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Thread: No spend months

  1. #1
    CaToonie
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    I will admit I am terrible at this so what are your tips and tricks for not spending for a whole month? or it could even be as small as a couple of days or a week.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellen Cardinal View Post
    I will admit I am terrible at this so what are your tips and tricks for not spending for a whole month? or it could even be as small as a couple of days or a week.
    Ohhhh ....good question! So, the drastic answer would be to bury all plastic cards in a snow drift and wait til it melts. But in my case, it just boils down to good old fashioned self control. Since I have not got to the point of ordering groceries online - not taking the car out that day effectively eliminates shopping for groceries.
    For online - you could always adopt a policy that you aren't going to release credit or debit card to those businesses - so the funds would only be available when you want to spend.

    Then there is the 'make a list of items needed and prioritize them'. Determine what are willing to spend - and shop with the list.....and do not deviate. This portion can be done with a buddy - so if you have the temptation to buy something not on the list - call your buddy for a little moral support.

    If all else fails - use the - do I really need it? system. If you don't need it - don't buy it. This is especially effective if you don't need it AND can't afford it.




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    Smart Canuck kiwis-mom's Avatar
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    It depends on what your needs are and why you don't want to spend. As it is nearly impossible to not spend money during a whole month unless you live rent free with no utilities (that counts as spending too!). Your first step would be to put pen to paper and write down everything you spend money on in a month from rent/mortgage to a cup of coffee that you get an accurate picture of where your money goes. Then you should make a list of what expenses are "needs"(things that are essentials like mortgage/rent, hydro, water and heating) and then a list of what expenses are "wants" such as meals out, entertainment, clothes, alcohol and the like. Once you see where your money goes you can see where to saves can be had. Keeping track of money spent and not using credit cards without paying them in full each money is key. Once you sort that out cutting your monthly spending can be easily done. As well having a goal for saving helps too! Wanting to save for something specific and keeping track of how much you save towards it each month is a great idea too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by endi2000 View Post
    Ohhhh ....good question! So, the drastic answer would be to bury all plastic cards in a snow drift and wait til it melts. But in my case, it just boils down to good old fashioned self control. Since I have not got to the point of ordering groceries online - not taking the car out that day effectively eliminates shopping for groceries.
    For online - you could always adopt a policy that you aren't going to release credit or debit card to those businesses - so the funds would only be available when you want to spend.

    Then there is the 'make a list of items needed and prioritize them'. Determine what are willing to spend - and shop with the list.....and do not deviate. This portion can be done with a buddy - so if you have the temptation to buy something not on the list - call your buddy for a little moral support.

    If all else fails - use the - do I really need it? system. If you don't need it - don't buy it. This is especially effective if you don't need it AND can't afford it.




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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwis-mom View Post
    It depends on what your needs are and why you don't want to spend. As it is nearly impossible to not spend money during a whole month unless you live rent free with no utilities (that counts as spending too!). Your first step would be to put pen to paper and write down everything you spend money on in a month from rent/mortgage to a cup of coffee that you get an accurate picture of where your money goes. Then you should make a list of what expenses are "needs"(things that are essentials like mortgage/rent, hydro, water and heating) and then a list of what expenses are "wants" such as meals out, entertainment, clothes, alcohol and the like. Once you see where your money goes you can see where to saves can be had. Keeping track of money spent and not using credit cards without paying them in full each money is key. Once you sort that out cutting your monthly spending can be easily done. As well having a goal for saving helps too! Wanting to save for something specific and keeping track of how much you save towards it each month is a great idea too!
    Thank you both for the advice. I've never really tried a no spend month but my goal is to build up my savings as much as possible and to challenge myself. All my credit cards are paid off along with my rent and utilities until April ( I got a discount for paying up front). All my transportation costs are covered until April as well; I bought/used up rewards/organized carpools for the rest of the school year. I have quite a bit of canned foods/ pastas/ non-perishable items. Mostly, I just want as few items to lug back home as possible and to really figure out my financial priorities.
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    A great goal to take on and good luck. Myself, personally I would start with a week at a time as it would be more doable, then work your way up to a month.
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    I've never tried to spend $0, and doubt I ever will since that would rule out things like fresh fruit and veg. I've also never set a formal target of an entire month. However, what I have done a number of times is to stop buying beef, pork and/or fish for the freezer until I've used up a target amount of what I already have frozen. It's not all or nothing; for instance, beef is the only one I'm currently not buying.

    I don't do this with chicken because it's almost always available at good prices somewhere in my regular shopping zone, so I basically never have stock in my freezer to use up.

    So what I suggest is that instead of arbitrarily choosing an all-inclusive goal of spending $0 for an entire month, consider looking more specifically at what things you can / should stop buying for a while. If you have a lot of some things, a month might not be long enough to get your stock down to where you can consider re-stocking.
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    I keep a log of what I spend each day, it really has helped me to see where I am wasting money. I also stay out of stores with the exception of groceries and the odd trip to Shoppers, but to not spend anything is unrealistic for me.
    Last edited by barbis9; Wed, Feb 7th, 2018 at 11:29 AM.
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    Senior Canuck Arjon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbis9 View Post
    I keep a log of what I spend each day, it really has helped me to see where I am wasting money. I also stay out of stores with the exception of groceries and the odd trip to Shoppers, but to not spend anything is unrealistic for me.
    Good stuff. I found that logging every cent I spent was VERY helpful for a few years when paying off my mortgage as quickly as possible was a top priority. Thankfully, money hasn't been nearly as tight since it was paid off, but I still review all my spending after every month.

    And yes, going into stores without knowing what you plan to buy isn't conducive to saving.
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  9. #9
    Must Coupon, Must Save :) SassyAshley's Avatar
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    I have to agree with others that I do not think a No Spend Month would work for our household as it would eliminate all of the fresh items we purchase. We consume a lot of Dairy, Fresh Fruit & Vegetables each month and they would need to fall into the can buy category.

    Instead I base a lot of things off a Min/Max system. For most pantry items I have a max of what my Stockpile can hold and a minimum that once we reach it means it is time to look for a sales on these item. My minimum is enough to last a few weeks so we can wait for the item to go on sale and we do not have to "just buy."
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    @Ellen Cardinal -you mention school. If you are in a post-secondary program, chances are your student card qualifies you for 10% off at Food Basics on Tuesdays or other major retailer like Loblaws or Sobeys if you are in London ON or Toronto ON. Also look at the student union and school calendars-are there any free food/event days where you can get something for lunch without having to pay for it? Ditto any common hour workshops or financial info sessions-take advantage of them while in school.
    Some student unions may offer up to $100 emergency cash once per academic year to students in need, should you find yourself short of cash for food or other necessity. It might be good to know what's available in case a fellow student in need could be advised of the program.
    Think like everyone else has indicated, you need to prioritize and follow where your money goes. Tracking expenses for February can give you an idea what your main budget categories are and for March, you could budget more for savings and less for another category. Having certain areas covered financially as you have indicated are great! Having a savings fund going is definitely worthwhile, especially if you may have any student loans to pay off and want a jump on payments during the 6-month interest free period.
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