A few days late on this one but I wanted to tell you about a great challenge to get you out of a shopping habit and gain some perspective on what you already have.
Rachel at Small Notebook has been making July “No Spend Month” for four years. For her family this means setting aside a certain amount of money for groceries, household items, gas and fun. Fixed expenses and gifts for others aren’t included in her no spend month budget. I think this is a gem of an idea for getting back to basics and learning to enjoy what you already have.
Here are Rachel’s reasons for having a No Spend Month:
You’ll save money on what you might normally spend on dining out and impulse buys, but what you’ll really gain is a renewed perspective on how much you have and what you can do with it. You’ll get to be resourceful and creative when you can’t run out to the store to buy something.
There will be awkward times when we notice how much of our thoughts are consumed by stuff. This is not going to be easy, but it will be worth doing. – Rachel Meeks of SmallNotebook.org
We’re not doing a No Spend Month in my household but we are doing a Spend Less Summer. I’ve taken quite a few stabs at curbing spending in the last few years. When we were paying down debt I had a lot of intensity for cutting casual spending and not buying anything that wasn’t a need. While I still don’t buy a lot of stuff our casual spending certainly has some fat in it.
Chris and I want to enjoy all the fun the island has to offer in the summer months while using our train passes, horse tram passes and packing a picnic to do it. Increasing our savings would be a nice result but mostly we just want to get in the habit of making our fun be free activities. Never too early to teach Henry that fun does not equal spending money.
We’ve had some terrible weather in the last month (don’t get me started – it’s near wintery here!) but instead of paying for a drop-in at the play centre I’ve been bundling Henry up for some beach time. Even in the rain. He’s really enjoying playing in the sand right now and I’m enjoying the ease, and no cost, of having the beach so close. We have a lot of sand in the stroller and tracking into our apartment but it’s nothing the vacuum can’t fix.
Anyone tried a No Spend Month? Any revelations about your needs and wants?
PS. Andrea at a peak inside the fish bowl also does a no spend challenge. It’s in January and February to help you get over holiday over consumption and she calls it a shopping embargo.