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Every frugal nut (like me) says they’ll do a no-spend month… some people even extend the no-spend challenge to a quarter or whole year!
But it’s easier to say you’ll try it than actually try it. There’s always just that one little thing we want to treat ourselves to. I know that’s the main reason I was putting off a no-spend month.
However necessity forced me to take the plunge and do a no-spend month in May. Here’s my no-spend Month in review to encourage you all to take the challenge. It wasn’t THAT bad.
Since my Childcare Rebate was unexpectedly cut off in late March as I had hit the threshold for the financial year (thanks for the warning, Family Assistance Office!) I needed to find an extra $300 per month for the three days that I send my daughter to childcare.
Covering the extra $300 for the next three months was going to be tough. So, I decided to try ‘No-spend May.’
I get paid monthly. Money goes in, money goes straight back out as I pay all the bills straight away, set aside the monthly budget for groceries and travel to work. What is left on day one of my pay-cycle must last me an entire month, including direct debits.
I used this expense tracker to keep track of all of my income and expenses. It allowed me to see how much spare cash I had left after bills were paid
The rules of no-spend month:
These are simple. No spending on non-essentials.
What are the essentials, you ask?
It’s simple. Groceries in the weekly shop, public transport for work, fuel, my dentist appointment and any emergencies for Ella (if she needs new shoes for a growth spurt or medicine if she gets sick). I had also allowed myself the one meal (entrée size) for my best friend’s birthday lunch at a winery that I had committed to weeks before deciding to do no-spend May.
This means, random coffees on the way to work, impromptu lunches with colleagues, a new skirt because it was on sale… These are all out this month, and maybe next month too. I am even making my mum’s Mother’s Day present from the fabric I have in my stash.
What was difficult?
About one week into my no-spend month, I smashed my contour kit. I was getting ready for work at 5am (YAY for 7am starts) and in my sleepy stupor I tripped over the bathmat and dropped the contouring palette when I was doing my makeup.
SMASH! All six shades (it has face powder, under eye powder along with bronzers and contour shades,) were completely unsalvageable. So I had to wait three weeks to purchase a new contour kit.
One of my colleagues asked why I looked so pale…Trust me, it wasn’t by choice.
How did I track two weeks in?
Apart from not being able to replace the smashed makeup palette, it was been surprisingly easier than I thought. Probably because there is a Nespresso machine in my building at work and I can drink all the coffee in the world there.
HAHA. All jokes aside though. I was so focused on where I could pinch pennies and reduce waste in our house that I didn’t have time to be miserable about not being able to treat myself to a coffee or purchase that essential oil kit I really wanted that month.
How did the rest of the month go?
Although it got harder, it wasn’t as bad as a thought.
The worst thing was, all those little ad hoc purchases built up and I had a few things to purchase once my next pay came in.
I ended up with $105 left in my account the day my next pay came in because I had to add fuel to my car after an emergency car drive to my mums (mums house is 100km away from us). This is more than I ever have in my account on my next payday.
For June, I managed to scrimp a few extra pennies by putting my gym membership on hold for 3 months. That saved an extra $75 a month. I wish I had thought to do that for my No-spend May.
Would I do no-spend month again? MOST DEFINITELY. I enjoyed having a little buffer in my account on payday. A few months of that is a nice tidy deposit into the savings account.
Have you done a no-spend month? How did it go? Did you find any tips and tricks to make it easier? Leave your comments below and share your experience.