My household is doing no spend January…or Save-uary if you will. I spend so much time trying to budget and coordinate spreadsheets and balance our checking account, but I never feel like I get it just right. So we decided for the month of January to cut out all extraneous expenses to see what we’re actually left with at the end of the month, start the year off by putting some money in savings, and practicing some good old fashioned willpower.
We’ve decided that we will only be spending money on the essentials, so things that are absolutely necessary. As much as I would like this to include the entire Hearth and Hand Spring Line I was unable to justify it as “essential.” Things that we will be spending money on in January include:
- Household items/toiletries: i.e. paper towels, toothpaste, etc…sadly not the entire Hearth and Hand Spring Line
What We’re Cutting Out
Our plan is not to spend money on anything else. I know this seems likely an impossible task, but we’ve worked within a tight budget before. When were saving for the down payment on our house we were super strict with what we would and would not buy because we were both set on the long term goal of owning a home by 2017. Things we won’t be spending money on this month include:
- Eating out
- Clothes, accessories, home decor
There are a few things that we budgeted for in December that we didn’t get around to purchasing, but are essential and will be bought in January. For example, we need new tires for my husband’s car, especially now that it’s winter. In a similar vein we also need a snowblower because our driveway is massive and it takes hours to shovel it. So we’ll be taking care of those this week.
There are also a few events that we already committed to before our no spend agreement went into place and we’ll be honoring those commitments. None of them will be overly costly. I have a coffee date set up with a former colleague, there’s a wine consultant coming to my book club this month and I’ll look like a jerk if I don’t buy a bottle of wine from her, and we each have separate girls night out/boys night in planned the last weekend in January. This won’t add up to much and will still be significantly less than we would normally spend on extraneous items/activities in a standard month.
Other than that, we plan to stick to our essentials only plan! We have a few gift cards to local restaurants and the movies we’ll probably use if we start to get cabin fever, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to stay on track. I’m the person in our household that manages the bank accounts and paying the bills, so our funds are always fresh in my mind.
My strategy is to pay bills first and make do with whatever is left over. The way that our bills fall I typically end up sitting down three times to pay them on the 1st, 15th, and 22nd of the month. I’m excited to see the results of not only changing our spending patterns, but also seeing what money we do have left over at the end of the month that we can shift over to our savings account. Our big spending goal for the year is to do a lot of interior, exterior, and landscaping updates to our home. We’re going to do it all on a budget, but things still add up.
I’ll be doing a recap at the end of the month to update you all on how it went and assess any changes that I would make if we were to do it again.
Is anyone else doing a no spend month? Share in the comments!