Happy New Year, friends!
I don’t know about you, but when January comes and the craziness of Christmas finally ceases (I’m not a huge fan) I breathe a sigh of relief. Time to relax. Also time to start over. New year, new habits, new growth. What are you doing for yourself or your family in the new year?
I try to pick a few things to work on in the new year for myself or our family, and start small. This avoids the resolution meltdown in February after pledging to go to the gym every morning at 6 or never eat proccessed sugar again, or other unrealistic goals.
I’m teaming up with several other bloggers who are taking the month off from spending. This is a great opportunity to save money (especially after Christmas) and practice simplicity. I would like you to consider joining me. Emily, you may be thinking, this is crazy, the new year starts tomorrow, this is impossible to pull together by then.
I would agree with you. I have been feeling under the weather for the last month (more on that later) which is why I’m just now getting this up here. And since my husband is a school teacher, we always do things by the school calendar, which is why my no spend month doesn’t actually start until Monday, the 4th, when he goes back to school.
So, there actually is time to pull this together. Would you consider joining me?
Here are the guidelines:
- Know your necessities. Obviously I’m going to put gas in our vehicles, pay medical expenses, and regular bills. I checked with Comcast, and they weren’t as excited as I was about just skipping my bill for January. So, pay your bills.
- No impulse spending. This is avoided by simply avoiding shopping. I’ll explain more below about our grocery situation.
- Absolutely no eating out, unless you have a gift card.
- Be creative. If you run out of something, can you make it? Can you wait until the month’s over?
- And finally, give yourself grace. If a birthday party pops up in the middle of the month, by all means, buy a gift and go! Community is more important than this challenge. Community matters.
So, how do you avoid shopping for a month? Meal plan. It’s not as hard as it sounds to plan an entire month of meals. I give each day a theme: Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, etc. So I just need to plan 4 meatless recipes, 4 mexican recipes, etc. Then make a huge shopping trip before the month starts. There are lots of great meal planning resources online. Start there if you need help.
Fresh produce is a large part of our diet, so I will be going to the grocery store every Wednesday to stock up. The trick here is to take a list and ONLY buy what’s on the list. Nothing more.
My no spend month is a pretty modified version. Not only will I be shopping for produce every week, but I’m co-hosting a baby shower in January and obviously need to spend money on that (which is a joy to do!). My girl Brittany, over at Little Mountain Momma will be doing a stricter version, and she’s done it before and rocked it. Check out her post on how she does it.
We’ll be tracking our month on social media using the hashtag #newyearnospend if you want to join in on the fun. Let me know, would you, if you want in on this? Doing a challenge with friends makes it easier. Or do your own version of a no spend month. Maybe for you, that means avoiding the coffee shop on your way to work, or eating at home instead of eating out. The point is to take a break from what we regularly do and focus on living simply. I’m excited about it.
Let me know what you think, and I will let you know how the month goes.
Happy New Year!