November and December could be accurately summed up by that emoji of cash with wings flying away. . . right? Between a birthday, winter travel, The Giving Tree, Christmas, and the general stress of all of that sending me to the arms of local restaurants far too often; We end up in January feeling a little behind.
Enter the Whole30 equivalent for your bank account. No-Spend January. Except in this one;
- Alcohol = Those unexpected trips to target
- Gluten = Drive through coffee
- Dairy = Those clicks through Old Navy’s unending sale emails
- Grain = Tossing chocolate bars and nail polish into my shopping cart at the store
It’s one of those challenges that always seems a little ludicrous and pointless when we get started, but by February I always am breathing a little easier, and feeling far more capable of setting an intention rich budget and really bringing it to fruition.
What does a “no spend” month really mean?
It means still spending on the necessities. And knowing that you’re an adult who gets to decide what makes the cut.
Here is our list!
- Eating out (this includes buying “eating out” food from the grocery store on a whim)
- Coffee out
- Online shopping
- Extras at the grocery store; chocolate bars, alcohol, random treats. Anything that isn’t planned. (This is a use your own discretion, and how ‘strict’ you’d like to be)
- Entertainment; shows, concerts, movies, ect.
- All monthly bills (for us, this also includes Netflix… know thyself, right?)
- Gift Cards (we usually save a few gift cards from the previous year and Christmas time so we have a couple of fun outings. But some years we don’t have any so it’s a no-go)
What happens? Questions?
Well, usually exactly what you’d expect. A little frustration for 30 days, a lot of realizing “wow… I buy a lot more than I realize.” and then by Feb 1 I’m very ready for a meal out, and very surprised by how much we’re able to save when we really just go for it.
Does it have to be January? No! Not at all. In fact, we often do this a couple times a year. But we’ve found that January is the easiest for us. With no major holidays, no birthdays, and usually very low travel, it’s an easier month for us.
Can you plan for spending? Yes. But. . . be thoughtful, and don’t add in what you don’t need. I sometimes will know about a commitment I don’t want to bow out of (a friends birthday dinner, a meeting at a coffee shop) ahead of time and will purchase a gift card the month prior, or just plan to attend. This month I had (on the first) a dinner I really wanted to go to, so I just did and started our no-spend on the second, and it’ll end on the 30th instead of the 31’st because we have some travel plans. It’s your deal! So making it fit is paramount to finding success.
Do you end up spending a TON after?? Ah, that desire to ‘shopping spree!’ was a big fear of mine too. To combat it, the first few times we did this, I wrote down what I wanted to buy ALL month long. Made it a list. And then after the 30 days I crossed out anything I didn’t really care about buying anymore, and put the left overs in order of what I most wanted to still purchase. And? If that thing wasn’t exceptionally expensive, I bought it. Quality over quantity, in action.
Do you have any other questions? Pop them into the comments or on FB/IG and I’ll add them to the post for you! Are you a budgeter? Want to be? I’m working to be more thoughtful about budgeting! We have some big goals for this year, and it’s going to take some more thoughtful work and finagling to make them work!