either a free event or activity outside of the home or something fun and free at home. I think it’s great to remind kids that we can have fun without spending money. I know I need that reminder at times.
5. I realized I always had an excuse to want to spend money
Do you ever wonder where your money as gone? You feel like you are only buying what you need and sticking to your budget but somehow your money has disappeared. I was constantly feeling that way over the summer and in September and October. Then I did my NSM and realized that I was constantly excusing my spending.
Oh, I had a bad day I’m going to buy something. I have a headache and I don’t feel like making dinner let’s pick something up. There was always a “reason” I needed to spend on something. No wonder my money was gone I always had a reason to spend it and the worst part was it was never a lot at one time so I didn’t even notice. Once I had to stop my spending I started seeing all these excuses. Not that I still don’t struggle with this at times. Once you are aware of the problem though it’s easier to fix it.
6. You need to be prepared ahead of time of the rules
Having a no spend month works a lot better if you are prepared and establish the rules ahead of time. If you aren’t clear about what is allowed for spending than it becomes even harder to try and stick to your no spend month challenge.
Spending some money is part of life even during this month you’ll need fresh food, gas, bills, etc. These things are still going to be needed so set clear rules so that you will know what you can get without breaking the rules. These should be decided by the adults in the familyÂ
7. Having a no spend month good team building challenge in marriage
Finances can be a struggle in marriage. Check out my tips on talking about money with your spouse. I’ve also found that doing a financial challenge like this can get you and your spouse working together to save money. You and your spouse can keep each other on track and follow the rules while having a no spend month.
I hope you will give having a no spend month a try.