No Spending Month
Ever feel like your budget has gone off track sometimes when it comes to managing your finances? Declaring a “buy nothing month” is the perfect way to get back on track where you cut out all extras and spend as little as possible. Stop feeling guilty of over-spending on a holiday or engaging yourself in little bad habits, a no spend month can save you big time. Planning for 30 days is not difficult but putting the plans into action is. The best way to cope is picking a month with the least expenses. Considering the following guidelines can really help you to achieve your aim to re-set your spending habits.
- Say no to purchases except food, medical care and emergencies.
- Making a commitment to yourself that your grocery bill must be under $300 (or what you choose conservatively for your family) per month.
- Gift cards may be used provided it’s in the limit of purchases.
Essentials to remember:
- Cut back on all unnecessary items: Make sure you do not buy anything you can’t live without except food and medicine. If you spend on food, you will make it a point that you will reduce the food waste and use up what you can. Start from your refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Cook all the frozen food you have in the freezer. Use up all the cans of dried pasta and other non-perishable items about to expire. It’s ok to buy fresh food only if they are needed to prepare any recipe. Be creative with your meals instead of eating the same dishes. Try to mix and match the ingredients and make something delicious out of it. Experimenting is key and be open to different tastes and ideas for recipes. Plan out the meal with the ingredients and food you already have lying around. Don’t get lured by the magazine worthy meals, instead be economical and create out-of-the-box dishes with the simpler ingredients available.
- Rubbish out, savings in: For 30 days do your best to clear out all the racks, shelves and closets so you can be more organised not just for storing bulk buys but for general living. Instead of buying anything this month, sell the things you do not use. Fix what you can. Donate all the unwanted stuff you have and go about creating the cosy space you dreamed of. Find out some innovative ideas to create new solutions to old problems. Create the best out of waste, can you upcycle any old furniture or items? Be encouraged by someone who has faced this challenge and done it well, check out Pinterest for ideas. Just de-clutter the mess and create a space in your life to enjoy.
- Make the best out of waste: Gather all things which have been lying around for months and try to create something out of it. Use up all those shampoos, soaps and detergents. Sort through all your worn out clothes and make cleaning rags, toys or donate them. See if you could repurpose the existing clothes into new outfits. Read about different recipes and work out what you could make with the available ingredients. In short, dispose of what you already have before buying anything new.
- Wind up the unfinished task: For this no spending month, you can’t even think of spending money on entertainment or frivolous shopping so you’ll have ample free time. Finish that scrapbook that you were procrastinating about, get those special photos printed from your camera, complete any household chores or craft projects you’ve wanted to finish. Distract yourself from indulging in shopping or other expenses and spend the time doing something meaningful. Write a list of some of the things you’d like to do.
- No prior preparations required: There is no need to buy any extra groceries, stock up on items or do any preparations just to get ready for no spend month. Always keep in mind the purpose of no spend month is to use up what you already have, reduce waste and no unnecessary expenditure. Look carefully at what you already have and you will find everything under your roof not in a shopping mall or supermarket.
If 30 days sound scary to you and you think you can’t make it that long, start with 7 days. Use up what you have and commit to no shopping just for 7 days. Increase your tolerance and see the results. If you can make it work…. You can surely reach the finish line and feel great.