The No-Spend Month Score Card

Layout by Maria Zannini, photo Copyright: <a href=''>ragnarocks / 123RF Stock Photo</a> and

In January 2018, we decided to go on a No Spend Month. We like to do this at the start of the new year to get us back on track after all the holidays.

This is our second year doing this and we did even better than last year.

Last year, we were in the midst of remodeling our floors and it forced us to eat out a couple of extra days because we weren’t allowed to access our kitchen.

This year, although we had a couple of things that could’ve nudged us to spend unnecessarily, we were strong and didn’t give in to temptation.

TIP: If you want one sure fire way NOT to spend money, stay home.

Every time we go out there’s always something we “ought” to have. Everywhere you look there’s a trap to entice you to buy. It’s the retailers’ job to loosen your wallet. All you can do is wear blinders during a No Spend Month.

I like to shop, but I don’t like to waste money (LOL) so I’ve never fallen into the hamster wheel of comfort shopping. There’s a reason people call it ‘retail therapy’. It makes us feel happy when we’re doing it. It makes us feel like we’re in control of our life. But it’s a fantasy. Like any other drug, the feeling of euphoria is fleeting.

I know real life people who shop just to make themselves feel better. These are good people. Nice people. But they use shopping as a crutch to keep themselves happy. I feel sorry for them. There’s nothing I can say to change their minds. It’s a lesson each of us has to learn for ourselves.

All I can offer is that if you WANT to change your shopping habits, you can.

Greg was a huge shopaholic especially back when we were both making good money. He likes shiny things. Shiny things are almost always expensive. 😀

It took me several years of gentle persuasion to show him that certain objects didn’t have staying power and that our money was better spent elsewhere. Greg is stubborn, but I’m persistent, and now he’s the one who will question whether we should make that big purchase.

If I can convince Greg to change his ways, anyone can do it. All you have to do is set your mind to it.

The No Spend Month Score Card

To keep us honest, I saved all our receipts for January so I could tally them at the end. Here are my totals.

Groceries $333.33

Animal Feed $202

Gas $20

Prescription Meds $20

Post Office $14 (for a box I had to mail)

We cheated only once when we stopped for a burger. ($12 for the whole meal.) We expected that. It fell on a day we were going to be 50 miles away from home for nearly eight hours.

Not only did we do well on no excess spending, but we continued the trend through most of February. We had gotten so used to not buying whatever caught our fancy that it spilled into February. –then we got the flu. That took care of the rest of February.  (At least something good came out of the flu.)

Greg was pleased with the results. I had hoped for a hundred dollars less on food, but much of that food were sales on meat that were then repackaged and frozen for later in the year.

All in all, not bad. We visited our money manager a few weeks ago. He was impressed when we told him about our No Spend Month. I’m not sure if he found it eccentric or frugal, but he very much approved.




By the way…I still love my wood floors. 🙂 Well worth the investment.


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  1. Funny you found the flus silver lining Maria. Kudos to both of you with sticking to your goals and making sure there will be money there when you really need to spend it. Seems that wisdom only comes with determination and grit, something too many people never exercise for something as important to their future as having long term funds.

  2. Well done you! We’ve been the reverse this Jan and Feb with several house renovations – a new ensuite – new floor for the bedroom – some external work and other bits and pieces. Once the rot sets in . . . I’m even being suckered into BookBub and the kindle daily deal, buying books with a click I’ll have trouble reading. We will return to sanity soon. Normal service resumed 🙂

    • Mike: That was us last year. But I’m pleased with the results. This year I’d like to spend some money on landscaping. I’ve let it go too long.

      re: book buying
      They make it too easy now. Even Amazon has one-click buying. It’s evil.

  3. I’ve never set out to do a no spend January but it almost feels that way. My biggest shopping weakness is spending on the family (especially the grandkids) but after the present frenzy of Christmas, the urge to get more just isn’t there. Plus, I almost always make a New Year’s Resolution to loss weight so eating out is a no no. Toss in the fact that I was housebound with a broken foot and my wallet stayed pretty much closed. I should add that Sophie is a lot cheaper to feed than your menagerie. Lol.

    • Linda: Sending you a virtual hug. The broken foot has plagued you for too long. I hope the doctor is right and you’re on the mend. I’m sure it doesn’t feel like it.

      Staying in has definitely kept us from spending money.

  4. Angela Brown

    The No Spend month idea is something I’d like to make happen in my real world. January and February have been busy outside-the-house months and the temptation of particular movie premieres pretty much sealed the deal on pushing the No Spend idea back. Now that March has rolled around, we have spring break activities.
    I’m not giving up though. Maybe we can start with a No Spend week then stretch to a No Spend two weeks and then get to a No Spend month with frugal spending practice.

  5. Angela: I don’t know what happened to us when it comes to movies. Greg always insisted we see the big movies right when they premiere. Somewhere along the way, we stopped. We haven’t seen Thor or Black Panther, the two movies we’d been planning to see in the theater.

    Now Thor is nearly ready to be released on dvd, so we’ll buy it next week. I’m sure we’ll do the same with Black Panther.

    I think it’s just that going to the theater isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Plus we have that fancy 4K, curved screen at home, so it’s almost like seeing it on the big screen.

    re: no spend week
    In my experience, I don’t think we got as much value from not spending a week at a time, but it’s definitely better than not at all. It really does get easier with practice too. It’s all about mind set.

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