Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No Spend Month {Wrap Up}

January is No Spend Month at our house this year. We are doing it to bring our current spending more in line with our new one-income status and as a detox after the consumer-centric holiday season.  Of course, buying less stuff will help us be more green and more resourceful as well. We usually spend about $500 on groceries each month. Instead, this month we will be budgeting to spend only $500 on all non-bill expenses including groceries, gas, household items, dining, entertainment, and yes coffee! 

What We Spent
I won't make you read any further before I tell you, we didn't exactly meet our goal.  In the last couple days of January, we spent a total of $59.   We spent $41 at Whole Foods.  $18 was for gas. As you may remember from the last post, we only had $35 available if we were to meet our budget. So close!  Just $24 short. The combination of a snow storm and illness caused unexpected parking expenses during the month. I'm not sure where we could have made up the difference in the end. We just weren't willing to eat beans every night. 

How We Did It
Here are some of my favorite affordable recipes I made this month.  For a complete list, check out my What's for Dinner? board on Pinterest.  I'm adding more all the time.

What We Learned
Doing this little experiment called No Spend Month was a good exercise for us.  Sometimes it seemed so easy, it made us wonder where that extra $600 a month usually goes.  Based on what we learned about our spending habits, we have set a long term budget for the year. It is not as strict as the one for No Spend Month, but now we know we can pretty easily spend less than we used to.  We also learned we need to have at least some discretionary funds that are set aside each month for fun outings together and with friends. That way we plan ahead for spending, we don't have to feel bad about doing it, but at the same time we don't go overboard.   No Spend Month was fun in its own way, but I'm thankful February is here!

Have you tried a No Spend Month, share your story in the comments!

This post is linked up with Sorta Crunchy and Frugally Sustainable


  1. How did February turn out for you?? This is awesome! I hope to inspire my hubby and I:) We budget for groceries at the beginning of the month but I feel sometimes we over budget...give too much to one category aka groceries. We used to shop at Costco but since we moved we are now at Kroger. Today, the last day of February, is Budget for March day...any new ideas for this month? I love the Detox thing, It goes well with the season of Lent! Thanks for sharing!! We will be trying the new recipes:)

    1. February was a milestone! It was the first time we broke even since Baby was born. In part because I had enough part time work, and in part because we really stuck to the budget we made. If we continue to be successful, I think I'll do a post on how we went about making and sticking to a budget. For now, maybe you could challenge yourself by taking 10-20% off your grocery budget and see how that goes for a month. Good luck!

  2. I just found this post now (through the blog hop on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways) and had to laugh, because I tried to do this same thing in February! I did it a little differently - I planned out all of our meals and bought all of our groceries before the beginning of the month (making sure to be well-stocked on TP and kleenexes, too) and then tried to see if I could go without buying anything at all the rest of the month (besides regular bills, of course). Results were mixed, but it was definitely a good learning experience!

  3. Just came across your blog and was wondering how did you spend so little on gas? We live outside of town about 12 miles and are always running to practices and games after school and have a huge gas budget because of it and am trying to find ways to cut down on it.

    1. Hi Erin! At the time I wrote this we lived in Seattle. We only had one baby who didn't need to go to any sort of activities and I stayed at home with him. My husband was able to catch a bus about a block from our house. I could walk to the library, park, to the grocery store, we could even walk to church! Our car literally only moved a couple times a week. Times have changed for us. We now have 2 kids, I'm commuting part time, and we live further out in the country. However, we have been able to keep our gas costs somewhat lower by living near a park and ride. That really cuts down on the miles my husband has to drive to get to work, and his company pays for his bus pass. Still, our gas costs are higher than they used to be. I really really miss being able to walk everywhere, but maybe someday! :)


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