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.