Before Kyle and I came out to Kentucky, I worked at a credit union for about 3 1/2 years. I worked through a total of four January's, and every year I would see the same trend of individuals coming in to work at their New Year's resolution to reduce the amount of debt that they had accured in the previous year. People would try anything from consolidation loans to cash only budgets, and unfortunately much like most resolutions, I'd see individuals slip back into their old spending habits by Spring to yet another year of overspending. Working so closely with people's finances had quite the impact on me, and that combined with marrying an extrememly frugal/money smart man, changed me from someone who loved shopping and spending to someone who still loves shopping, but also loves to save and enjoys a sense of fnancial security. Last fall, one of my girlfriends mentioned that she was trying to do a "No Spend November" and invited me to join in. At that point in time I had already started on my Christmas shopping and knew that it wouldn't be a realistic goal for me to achieve, but I really liked the concept and decided that it was something that I would still like to try and put into practice at a better time. That better time has come, and I am all set (and four days into) what I'm calling my NO SPEND NEW YEAR! I'm really excited to see the results of my little challenge, and hope that you'll join in on the fun with me! The best part about it? It's free! (Though let's admit it, it'd have to be to be a true no spend challenge 😉 )
So, here's how it will work. For the month of January, starting on the 1st (or whenever you're able to join in) and ending on January 30th, the goal is to not spend any extra or "unneccessary" money. To start the challenge, you'll want to sit down with your finances and first figure out what counts and necessary and what does not. For Kyle and I, it helped to write it down so that we knew for each of us what would need to be to cut out. Here's a basic example of our list:
Once you have your list written out, then the rest of the month is the easiest/hardest part of the challenge, which is to actually stick to your list of needs. It's easy because there's not necessarily any budgeting that needs to be done (which for me is always a challenge because it's so boring and tricky to figure out) but it is tricky becuase it requires having to be honest with yourself when out shopping and deciding what really is a basic need and what fits into what is inevidably the longer list of wants. It's only been four days and I've already had to remind myself that buying new clothes for Emery fits into the "want" catagory because even though clothing is technically a baby need, it's not so much a need when she already has a closet full of clothes that fit her just fine. 😉 I feel like the hardest part about these challenges is that they can sometimes seem to take all of the fun out of life because so many things do cost money (date nights, home decor, new outfits, etc.) which is why the second part of this challenge for me is going to be working to find ways to take the things that would normally cost money in order to have fun, and find different ways to do them for free! Throughout the month I'll be sharing money free ideas for date nights, fashion, home organization, and fitness and maybe even a few other things along the way depending on what I run into! I can't wait to get to the end of the month so that I can see realistically how much Kyle and I could save if we do cut down to just the basics! I know that it's not realistic to have every month be a basics only month, but am hoping that being able to see the savings grow will create a stronger motivation in the future to cut down on a few more of those wants to save for a rainy day in the future. I hope that you'll all join along with me! Do you have anything specific that you'd like to see done in a money free way? If so, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and I'd be happy to work through the challenge and put your ideas and challenges into a post! Do you have any special secrets on how you do things money free that you'd want to share? If so, email me and let's collab! I can't wait to see what this month brings and what fun things we can come up with along the way!
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.