“No Spend” Month

In February, I reread The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and I read The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach for the first time. (The Automatic Millionaire was actually my book club read!) Reading these books in February gave me new energy to achieve my financial goals. And so, the idea for a “No Spend” March was born.

My husband and I sat down and came up with some rules. From this discussion, we decided we would spend money in only four categories: gas, groceries, mortgage, and bills.

Gas

My husband and I each drive one hour to and from work. There’s no way around it, this bill is EXPENSIVE. But, it is what it is and so it stays.

Groceries

I used my food calendar (check the newly added “money saving tip” at the bottom) to grocery shop for the entire month. I used some money saving tricks like Shoprite digital coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, and Ibotta (use code okdbuvv for a special bonus) to save money. You can also look here for more ways to save money on groceries!

Buy doing these things, I reduced my March grocery bill by $120.

Mortgage

This category is the same as gas; there’s no changing it!

Bills

Our normal utility bills don’t change much either. However, we do have one credit card currently in use. If you read my Mindful Money Practices post, this is the part of me that is Daveish. But, the goal was to not buy anything! And, overall – we did pretty well with not buying.

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Coronavirus

About halfway through the month, I started working from home since all of the schools in New York State shut down. This reduced our monthly gas bill significantly. However, due to the looming threat of a nationwide quarantine, I did my grocery shopping for April early. This added an expense. Between the two,we were close to breaking even here.

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Things we wanted to buy, but didn’t:

  • New curtains for my daughter’s room
  • Snacks our my lunch breaks

Things we wanted to buy, and did (woops!)

  • Easter book
  • Shoes for my daughter
  • Garbage bags
  • Birthday gift for my nephew

[RESULTS]

We saved $500 more in March than we did in February, $850 more than we did in January, and $700 more than our average month.

So, how did we do it? How did we slip a few times and still have such great results? The answer is gift cards! The only reason I bought the new Easter book for my daughter is because we had a gift card. Additionally, we purchased the shoes for my daughter with gift cards, too. Unfortunately, because of an error during the returning of one pair, I had to pay $15 out of pocket but received a $20 merchandise credit.

Now, the garbage bags are different. Those were not paid with a gift card. We decided that since that is a household item, we wouldn’t hold that purchase against ourselves. However, they were on clearance when my husband arrived at the store… isn’t that how ever financial horror story begins? You should have seen my face when Scott told me he bought EIGHT YEARS WORTH OF GARBAGE BAGS! Okay, let me explain. We put our normal garbage bags into one big black bag to bring to our local recycling center once per week. So, one box of fifty bags will last us a year. Normally, the boxes are $15 each. Scott got 8 boxes for $32. Oookaaayyyy, I’ll let this one pass!

As for the birthday gift, this didn’t count towards us either. Dave Ramsey is huge on sinking funds and saving up for recurring expenses, like birthdays. Therefore, we had already put money aside for this. My nephew enjoys helping in the kitchen and these awesome kid-friendly knives were on his wish list! In addition, I found these mini baking tools which compliment the knife set perfectly.

Money Earned

We wanted to offset some of the costs we knew would come, since a complete NO spend month is a very difficult thing to achieve! So, we sold a handful of items that were around the house that were no longer in use.

  • I sold the Jewelry Cabinet Mirror I recently replaced
  • My husband sold unused Video Games
  • I had a “retired” Diaper Pail
  • I sold a bunch of Clothes on Poshmark

From this clearing out, we brought in just over $200.

Looking Ahead to April…

In addition to me working from home, Scott is now working from home as well. It’s looking like this will be the case for most, if not all, of the month. As a result, I think our expenses will be even lower than March and I hope to see a continued increase in our savings. I am going to keep the “No Spend” mentality, especially looking at the current stock market, in hopes of creating my own safety net in the even that this pandemic rules our lives for the next several months (which I think it will).

Did you do a No Spend March, too? How were your results?

3 thoughts on ““No Spend” Month

  1. Our no spend went well but not perfectly. We had some extra expenditures but saved in other places. At the end of the month we were ahead of last month so I’m happy there.

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