Welcome to 31 Days:The No Spend Month. If you are just joining me for the first time, you may want to start on Day 1.
Our budget for our ‘No Spend Month’ is a modified version of our regular monthly budget. A few of our expenses are fixed and cannot be easily changed for just one month such as rent, insurance, cell phone bill.
However, most of our expenses are directly controlled by our actions and that is where we plan to cut.
Our grocery budget has ballooned due to illness, travel and frankly, laziness on my part. Our grocery budget for October is $300, a 25% decrease from our normal monthly budget. We regularly eat an organic diet and I plan to continue this, even on a reduced budget. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be talking about how I plan to accomplish this.
We recently bought a second car after being a one-car family for some time. The new (to us) car is far more gas-efficient than our older car but it has allowed us to come and go more often than we need to. Our gas budget for October is $300, a 35% decrease from our monthly spending this summer. We have an out-of-town trip planned this month so this is going to be tight.
Eating out became a crutch for me this summer with illness and busy summer days. Because we have 3 obligatory events to attend in October, we need an eating out budget but have set a goal to only use it for these events.
Our personal care budget includes items such as toothpaste, deodorant, razors or makeup. It’s only $5 this month. Fortunately I have a great stock up on most of these items from shopping with coupons over the past year. Later this month, I’ll let you know how I stock up, inexpensively.
You might assume, initially, that utilities are not a variable budget item. I might argue that your actions directly control your utility bills.
We’ve made it our goal to reduce our utility bills by 25%. To be honest, we have only lived in our current house for a few months so we are not comparing this year’s bills to last year’s bills (although I would do exactly that, if I could). We are comparing October’s bills to the average bill during the time we’ve lived here – in our case, 5 months.
Our budget for clothing is 0. That’s right, nada. We need exactly nothing in this department. This may be my hardest budget item to make.
Some of the kid related expenses such as diapers and school cannot be adjusted this month and we’ve already prepaid their sports programs so the only manageable expenses are entertainment, toys and childcare.
The entertainment and toy budget is $0. We are having the most beautiful fall weather and the kids play outside every day. Our childcare budget is $25. Remember those 3 obligatory events? Fortunately we have family to watch the kids for 2 of those evenings and will only be paying for childcare for one night this month.
Honestly, there are SO many non-essentials in our budgets, aren’t there? Entertainment, Starbucks, haircuts, crafts. Things that seem essential for living but aren’t essential for life.
When you only budget for the essentials, you start to find out where your money is really going. (Mine is going to Target.)
So there you have it, our goals for our No Spend Month. The rest of the month I’m going to be writing about ways to save in every budget item, even the non-essentials.
I’m also going to be doing some cleaning, organizing and purging because sometimes we spend money on things we already have – but didn’t know it.
Did anyone else overspend this summer? Are you joining me in a No Spend Month or just watching from the sidelines?