Surviving a No-Spend January: How Did We Do?


I chose January for my No-Spend month because it seemed natural to hold back after a December full of purchases and entertaining. Little did I know how difficult it would be.

We actually did pretty good for the first three weeks. We ate at home (a biggie) and we were conscientious about saying no to petty purchases.  Once the floor refinishers arrived though, all bets were off.

Although we stayed true to our mission the first couple of days of the remodel when I had access to my kitchen, I didn’t take into consideration that we wouldn’t be able to walk on the floor (or move furniture) for a couple of days after the job was done.

We ate out for two days more than I anticipated.

Technically, we failed our No-Spend month experiment, but we were so very close to succeeding.


I had already planned on tacking on another week of no-spending in February to make up for our lapse in January, but after discussing it with Greg, we think we can do a week EVERY month.

That’s one week of no eating out, no buying frivolous stuff, no clothes, electronics, or luxuries. That includes no diamond stud collars for Nana or Iko. :cue sad dog faces:  Sorry, guys!

I think we can do it. After all a week should be easier than a month. Hopefully, it will make us more mindful the rest of the time.


Stuff I learned about No Spending for a month:

• Window shopping is enough to quell my need for big ticket items. We went window shopping for sofas after our floor remodel. I was annoyed at the prices so we decided to wait for the next major holiday to see if we could get better deals. I’m keeping a list of prices and quality so I have something to compare.

• We ate out more than I realized. And not necessarily for meals either. It was the little stuff like drinks, mints, or snacks. A ridiculous waste of money.

• I became more mindful of my personal demons. I deliberately walked past the clothing and dvd departments. I never buy clothes at full price, but mark downs are like candy to me.

• Everything is negotiable. We had dental cleanings scheduled and we opted out of the x-rays. They said that one x-ray every two years is sufficient. Greg’s hygienist did one better and told him he didn’t need to regularly get a dentist to look at his mouth. (Mine did not tell me this.)

For $50 my dentist spent all of 30 seconds examining the inside of my mouth. I thought his examination was was part of getting my teeth cleaned. Dentists had always checked after the hygienist. I didn’t realize it was an add-on.  By all means get checkups, but if you’re not prone to health problems, don’t feel as if you need somebody to look at the inside of your mouth every single time.

Could you do a No Spend week? After doing this ‘cleanse’ for a month, a week seems like a piece of cake.

PS  We still LOVE our floors. It totally transformed our home.

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  1. I think you did great! I think a no-spend week once a month would work. It feels more doable, with an end in sight.

    My regular dental hygienist is awesome, and I totally trust her to call in the dentist when needed, which is hardly ever. When I do see him, he’s very good about not telling me I need more work unless I really have to have it.

  2. You did better than I would have. Unless I didn’t have to count eating out (which is the majority of the way we eat, although we tend to share meals), I could probably do a no-spend week. I’d just have to stay away from the internet. Haha!

  3. Good for you for making the effort to try the month with no spend even with the floors going in. I think the one week a month is doable and you can ‘suffer’ through it knowing the benefit it will be after only 7 days of doing so. The pastor at church was talking about money yesterday and mentioned the importance of money management, getting out of debt, etc. He cited a family in the church that reduced their debt by $43,000 in 9 months. Not sure if that was just credit card debt or all their debt. We have debt more than that but it includes house and 2 vehicles, our credit cards are nothing like that and actually the one we have is slated to be zero balance in a few months with no plans to use it again. Talking with hubby, we could easily “sock away” $1000 a month if we gave this up and that up. Right now we want this and that, but if there comes a time, we might decide this and that are not necessarily necessary (like when he retires and the income becomes fixed).


    • Betty: If I can offer only one piece of advice about retirement, it’s to make sure all your debts are paid before you retire. Fixed incomes are REALLY fixed. LOL!

      Kudos to that family who reduced their debt!! I love hearing stories like that. It’s a real testament to their commitment to turn things around.

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