NO SPEND JANUARY
I’ve been noticing a bunch of posts on Pinterest lately about people going through a whole month of spending only what is absolutely necessary. Since I am a bit of a shopaholic I thought that it sounded like a terrible idea. But the more I thought about it the more sense it made. I’ve decided to give it a try so here it is. My first ever No Spend January!
Before starting No Spend January I wanted to do a bit of research on how to go about it. Naturally I turned to Pinterest where there is a plethora of posts on how to make it through a month without making any unnecessary purchases. I think January will be a perfect month to cut back on my spending after the excesses of December. (You know what I mean, right?)
HERE’S THE PLAN
1. Set a budget for the month and stick to it. (This is something that I have had difficulty with in the past) 2. Work on a cash system (no debit purchases and ABSOLUTELY no credit purchases) 3. Write down every penny spent. This will help me keep track of my spending.
Of course I am not including any regular bill payments or my mortgage in the No Spend January challenge. These are fixed expenses and are non-negotiable. For the non-fixed expenses I’ve decided to limit myself to the following:
Groceries…$50.00 per week. I’m single and I don’t usually spend a lot on groceries so this one should be easy to accomplish. In addition to the No Spend January I am also starting a diet and fresh vegetables are expensive so we’ll see how it goes. My weakness is takeout food and I’m not looking forward to giving that up for a whole month. On the other hand, it should help a lot with the diet!
Gasoline…$30 per week. This is about average spending for me. Since I won’t be driving around to the shops as often maybe I’ll come in under on this one. We’ll see.
Dog food…$50.00. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you will have noticed that I have a Golden Retriever and she eats a lot! I may have enough dog food to last the month but I’m not sure so I will budget for it just in case.
That’s all I can think of for now but I’ll keep you posted on this No Spend January challenge as the month unfolds.
What about you? Do you think you could go through a whole month without any unnecessary spending?
This week I have spent $23.91. Big Win! The groceries came to $53.91 but I was able to use some PC Points (points given by my local grocery store if you purchase certain products) to reduce the bill by $30.00. I have been accumulating PC Points for a while and I thought that now would be the perfect time to cash some in. No money was spent on gasoline yet as I still have about half a tank of gas left. One purchase that wasn’t in the budget was some cold medication. I feel that this was a necessity though since it was cheaper than taking time off work because I’m sick. All in all I’ll say that week one was a success.
I had to put some gas in the car this week and the total came to $49.00 so WIN!! I was able to use PC Points again for my groceries so the total for food came in at $18.23. I’ve used up all of the points that I can now though so next week will be a different story. I’m finding that No Spend January is a lot more challenging than I thought it would be.
I have to say that at this point in the No Spend January challenge I was pretty fed up. Friday came around and I went out for supper with some friends. I know…I know. This was not in the budget. I did feel bad about spending money on something that was not a necessity but not for too long. So here’s the breakdown for this week. I was out of PC Points so I had to pay full price for my groceries and the total spent was $50.40. I had to buy some dog food and it came to $41.77.
HALLELUJA!!! The last week of this challenge. This week my groceries came to $63.15. I know I came in over the budgeted amount for this item but I did accumulate $10.00 worth of PC Points on this purchase so at some point in the future I will recoup $10 on my grocery bill.
I have not spent the total amount that I budgeted for in any category so Yay Me! The total budget for groceries for the month was $200 and I ended up spending $155.69 for a savings of $44.31. The budget for gasoline was $120 and I spent $49 for a savings of $71. The budget for dog food was $50 and I spent $41.77 for a savings of $8.23. My total savings for No Spend January came to $123.54 which is great! My real savings, though, came from stuff that I didn’t buy. Normally I pick up some takeout food at least twice a week and I frequently eat out once a week or more.
I’d say that the average I spend eating out is about $15.00 so by not purchasing restaurant food for a month I’ve saved close to $200. Staying out of the stores has saved quite a bit as well since I am somewhat of an impulse shopper.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED DURING NO SPEND JANUARY
No Spend January was certainly a learning experience and I’ll take some of these lessons with me going forward. The main thing I’ve learned is that I can make a budget and stick to it. It wasn’t easy by any means but I’ve learned that it is doable. Something else I’ve learned is that I don’t have to buy everything that I’d like to buy. That momentary gratification of retail therapy just isn’t as gratifying as seeing your bank balance grow.
I’ve learned to pause for a moment and ask if I really need this item or if I just want it. Thinking about where this item will go in my house and if I might already have something similar that will do the same job helps cut down on unnecessary purchases. I’ve also learned that I really do not enjoy denying myself anything but it can be done. So, will I do it again? Ask me next January but for now I think I’m done.