Friday, February 10, 2017

No Spend January/ Updated Recap

January is the month!! As a family we have decided to have a no spend month.  Basically meaning we will only purchase food and eating out(unless we use a gift card), no going to do activities that cost money, and no buying stuff online...I know, how will we survive?  Funny thing is, I feel like not only will this be a HUGE challenge but I'm thinking by the end of the month I'm going to feel so liberated, in the social idea that is.  Because this era spends spends spends I think it's going to be so wonderful to teach our kids about savings.  I hope they learn to appreciate what we already have.  I hope they learn to love spending more time as a family and that not everything that's fun costs money.

When I sat down with my husband last night and talked about writing a list of things to do this month that are free and the whole family will enjoy, I was surprised at how many things we came up with.  Why have we not been doing this every month?  Yes there's so much freedom that comes with being able to SPEND our money but what powerful freedom comes from not having to! So here's our list of free activities to do as a family.  I'm sure it will continue to grow, and I'm even more positive that the kids will think of ideas to add to this list.

1. Go sledding
2. Make and deliver treats to friends or neighbors
3. Host a potluck dinner
4. Host a game night
5. Go to the library once a week
6. Visit the Bean Museum at BYU
7. Go to the mall play area
8. Attend the library's night time activities (magic show)
9. Put together a jigsaw puzzle
10. Build a snowman
11. Write letters to family
12. Build a fort
13. Tour a fire station
14. Make homemade ice cream in a bag
15. Go to the Rec Center (we already have a pass)
16. Visit the BYU museum of Paleontology
17. Visit Orem Heritage Museum
18. Visit the Springville Museum of Art
19. Visit Woodbury Art Museum at the mall
20. Go on a winter scavenger hunt
21. Have a family movie night

So we still have a long way to go on the activities but I'd say that's a pretty good way to start.  I'm amazed at how many local places have free admission so definitely check out your local area to see what's going on around you.

Now on to the nitty gritty.  THE RULES.  You, obviously can make your own rules if you're wanting to join in.  Maybe January isn't the best month for pick a different one!  Anyway, these are our family's rules.

1. We can only spend our money on food and gas
2. Any automatic payment can still go through (like my DoTERRA order, or our Comcast TV and internet plan)
3. No eating out

That's it. Not too detailed.  We for sure will be putting our gift cards to good use this month.  We still have a date night planned that we aren't going to be spending any of our own money we will see how that goes.  All in all I hope our family feels freedom in this challenge.  I hope we all come to realize just how much we are blessed and how much we have in abundance.  We live so very comfortably and for that I am so grateful for, but because we live so comfortably I tend to forget that our money is so sacred.  It could be taken from us at any time and though its a materialistic thing it's also what helps keep us living and enjoying life.  So here's to our no spend month!!  Hopefully we survive.  I'm sure it will be a struggle at first.  I may have to say no to outings with girlfriends, Mike might have to give up fountain Diet Dr Pepper for a month, but we will survive and in all reality...we will have saved SO MUCH in just one month of not spending.  Let me know if you're going to join the challenge.  You can check out my friend Cress Matthews (she came up with the idea) blog and follow along with her as well. Cheers to a new year and to saving our hard earned cash!


I would love to say that this past month was pure bliss and was easy as pie, but the honest truth is that no spend month is no joke.  It took a lot of planning to not eat out, it took a lot of patience to not want to indulge and do something spa like for myself, and it took some getting used to with avoiding stores like the plague.  With this being our first no spend month in the 9 years we've been married, it was eye opening to see what it was that we continually treat ourselves to and the types of things we buy to make our lives easier.  Here are a few things I learned this past month.

1. Spending money is a time filler.
Yup, I admit it...when I'm bored I spend money.  Usually it's in the form of aimlessly walking through every aisle of Target and convincing myself that the things in my cart will make my life happier.  If I learned anything this last month it's that I don't NEED half of thing I think I do.  That, and when I'm bored I need to be better about filling my time with activities instead of things.

2. Cooking brings me joy.
I've always known this.  I've loved cooking since I was young but this push to HAVE to cook every day was something I truly enjoyed.  Oh sure, 4:00 pm rolled around and I would drag my feet to start prepping for dinner, but once I got going I couldn't stop and I loved every minute.  Not only did I finally get around to trying the recipes I pinned on Pinterest, but I also discovered that the more I cook at home the more my kids eat the things they never wanted to before.  True kids are way less picky than they used to be and I think it has something to do with not being asked what they want at a restaurant.  They get what they get. Right?

3. I like to spend money on others.
It's no secret that my "love language" is gift giving.  When I see something I think someone would really enjoy I usually try to get it for them as a gift.  With not spending money, this was impossible to do for my friends. Instead I baked cookies, delivered dinners, and had friends over for food and company.  Maybe I wasn't actually buying them things but the effort and sentiment was still present. Money doesn't buy love and this month, as much as I wanted to get my friends a few things here and there to brighten their day, I realized that my effort and smiling face would just have to do...and I think they still really enjoyed it.

4. The kids didn't notice.
You read correct.  The kids had NO IDEA that we weren't spending money.  It may have been their age...cause they're still tiny humans, but they really didn't notice that we stopped eating out.  They didn't realize that the stupid little craft items weren't sneaking their way into our cart at the store.  They were oblivious to it all and that made me so extremely happy.  I had this idea in my head that they would be disappointed when they couldn't have chicken nuggets and fries.  I thought they would be so sad that we weren't going out for ice cream.  But the truth of the matter is...they were just as happy when we made it at home.  They thought is was so fun when we made ice cream from scratch.  They love homemade chicken nuggets and fries.  They were thrilled when we sat down with scissors and pens and made our own crafts.  Kids are happy when we spend time with them, not money on them.

5. Essentials really are essential.
This last month put more perspective on my life.  I came to realize that the things I thought I couldn't live without I really could.  That the things that make my life easier are only convenient, they aren't essential.  I already have so many things in my life that bring me joy.  Money doesn't buy happiness, it buys freedom.  Freedom to come and go as you please.  Freedom to take a break from the HAVE TO's and freedom to fill our lives with things from here and now.

In the coming months I'm going to be building a capsule wardrobe to help myself from buying crappy clothes that only last a few washes.  I'll be making more dinners and lunches at home.  I'll be filling my time with books and the company of friends instead of shopping.  But most of all I'll be more in tune to what I NEED as apposed to what I WANT.  This summer I hope to do another no spend month and would love to have you join in.  Stay updated on what month by following along on my Instagram! Have a happy weekend, friends!

1 comment:

Ali Lewis said...

I LOVE this idea. Can't wait to do this too! and all the activities you suggested will help a ton!!