In an effort to get our finances and perspectives back on track (not that we’re really off track, we just had an eventful summer), we’re launching a “no spend month.” Hopefully we’ll build up the bank account a bit and learn some things along the way. Here are the basic rules:

We can spend money on:

  • Monthly recurring bills, since these can’t readily be stopped (cable, internet, phone, rent, energy, loan payments, yoga membership)
  • Groceries (but only what we need for each week, not extras)
  • Gas (but try to limit driving; unfortunately our town is not walk or bike friendly — at least not where we live)
  • Books (the Mister is starting a new semester and we can’t not order them)
  • Emergencies (knock on wood!)

We will not be spending money on:

  • General shopping (no Amazon orders or trips to Target for random stuff)
  • Clothing
  • Eating out
  • Entertainment and events
  • Alcohol
  • Gifts (we hope we can escape this month without having to buy anything for anyone, as our gifting budget is through the roof this year with all the weddings and babies and whatnot)
  • Personal care/spa/beauty (no massages or salon appointments this month)
  • Things we run out of (e.g., toiletries, household stuff). I’m unsure how this will go, but my goal is that we’ll first evaluate if there’s an alternative product/fix/option in the house we can use. (e.g., The Mister has a backstock of deodorant he doesn’t like as much. Use castile soap and water to clean the kitchen instead of vinegar. Coconut oil as a moisturizer if I run out of lotion.) The only caveat may be toilet paper.

This experiment is a test in creativity, simplicity, and a bit of discipline. I’m looking forward to a month without browsing shopping sites or running out for this and that, and instead focusing on what’s important to me. And I’m sure we’ll find some great fun free things to do around here. Have you ever tried something like this?