January is No Spend Month at our house this year. We are doing it to bring our current spending more in line with our new one-income status and as a detox after the consumer-centric holiday season. Of course, buying less stuff will help us be more green and more resourceful as well. We usually spend about $500 on groceries each month. Instead, this month we will be budgeting to spend only $500 on all non-bill expenses including groceries, gas, household items, dining, entertainment, and yes coffee!
What We Spent
I won’t make you read any further before I tell you, we didn’t exactly meet our goal. In the last couple days of January, we spent a total of $59. We spent $41 at Whole Foods. $18 was for gas. As you may remember from the last post, we only had $35 available if we were to meet our budget. So close! Just $24 short. The combination of a snow storm and illness caused unexpected parking expenses during the month. I’m not sure where we could have made up the difference in the end. We just weren’t willing to eat beans every night.
How We Did It
Here are some of my favorite affordable recipes I made this month. For a complete list, check out my What’s for Dinner? board on Pinterest. I’m adding more all the time.
What We Learned
Doing this little experiment called No Spend Month was a good exercise for us. Sometimes it seemed so easy, it made us wonder where that extra $600 a month usually goes. Based on what we learned about our spending habits, we have set a long term budget for the year. It is not as strict as the one for No Spend Month, but now we know we can pretty easily spend less than we used to. We also learned we need to have at least some discretionary funds that are set aside each month for fun outings together and with friends. That way we plan ahead for spending, we don’t have to feel bad about doing it, but at the same time we don’t go overboard. No Spend Month was fun in its own way, but I’m thankful February is here!
Have you tried a No Spend Month, share your story in the comments!