How to have a Successful No Spend Month

A month of no spending sounds quite daunting, right? No eating out, no shopping, no going to the movies, no wine… It can be hard to picture a full month without those things. But when you buckle down, whether it be for financial reasons or you just want to simplify how you spend time with your family, it can make for an amazing month.

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D and I regularly do no spend months. The primary reason was to get our emergency fund fully funded. The second reason was because we were expecting a new baby in May of this year. He ended up being a full five weeks early! We wanted to be able to pay my medical bills (an emergency C-Section and a stay in the NICU for Little Guy was VERY expensive) and have money to fall back on since we were both taking leave from work.

Since we had the idea for a no spend month several years ago, we have almost perfected how to do it. Yes, we still spend money on groceries, gas for the cars, and bills but nothing on eating out, entertainment, or shopping. Here are our top tips on how to have a successful no spend month and save money!

Check Your Calendar
Wedding season is upon us and events like birthdays and anniversaries can sneak up on us. Before you head into your no spend month, double check your calendar and see what you have going on. Plan to buy gifts and cards the month prior. I like to go ahead and wrap them too so I don’t even have to worry about it.
Alternatively, you could go the DIY route and plan to create gifts out of things you already have in the house. I am a personal fan of homemade cards and baked goods for birthdays. Most of the people in my life do not need more junk stuff. Cookies and cake are always winners.
We also check the oil in our cars and our air and water filters to see if those need to be replaced and plan accordingly. Home and car maintenance is never something that should be put off, so if it is the month for it – do it!

Get Your Friends Involved
Since you won’t be spending money on going to the bars or out to dinner with friends, invite them over for a potluck or game night! You can make a crowd pleasing meal and play a board game or two. We have quite a stock of games that are more than two players (Ticket to Ride, Smallworld, and Cards Against Humanity are always top picks) that our friends and family like to join in on. If board games aren’t your thing, you could always opt for a movie night – there is something new on Netflix or Amazon Prime all the time. Make cookies and popcorn, drag all the pillows into your living room and you have the night made!

Check Out the Free Stuff in Town
I won’t lie… I just realized how amazing the library system in our county is. Our library system has great free events on a regular basis. They also have a wide variety of media to check out for card holders. Since I’ve stayed home with Little Guy these past few months, I have made time to read more and have really gotten back into it. If I would have paid for the books I have read, I would be out a couple hundred bucks. No thanks! Instead, we check out books and devour them before they are due.
We also have a really nice downtown area that is packed with events every other weekend in the summer. There are free concerts in the park and festivals that are free to walk into. Weather permitting, it is a great way to get outside and be with family and friends. They also have one night a month that provides free admission to all the museums which we take advantage of. A simple Google search will provide you with all the events going on in your town.

Get Outside
Most cities have dedicated green space and walking trails. On weekends, we go to the park with Little Guy and walk or we go to several good hiking spots close to town and spend a few hours hiking. My Dad calls this “getting your vitamin N(ature)” HA!
Getting outside allows you to detox from your phone, TV, and computer and lets your mind wonder. We see hundreds of ads for products and services everyday. I personally need a break from that on a regular basis! It also calms my impulse purchasing reflex so to speak. If I can’t see it – I won’t want to buy it.

Pick up an Old Hobby Again
Shopping and going out takes up a lot of time. That is time that could be doing stuff that you used to love. For me it is reading and sewing. For my husband it is reading and playing the guitar. These hobbies are free (even sewing as I like to refashion clothing or use my fabric scraps for projects) and can stimulate our minds in ways it hasn’t been in a a long time.
This also allows you to make a bit of money too. I am about to reopen my Etsy shop to sells all the crafty things I have been making lately. If your hobby can double as a side hustle – do it!

Hopefully these helpful tips have inspired you to make next month a no spend one. I am always excited to save money in any way that we can!

Want more money saving ideas? Check out these posts!
4 Steps to Mastering the Cash Envelope System
5 Tremendous Ways to Save on Your Professional Wardrobe
How to Win at Meal Planning

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