It’s July and that means our No Spend Month Challenge is in effect. If you’ve been following along on Facebook or on the blog, you know that June is a spendy series of weeks for us and July seems like a natural month to reign in hard on the spending. That’s where NSM comes into play.
Homebrew Husband and I have successfully completed two No Spend Month Challenges before. The first was last August, just before the our son was born and Nick took a month and a half off of work. The second was last January as an economic anecdote to the holidays. August was harder, but only because it was our first challenge; in January the garden didn’t contribute as much to the food bill and it was much harder to walk everywhere so we spent more on gas.
Here are our No Spend Month Challenge rules:
- Medical expenses, recurring monthly bills (mortgage, insurance, water, electricity, garbage, etc.) and recurring kids activities (for us, swim lessons and Spanish lessons) are exempt from the NSM budget. (Hair balm is not a medical expense.)
- Everything else, including food, gas and discretionary spending (clothing, dining out, lattes, movies, books, nightlife, bar tabs, dry cleaning, music, family fun, etc.) is included in the NSM budget.
- If an honest-to-goodness emergency crops up (the car breaks down, spouse gets shipped to Afganistan unexpectedly, you go into labor, etc.) do what you need to do, challenge be damned.
- An accurate running total of expenditures must be kept. In other words, if you spend a dollar, you write that expenditure down at time of purchase. For everything. If you decide to round to the nearest dollar, round up and down honestly. The challenge is only with yourself, so cheating’s extra dumb.
We're not doing NSM but we did start our "no buying any food" today, which will go until October 1st. Our fridge is frighteningly empty.
Do you factor in the cost of re-stocking the freezer and all? I mean the expense would catch up with you in another month wouldn't it? Just wondering how it all works out. Great idea!
I'm in… Don't think it will be much different than a usual month tho 🙂
Ahh if it wasn't summer break with two kiddo's at home I would be all over this! My spending is a little unpredictable due to entertaining my two little money pits. I love this idea and will keep an eye out for when you do it again!! Really love this, looking forward to following your adventure here and being inspired by you =)
Just Nick says
@Julia – we are trying to make no-spend a twice-yearly tradition. Once in January as an "antidote" to the crazy holiday season and again in July to recover from our inevitably crazy June (we have something like five family birthdays that month). I find it easier to belt-tighten, clean up my eating, and celebrate what I already have after going through one of these festival seasons.
Erica/Northwest Edible Life says
Hilaire-My feeling is, if someone is absolutely perfect with their budgeting and menu planning and doesn't go in for "extras" without thinking, then, yeah, NSM is basically moving the money around between months cause they are going to make it up somewhere. However, I think most people have a greater "slop" factor than that, and NSM can sort of force the rest of us to use what we already have and get creative. Example: my mom bought a quarter-cow and was going to throw away a cross-rib roast because she didn't really know how to cook it. We ended up making a great balsamic/red wine braise with it and it was great….NSM can encourage that kind of using what you have thing.
For us, with meat we buy large quantities in bulk only a few times a year, so our meat dollar is spent in big chunks anyway and 9 or 10 months out of the year we spend little to no money on meat anyway….but this is one of those variables people definitely need to factor in for themselves when coming up with their "number" and goaks.
Doing good til the Canner pressure gauge broke…lol… but I am thinking that $21.99 for a new gauge will pay for itself in the food put up… Goose and elk bones/shredded meat from a friend's freezer, and fresh fish so far 🙂 All canned!
This is making me think about spending a bit more – but also couldn't pass up the 10% 1st Tuesday of the month discount for seniors at Freddies on the Freddies/Kroger brands… so probably not going to do as well as some of you! but that's ok! Keeping track of it is good for me!
*meaning..this is making me think about WHAT I am spending for a bit more…. not about spending more… sorry about that….
leslie @ glenn family gardens says
Fudge I need to go on a "stop buying produce you have an acre garden you goober" month. My problem is, we sell at our local farmers market and there is so much good stuff there, that even though I have way to much produce as it is, I still want to try what everyone else has! I really like your blog btw. You can check mine out if you get a chance. That would be dandy 🙂