One of my favorite bloggers, Andrea Dekker, recently wrote about how she and her husband took on a no-spend challenge. For an entire month they bought only the essentials and things they needed for already-planned projects. But no going out to eat unless they had a gift card, no unnecessary or impulse purchases, nothing.
Husband and I decided to give it a try ourselves this month. We will not go out to eat except to pick up food for our Father's Day tradition. We won't buy any clothes that aren't an absolute NEED, which means we shouldn't have to buy any at all. We can make it on what we have. No little splurges on Amazon. No Starbucks aside from the little bit of cash I have left on my card. We each get a little allowance of $20 per pay period, which we can spend if we want, though I mostly intend to save mine up and use it for a pedicure and a spray tan for my brother's wedding this summer. Bills, groceries, gas, already-planned house projects, and already-planned gifts. That's it.
So while that sounds super boring, I'm actually really excited to see how we do. I'm not a crazy shopper or anything, but I am notorious for the spur-of-the-moment online purchase. I get an email with an amazing coupon code and those jeans I've been watching for months happen to be on sale? I'm buying them. I see great reviews for an interesting sounding book? I'm downloading it. I rarely go out shopping, but I buy something just about every week. The UPS guy is practically family.
It's a good time for us to do this, because our vacation isn't until August, and we have a ton of birthdays in July and August. June is a quieter time for us. We're three days in and the only non-essential we've bought so far was pizza for dinner last night for us and my inlaws, but Husband and I used our personal cash and split the cost. They kept our kids for us while we went to a wake and bringing a simple dinner for everyone seemed like the best option, so we did it.
I'll have to temper the temptation to shop by staying off Amazon, spending time at the library, and saving my Starbucks card for a really weak, spendy moment. But I know we can do it, and I'm looking forward to seeing how some extra frugality impacts our finances, even though it's just for a month.
Wanna join us in Cheapdom? If taking on an entire month seems too daunting, try a no-spend week, or pay period. Just to challenge yourself.