I set strict budgets in my home using spreadsheets, shopping sales, using coupons. There are still times that I manage to blow past my limit without even realizing what is happening, despite my best intentions. Like many people, I find myself spending more then I intend to.
Then I found the January Money Diet- this is to help with saving money after overspending through the holidays and thought why do I have to wait until January to do this? I want to start in March.
I am determined to get back on track with my spending as soon as possible – that’s why I’m deeming March a no-spend month.
Monthly Money challenge: Start a Spending Detox
Spending money on clutter and stuff you just don t need is effecting many. I want to start the month strong by taking a break from spending money on unnecessary things and focusing on my financial goals.
As it turns out, I am not alone in my mindset. Thousands of people each year participate in the Money Diet, a 30 day money-saving challenge. During the month (mine is March), you only spend money on essentials like food, and you focus on living well without unnecessary spending.
The Rules of the Month
There are some expenses I simply cannot get rid of (no matter how much I may like to), including rent, utilities, and home internet. Those expenses are non-negotiable, but I plan on cutting in other areas.
Gas for the car is a must, and groceries, too. But the grocery budget will be reduced by about 50 percent. I will eliminate the sweets and snacks we love, and the convenient ready-made meals. I plan on doing a lot more from-scratch cooking during the month, stretching my grocery budget further.
Clothes, dinners out, and trips to the movies are all eliminated. Indeed, I’ll be taking trips to the park with the kids, watching movies I already own, and attending community events.
This is a significant change for me, but it will be effective. When I sat down and did the math, I estimated that I will save about $500 in extraneous spending. That money can go a long way in helping build my savings back up.
Results to Expect
A no-spend month is more than just a way to save some money; it’s a detox that helps reset your mindset. After overindulging and overspending on a regular basis, it can help to readjust your approach to money.
You can significantly change your financial outlook in just 30 days. While we think we can save $500, the results over time are more significant. That money bolsters our emergency fund, which means we’ll rely less on credit cards if a crisis pops up. By saving money, we’re less likely to end up in debt.
After we get used to spending less and living without so many extras, we can make do on a smaller income. That means we can save even more after the 30-day challenge is over. One simple month of not spending can compound to have long-lasting effects.
Make it a game
There’s no doubt about it: Going a whole month without spending money is tough. The best way to make it doable is to make it fun.
My family and I have a competition of who can come up with the best free event ideas, the tastiest cheap dinners, and the most innovative do-it-yourself solutions. The only prize is bragging rights, but we’re all innately competitive people.
Turning a no-spend challenge into a game makes it more fun and less of a strain. If your family is struggling to get through, try different ways to make it fun for you.