No Spend Month Challenge!

Managing the Everyday: No Spend Month

The other day, I was telling Juan that I felt uninspired after meeting my last writing goal (100 posts by my 2-year blogging anniversary). 

I had a few extra posts written and let them roll out, bit by bit. Now I’ve used them all up and inspiration has yet to hit. 

“Maybe you need a new goal?” he suggested. 


I tell you all this to put down in writing that this was actually HIS idea. (Ok, so probably not what he had in mind exactly). 

September’s goal? 

No Spend Month! 


What is that? 

A month long challenge to limit our spending to only the essentials. And because one of the essentials (food) is our biggest budget buster, we are going to set a cash limit as well: $650.

We could easily cut our food budget back even more by using coupons and buying lower quality ingredients. However, we choose to eat whole (non-processed) foods and often buy organic – two categories that I rarely see coupons for. 

(Something interesting: While we were talking about what limit to set, Juan found the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy & Prevention’s Cost of Food at Home chart for July 2014. According to the chart, the monthly price of moderate-cost food for a 2 adult household is $618.60.)

So $650 sounds just right for our family.

In addition to food, this $650 will cover:

  • Gas/Parking
  • Toiletries
  • Entertainment
  • Miscellaneous Spending

Managing the Everyday: No Spend Month

Why Do This? 

  • We like to think we are good with our money, but we consistently go over our budget – especially when it comes to groceries & dining out.  
  • I’ve started buying things because I can, not because I need them.
  • Cutting back on our miscellaneous spending means more money to save & invest for the future. 

Managing the Everyday: No Spend Month

What I think it will look like:

  • Making meals at home instead of unplanned eating out: Packed lunches for Juan and no more trips to the restaurant across the street because it’s late and we didn’t plan for dinner. (We don’t even really like the food!)
  • Paying attention to what is in the fridge, freezer & pantry. Using produce before it goes bad. 
  • Finishing projects that we have the supplies for instead of getting supplies for new projects. 
  • No impulse shopping – especially for cute things that I justify because “they are for Javi!“. Borrowing from friends or checking out second-hand shops if there is something he really needs. 
  • Going to the park, reading, playing games, watching free shows on Hulu. 
  • Getting creative and finding ways to use what we have instead of buying new. 
  • Running errands on foot and consolidating trips when we do use the car to save gas.
  • Enjoying coffee at home with fresh baked goodies. 

Managing the Everyday: No Spend Month

What the $650 doesn’t include: 

  • Tithe & Giving
  • Savings & Investments
  • Regular Bills (Insurance Premiums, HOA dues, Utilities, etc.)
  • Medicine & Diapers 
  • Overnight trip costs (We have an overnight trip planned this month with friends. We plan to keep our costs reasonable, but not worry about it so much that we are “weird” to be around.)

So there you have it! I’ll be posting updates on Mondays. I’m nervous to post this because I know there will be no turning back, but I’m also excited for the challenge!

Want to join us? 

2 thoughts on “No Spend Month Challenge!

  1. So excellent! I didn’t return to work last year after Caleb was born and have become more and more inspired in the kitchen lately…not necessarily on meals that take a ton of time using uncommon ingredients, but on easy meals that are made from whole foods and that the kids love. Let me know if you need any recipes!

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