First things first: have you done the Own Your Financial Numbers Challenge yet? That might be the most important thing you do for your financial health this whole month, so if you’ve put it off, go do it. No really, we’ll wait. It’s that important.
Phew. Okay, now that that is done, how ya feeling? Pretty solid? Glad to be No Spending?
Here we are, five days in to this No Spend Challenge. Has it been harder than you thought it would be? Easier? Have you slipped up or forgot you were No Spending? If so, that happens periodically. Just get back on that financial horse and ride, partner. You can do this, and there’s a lot of money still to Not Spend before the month is out.
This is a short “week” since we started on Monday, but Friday is a good day to do the wrap-up, so we’ll go with it. My weekly disclosure was going to be pretty straightforward: nothing.
Except then my daughter came home yesterday and said, “Mom! It was picture day today!” and I said, “Oh, really? No wonder you look so cute!” And then I said, “Hey, wait…this is the first I’ve heard of Picture Day. Don’t they need you to send in money for that?”
Then she handed me a huge wad of crumpled-up papers from some wormhole in her backpack. After I flattened out the relevent School Picture Order Form I saw:
Payment due October 4th
Photo CD: $35
No Late Orders Accepted Without Late Fee.
Oh, crap. Really? I have to pick between No Spend and commemorating the only third grade year my kid will ever have?
So I wrote the check for $35 and told my kid she was responsible for any late fees. Then I emailed the photographers and fell upon their kindness and they said it was no problem to send in an order a day late.
So, Week One: $35
Let us know what your spending this far is, and any areas that have tripped you up.
Attention Fellow Bloggers: Pimp Your Blog Here
If you are a blogger who is recording your own journey No Spending, please leave your website info below in the comments. Maybe link to a relevant No Spend Month post you’ve written. The more community we get involved in this challenge, the more support we all have as we work to ensure our spending is in-line with our values. Save along with me and blog along with me.
Are you so geared up to pare down that these Mini-Money challenges can’t come fast enough? Here’s a few things to check out over the weekend.
Jump Start Savings with No-Spend Month at Bankrate.com talks about why real financial experts agree – No Spend Month works to help you permanently change your relationship to money.
Mr. Money Mustache – my personal favorite Financial Guru, MMM swears frequently, is highly opinionated and does not tolerate any complainy-pants behavior. He may also be the most inspirational money blogger out there – he and his wife figured out how to maximize income early while holding their expenses way down. By resisting “lifestyle creep” Mr & Mrs Money Mustache retired in their early 30s to raise their son and pursue their passions. Warning: if you read his entire site front to back, you will probably decide you want to embark on No Spend Life and retire in 5 or 7 years.
So, how’s your experience been so far?0
I decided my challenge for October would be to not spend any money eating out, and to keep grocery store spending as low as possible. I think I did ok for the first week. My post about it is here.
As for school pictures, they still take a shot and put it in the yearbook, but we don’t buy any of them. They are, in our opinion, overpriced for what we would get. We end up going to Olan Mills or a similar studio. We get a better price AND better pictures.
Miser Mom says
I’m with Annie (on the school photo thing). We do “home photos”, which my children generally prefer. If they wanted school photos, I suppose I’d spring for them, but in fact, they think their school photos come out ugly. (I describe how I pose my kids at http://miser-mom.blogspot.com/2011/09/school-picture-day-is-coming.html).
Elizabeth F says
Wow, $35 school pictures? We never got more than the basic and that was about $7.
We’ve joined in with N.S.O. and will be doing weekly updates, thanks for the inspiration 🙂
Carolyn @ Krazo Acres Farm
Mel at Pollo Loco says
omg Erica….I have been sucked into Mr. Money Mustache…I can’t stop.
Yeah, I know. It’s like frugality crack. I’m a junkie too.
He Erica, I’m frugalman on the MMM board and did the google doc spreadsheet from his latest post comparing high spending middle class family against kickass family. You’ve got a great blog here, congratulations! I’m 62, and too late for me to retire early, but retire I will at age 66. I brown bag my lunch every day to work, don’t eat out very often, don’t do Starbucks, etc.
We’ll retire with 2 paid for homes (probably will sell our main home and move to our country home), and about $300k invested. That, 2 social security checks, 1 pension check for $800 and a low expense level mean we will do just fine.
I feel so grateful for all you bloggers that are teaching us how to do more with less. When you read MMM, you realize that at a 4 percent withdrawal rate, you need 25 times your annual expenses to reach financial independence just on your savings. The smaller your annual expenses, the less you need!
Anisa/The Lazy Homesteader says
Update is up… I was weak and gave into temptation this week: http://lazyhomesteader.com/2012/10/05/no-spend-october-week-one/
Rebecca N says
While I am not able to join you in the no spend October because of college trips for my daughters I look forward to reading your posts! I usually do a no spend January, but this year I went into February with it, and it changed my entire outlook on how I spend. Even now in October, which is usually a heavy spending month for me, I find myself questioning everything I spend money on. This has been the best year financially for us because of the habits I made at the beginning of the year. Good luck to you all!
I usually do this on Mondays on my blog, but I can adjust for this! This week has been hard because the dog needed to go the vet and I bought a cheap car for my daughter. The vet bill was $106 and the car was $750. The rest of this month will definitely need to be tightened up and no spending allowed except for necessities and groceries if needed. Thanks for doing this!
Only 5 days and my husband and I are really enjoying this experiment! For year now, we have been spending a lot of money, because, well, we could. Then our financial situation drastically changed and we really had trouble adjusting the lifestyle we were used to. This project has really motivated us to make the changes we knew we needed to, and have been trying to make for a while now. Just “cutting back” seemed to be less effective than not spending at all. Well, we have the necessities that we spend on, but we are really cutting back on groceries and dining out. Plus that mindless spending on a cappuccino here and there, and a snack on the go. I am using up all the food in my freezer and pantry that has been sitting around, and I don’t let fresh food go to waste. It’s hard when I’m tired after chasing a toddler all day, and all I want to do is order out. We are saving our dining out money for when we REALLY want it…like date night! 🙂 Eating out is certainly going to be the most challenging for us, but week 1 wasn’t too bad, and we are having a lot of fun. Thanks for doing this!!!
Dogs or Dollars says
No Spend, you say? All over it.
Elizabeth F says
Whoa, that is way lots of meat!
Firefly Mom says
Yep, we’re participating! We’re also doing the SNAP challenge for a week (which I wrote about a few days ago), so this challenge was perfect timing! http://www.packofhungrysnails.blogspot.com/2012/10/no-spend-october-week-1.html
I’ve updated – it wasn’t a perfect week by any stretch, but it wasn’t too terrible, and I’ve been thinking more about my spending habits and goals, which is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. This coming week will involve some grocery shopping, though, so we’ll see how that goes.
Thanks for all those who posted links to your blogs, I’m always looking for imspiration and reading that others are trying to accomplish similar things can really brighten my day. We have a super busy month and I haven’t sat down to work out an actual budget, but figured I do the challenge as best I can anyway. So far I’ve been good to not buy anything except food and have managed to make menus and grocery lists and stick with it. I’d rather work on progress than perfection and will most likely go back and do some of the other parts of the challenge at a later date. I have a general idea of my networth, but it would be good to take a look at where we are now, since it’s been a while since I’ve pulled all the numbers together. I will also be going back to itemize my credit card payments so I can have a better idea of where my money is going, but I don’t think there will be any surprises there either. In the mean time, I’m paying with cash from our allowances to dine out and cooking at home every weekday and weekend days when we are home. It’s a start.
Well, I can see what I’ll be reading over the next few days 🙂 Great to see so many people getting into the challenge.
My status update (which is also my explanation of our challenge post) is at http://kayoz.typepad.com/blog/2012/10/october-is-no-spend-month-first-status-report.html
We didn’t do too badly, but I don’t think we will be able to limit our food budget as much as I had hoped. It’s just not the right time of year for us (Spring & School holidays). My goal for this week: a proper freezer/fridge/pantry audit and menu plan.
Well, as a permanent No Spend aficionado I’m doing super 🙂 But, I have to confess, over the weekend there was this super festival for organic and locally produced products and I splashed 4 Euros on one Porcini mushroom (yep, just one, as they are very expensive), 2 Euros on a fresh organic strudel, and 5 Euros on organic Himalayan salt, as it is very hard to find here.
There were lots of cute clothes made by artisans from organic local wool, cotton, etc; cute totes made from material, scarfs, handmade jewelries and tons of other stuff but I resisted 🙂 Pat on the shoulder.