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No Spend Month by Default


Needless to say, with my job loss, we are tightening our belts financially…

  1. We’ve stopped our weekly fresh milk and organic food deliveries.  Returning to bulk purchases as much as possible.
  2. All entertainment is out  the window – no going out to eat, movies, etc.
  3. I’ve redeemed all my stockpiled points for items needed while I had the cash to supplement them and so I didn’t lose them.  Items purchased include: stockpile of toilet paper (remember when I ran out of toilet paper?) new winter jacket for one of the twins, ink for the printer, Brita pitchers (2) to cut down on buying water.
  4. Cutting back activities where we can to save on gas costs as all activities have been paid for, so just limiting them…so one robotics practice a week rather than two, etc.
  5. Lots of other little changes….

And that has led us to a No Spend Month!  I have paid all the bills for the month, stocked the cupboard with the help of a friend’s Costco membership (I cut our Sam’s Club renewal,) and have laid out the entire month financially based on what we have going on.  The ONLY extra this month will be Little Gymnast first meet which is up near DC so it will require a bit of extra gas money.

So here is our budget for this month (with all bills paid already:)

  • Gas – $150 (includes some extra for travel to the gymanstic’s meet)
  • Food – $50 (will have to restock eggs, milk and some fresh fruits/veggies towards the end probably but we’ll see, I’m going to try and push it but am prepared just in case)

When I first started reading blogs I followed a mom who did not spend months every year and I was always fascinated by the things she did…so here I am looking for tips on making the food stretch, finding meals I can make for days we are gone all day and looking for free activities we can do to entertain ourselves.

So here’s to November…our No Spend Month!  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!


  • Reply CJ |

    Hey Hope,

    Check out local newspaper websites or google you area and free things to do. I know that where I live there are lots of free events coming up for the holidays that are great for kids and adults alike.

    Also I clicked over to your EPOH website and noticed your news page and your projects page have not been updated since 2013. Set aside some time to update them with projects you have done over the past few years. Even if you cannot provide specifics, you can talk about the type of work you have been doing, where you made a impact and any new expertise that sets you apart from other VAs.

    • Reply Hope |

      CJ, you are so right, I do need to update my own website. I’m just not sure what I want to do next. And frankly am seriously leaning towards going back to the corporate world…not just for the money but also the benefits that I have not had for the last 10 years – paid time off, vacation time, paid holidays. On top of that I just learned today that the state has changed the policies on the twin’s adoption assistance, rather than going through they graduate from college, it will end the day they turn 18…which will be early in their senior year. (Evidently there is an appeal process, but that is not guaranteed.) In addition, their medical coverage will be cut at 21 where as if I have corporate insurance I can include them in it can last til their mid-20s while in school, etc. at least longer than 21. So anyways, lots of factors for me to keep in mind as I job hunt.

  • Reply Angie |

    Can I just say how awesome it is that you are acting on spending cuts NOW.
    When faced with job loss most people continue to spend and live the same or with minimal cuts. It takes until they actually run out of money to implement changes and at that point its so hard to do. I’m guilty of it too. I don’t think we changed our spending at all when I was unemployed. We still were spending hundreds on entertainment and booze! Actually my hubby’s contract did not get renewed and we are still spending the same…. Maybe time to put my words into action in my own life.

    Stay positive! Also, for this month there is no shame in looking for some church food pantry giveaways. I know some in my area are grocery store day-old breads and such. Food will go to waste if its not used.

    • Reply Angie |

      Hah. Had to repost because its ironic… Found out when I got home from work that day that DH’s work has decided they were no longer employing contract workers. So they contract we’ve been waiting about a month for them to renew is now nothing.

      I’m a perfect example of why you should be acting immediately! For the past few weeks we’ve been spending the same as before. I wish I had it all back now.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Angie! I’ve been so blessed with people reaching out to lift me up. Several churches have offered through friends one for Thanksgiving meal and one to make sure the kids have a Christmas. I am so thankful for that as neither of them are in the budget at this time.

  • Reply Maureen |

    I would do some meal planning, as in physically writing down what you are having for each meal, on a weekly (or even try monthly) basis. I recently just tried to do a modified no spend month myself for the very first time and limited myself to $100 a month for groceries. Now, I don’t have kids and have a smaller household, but I found that I could have probably gone the entire month with only buying eggs, milk, bread, etc. Can you get creative with meals? For example, brown 2 pounds of meat (turkey, beef, chicken) and make tacos one night (cheap meal!) and then use it for spaghetti sauce the next.

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, yes and yes! Meal planning definitely makes a big difference for me. When I have a plan I’m not as tempted to go out for convenience AND it keeps me from wasting food.

  • Reply Katie |

    I’m not sure if this is the blog you’re referring too, but theprudenthomemaker.com has written about the year + they went with no income at all, and they are a family of 9. She is a very resourceful woman, and has plenty of good ideas. She also homeschools, so there may be some helpful tips for you there too. I enjoy this blog as it’s a reminder on how to live simply and frugally. Unlike a lot of blogs, she’s not advocating how to maintain a lifestyle by using obsessively cutting coupons, looking for deals, etc. Her tone is much more focused on living with a minimum amount of stuff – distractions, items, etc.

    • Reply Hope |

      Katie, this actually was not the blog I was referring too. Frankly, I can’t remember what the name of it was. But I’m enjoying this new one. Thank you!

  • Reply Kili |

    Does your church offer some sort of free activities / concerts / you and the kids’d enjoy?

    • Reply Hope |

      Princess is actually singing with the choir at our church so weekly practices and a ton of holiday performances coming up, but not really any family entertainment unfortunately.

  • Reply Mary from SC |

    I know this is a tough time but you are doing all the right things. Have you considered using your degree to enter the PACE program and become a certified teacher? You have many attributes that would be invaluable to a classroom setting. Just wanted to throw that out there. Still rooting for you from SC.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Mary. That is not something I have considered, but it is how my mom became a teacher later in life so I’m familiar with it. I don’t think I would do very well in what seems to be a system rife with politics and red tape. But definitely something to put on the list and mull around in the my mind.

  • Reply Sarah |

    How about a food pantry for fresh fruit and veggies? I know that is not something you are used to but it will help stretch your money. Or, shop at a farmer’s market if they still have one in your area. We have some that are year around. We find veggies cheaper there.

    Also, I’m not much of a cook but I made chicken soup the other day and it was so easy. Served it that night with corn bread and then froze the rest. I think I bought two bone in breasts and lots of veggies and that was it.

    • Reply Hope |

      Yum, chicken soup! So glad that these super lean months are happening duringn winter because I am definitely best at making things stretch when I can use the crockpot! Today I’m making a roast which will last us for two meals and makes enough gravy to last a week so we will do rice tonight, making extra rice to fry some tomorrow, and use the gravy later this week on potatoes.
      There is a farmer’s market here, I will have to check there for some fresh veggies and fruit.

So, what do you think ?