Nothing makes me want to hunker down than the start of a new year. When the old year closes, it’s good to start the new year with an assessment of what needs to be done and treat any monetary wounds right off. For us, it’s the perfect time to have a No-Spend Month.
We had more than our share of bills last year. Part of it was due to Nana, the border collie who wants to rule the world, but another bite came from the last of a staggering debt when we remodeled the kitchen. There was also the property tax bill which is always enormous despite our homestead deduction, and insurance.
While we always keep a vested account to pay for these things, we’re always very aware of our “cushion”. As retired people, we live on our savings, which means we monitor the level closely.
Nana’s surgery took us by surprise. It was a large expense, but hey, we kinda like that dog. 🙂 Another surprise was that Greg wanted to pay off the last of our remodeling debt. We still had over a year to pay it off without interest, but he wanted it gone.
That’s always fine by me. I hate having any debt hanging over my head. Now the money that would’ve gone to that debt goes right back to our savings.
If we didn’t do anything more, our cushion should be nice and plump by next year, but we like to practice a No-Spend Month every so often to hurry that along.
For us, a No-Spend Month means that we will not go out to eat, drink, or snack at outside establishments. We buy nothing new and nothing unnecessary. For instance, if I wanted to splurge on a pair of jeans or a movie, it would have to wait until February.
In a typical No-Spend Month we can buy food and medicine. Emergency repairs and replacements are also allowed for things like appliances and cars.
Non-essential items–and there are many that are invisible unless we pay attention–must wait until after the spending moratorium ends.
I find No-Spend Months easier when you have a willing partner. We keep each other honest. With each of us watching the other, we’re less likely to fall into the potholes of everyday spending.
Some people find it difficult, but it’s sort of fun if you turn it into a game. We know it’s not forever and we know we’re not deprived. All we’re doing is postponing a debt for another day.
The irony about our month long spending freeze is that many times whatever it was we yearned for in January was hardly ever important enough to buy in February. As careful as we are with money, we’re just as guilty of being unintentionally frivolous.
Think about it. Do we really remember the hamburger we bought at the spur of the moment? Did we suffer mental anguish for not seeing a movie right away?
Some people go on diets at the first of the year. We do too, only it’s a spending diet. Believe me, it’s infinitely easier than losing weight. 😀
Have you ever tried a spending diet?
See how we did on last year’s No-Spend Month.