No Spend Month {Week One}


January is No Spend Month at our house this year. We are doing it to bring our current spending more in line with our new one-income status and as a detox after the consumer-centric holiday season.  Of course, buying less stuff will help us be more green and more resourceful as well. We usually spend about $500 on groceries each month. Instead, this month we will be budgeting to spend only $500 on all non-bill expenses including groceries, gas, household items, dining, entertainment, and yes coffee! 

What We Spent

We just wrapped up week one. All together we spent $165 this week.  That was $43 for our box of organic produce from the CSA, $35 at Whole Foods, and $87 at Costco for bulk staples.  

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How We Did It

It almost goes without saying that there is no room for dining or coffee out this month. Instead, we are making sure to pack lunches using dinner left overs, and make coffee at home. DH is using Starbucks VIA packs for real “caffeine emergencies” because they’re cheaper than going to a cafe especially if you buy in bulk. 

We have tried to make the most out of everything we buy at the grocery store. At the beginning of the week, I roasted a whole chicken and potatoes. After we were done, I made chicken stock with chicken carcass. I used the stock in a double batch of chili later in the week. Soups and chili are a great way to make less meat go further.  The next night, I made Thai peanut chicken with left over chicken.  When trying to eat on a tight budget while still buying organic, it often means leaving out meat. This week I tried making my own veggie burgers for the first time. They came out pretty well. I think I’ll do it again soon with just a couple of tweaks, and then freeze them for a quick meal when we don’t have time to cook. Way cheaper than the store bought version!  We’ve also been baking our own bread and granola at home for a while now for even more savings. 
What We Learned
We initially thought that a $500 budget sounded pretty generous. It has taken a surprising amount of thought in order to keep us within our budget. This being only the first week, I’m still not entirely sure if we’re going to make it. If everything comes together, and nothing unexpected comes up, I think we’re on track to meet our goal. Maybe. 

Are you doing No Spend Month? What motivated you to try it?

shannon Clark, Financial Coach

As a financial coach, I provide you with the guidance and support you need to manage your finances with confidence—so you can stop stressing about money. Since 2014, I've helped over 5,000 women and couples pay off debt and save for the future. Will you be next?

8 thoughts on “No Spend Month {Week One}”

  1. Good luck on your No Spend Month! I’m sure you can do it. Just buckle down for this second week so you have a little extra to spare when you get close to the end.

    So glad you’ll be spending time to review your regularly monthly bills. That makes a difference for all future months.

  2. Good for you! By the way, that chicken looks delicious. I’d love to say you got this idea from me, but I’m sure you do stuff like this all the time. Haha!

  3. I am also doing a “No Spend January.” My big focus has been on not dining out (I normally do every day for lunch) and it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. The next step is to learn how to be more economical with my grocery shopping.

  4. Rachel, There’s nothing like blogging for some accountability! I really have to get to checking our monthly bills this week. Hopefully I’ll be able to report back on some savings next week!

    Danica, I have always loved making chicken stock when I roast a chicken. I think it’s so cool to be able to make something like chicken noodle soup afterwards from scratch. The next thing I try will be the chicken in the slow cooker, if you will give me your recipe!

    Mutedpalette, That’s great! My DH and I used to dine out a lot on our lunch breaks. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when you brown bag it instead!

  5. Some great ideas here… good luck on your No Buy Month. I’m trying to use up all the canned goods I have on hand and what is in my freezer before getting anything else. Just need to buy some fresh vegetables.

  6. Of course!
    Can I ask what is CSA? I’ve never heard of buying a box of produce before. I really miss our farmers market. Can’t wait until it picks back up in April. We LOVE buying local when possible. It tastes so much better than the grocery store produce.

  7. I’ve done this several times (a few years ago I did it every third month). THe rule was: buy no non-consumables for the month. I found that it made my life less hurried, as well as cheaper and greener. But blogging about it really did help with accountability!

  8. Fran, that’s a great idea. I noticed that a lot of the canned goods on our shelves are not ‘real’ foods that we would normally eat. Instead, I’m going to use them to create our emergency preparedness kit soon.

    Danica, CSA stands for community supported agriculture. In short, it’s a way to get fresh produce directly from the farmer. There is so much more I want to say about it, I will do a whole post on it soon.

    Catfish, I’ve started thinking about where we go after this No Spend Month. Repeating it again after a few months might be a good way to go.


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