Monday, February 2, 2015

A No Spend Month

For a few years I have been seeing this trend and I have been trying to wrap my head around how it would work for us. People will choose a month and then declare it a "no spend" month.  They do it for many reasons; save money, learn lessons about their spending, clean out the pantry, test their food/supply storage, or desire to spend more time with family.

The basic premise:
A no spend month is a month where you do not spend any money. It can be as drastic as not spending any money on anything including food, clothing, necessities, and even on gas.  It can be a month where there is no spending money that is not accounted for.  So budgetary items like food and gas can be budgeted and spent during the month, but there has to be a plan.

I have read where families will gather and buy all the items including food that they need for the month prior to the month beginning and then not spending anything during that month.  To me, this just doesn't make any sense.  If I am spending a ton of money before the month begins then how am I accomplishing my goal?

Speaking of which......what IS the goal here?

  • saving money?
  • figuring out where our money goes?
  • looking at impulse buying?
  • learning to appreciate what we have?
  • stop wanting everything we see?
  • learning to have patience?

If we are saving money then how is spending a ton of money prior to the month saving it?  If we are saving money and then using up what we have during the no spend month and then buying a ton of stuff the next month saving it?

Currently, we don't shop much. We don't eat out much. Our food budget is pretty low. We are slowly building up a food storage so we don't need to test that yet.  We have a monthly budget.  Food, gas, bills, etc.  This stays the same most months.  We budget for upcoming things like kids activities, birthdays, holidays, etc.

For our family, we have settled on a happy medium. Part of this decision comes from that fact that we have already been not spending for the past several months anyway. Part of this decision comes from necessity. Most of this decision comes from looking at our spending the past month.  We have spent nickels and dimes in two specific areas that we could take a vacation from this month.

This month (February) we are having a No Spend month for crafty stuff, home decor, and bikes.  Yes, bikes.  My son and husband have a small bike hobby.  Right now they have about 40 bikes that they are working on fixing up and selling them.  It is the middle of winter.  We don't need any more bikes. So this month there is no money for bikes in our budget.  There is also no money in the budget for my hobbies either. A quick look at our checking account shows approximately $260 in spending in these two areas. This does not include when we used cash to pay for items.  My goal is to save approximately $250 this month.

Of course there are rules!
1. No spending any money from our budget on these items.
2. If you sell one of your items you may use that money on purchasing other items from the list.  For example, if my son and husband sell a bike then they can use that money they earned from the sale to purchase another bike.  If I sell something "crafty" then I can use that money to purchase other crafty stuff.

Already two days into this month we have a bit of "jockeying" money to get what we want/need.

I have a scrapbooking workshop that I attend once every other month. When we imposed this spending ban I didn't think about my workshop.  It is next week.  It will cost me a minimum of $30. Luckily, I have a solution.  I make walker bags (tote bags that attach to walkers).  I sell them to a local, neighborhood pharmacy.  They are in need of some more now and I will take up 8 or 10 of them and they will write me a check.  I will use this money to go to my workshop and pay for my supplies.

My son and husband also have a bit of a problem.  They need to fix a bike.  They need an inner tube for it.  They will need to sell a bike to purchase this inner tube to fix this bike.

Did you know that I work at a national chain craft store?  Yes, I do.  This morning I was working and one of my jobs was to price all the clearance items.  Some of them were strings of beads.  They were on clearance for only $0.49! I was dying because it was a great price and I couldn't buy them, because we are on this no spend month. Sigh......I have to look on the bright side.  I saved some money today, right?

This month might be harder than we expect!Off to go make some more walker bags! :)

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