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Preparing for a No Spend Month

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I have decided to make October a No Spend Month. I’m already talking it over with the kids. Hoping to make it a goal driven game of sorts as they are very much bought in to saving money these days on wants over needs.

There are several reasons for this No Spend Month:

  1. We are planning to drive to Texas for the week of Thanksgiving, all 5 of us. And I need to create a bigger buffer to afford that trip. Even though I do not have to take off work, it will cost me more than a regular week. (History Buff will be coming to GA from VA to drive with us. We will be spending the week at my parents I think I wrote about this back in June when I committed to it. But with my mom’s health declining, my dad is trying to get all us kids and grandkids there for a last family photo.)
  2. The kids time-consuming sports will end. School football and volleyball will be over the first week, so practices, games and nightly carpool commitments will end. So other than a weekly trip to gymnastics, we will be home all the time which makes it much easier to not spend.
  3. While we do get food stamps this month, it will be the last. So I want to make them stretch as far as possible. I believe I can make the groceries we have plus one more good shopping trip last through the month of October with just a small budget to replace perishables.

Planning Ahead

When I’ve done No Spend months or weeks in the past, they’ve been kind of last minute things. This time, I’m planning for it. And I’m hoping this planning will help us do even better than we have in the past.

These are the things I’ve thought through so far:

  1. Personal hygiene – making sure the littles and I have what we need to get through a month. Gymnast is currently out of deodorant and I’m about to be.
  2. Sundries – I need to stock up on some laundry detergent and purchase a back up bottle of dish soap. I’m watching the weekly news ads for specials on this in hopes of keeping the cost as low as possible. Our toilet paper will be restocked on Sept. 12 (subscribe and ship from Amazon every quarter.) Other than that, I think we are all set in this area.
  3. Food – we will be able to use food stamps, but my goal is to shop at the end of September based on a meal plan of what we currently have in the house and buy as little as possible. It would be great to get to the end of October, rather beginning of November and still have food stamps. We are now halfway through this month and still have over 1/2 of August’s resources available. My goal is to clear the deep freezer and pantry over the next 6 weeks.
  4. Gas – with very little driving needed in October, I think we will almost be able to cut my weekly gas budget in half. Woot, woot! That will really help with the extra driving we will be doing in November to go to Texas.
  5. Change in the Weather? We’ve spent this week cleaning out closets and checking on what people need as far as cooler weather clothes. Everyone has everything that NEED, not saying there are no wants, but I do not anticipate needing to purchase anything for October clothes-wise even if the cooler temperatures appear.

Saving for Trip vs Paying Off Debt

The real challenge is going to be balancing saving for the Texas trip and putting all my extra monies toward debt. We should start having significantly more “extra” monies in October as 1) we cut our spending even further and 2) my work continues to increase.

It has been a lot of fun to start paying extra on debts. It feels really good to see those numbers dropping and even better that I’m not having to stress over every single payment.

My thought is that I need to create a budget for the trip or savings goal. And then once I hit that, put any extra towards extra debt payments. Thoughts? What have I missed in planning for a very serious No Spend Month?

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7 Comments

  • Reply Mim |

    Have you considered making your own laundry detergent. There are lots of easy recipes online. I’ve been doing this for abour 7 years and I can make a years worth of laundry detergent for around $10-$15. It takes a little time but, no more than cooking a single meal.

    I also think that homemade laundy soap gets smells out of laundry better than commercial detergent.

  • Reply Ann |

    Great idea, Hope! Sounds like you are planning well.
    I find no-spend days hard, but I’m sure after a few days it would get better. And you’ve done some prep work that will make it more doable.
    Keep updating us!

  • Reply Alex |

    Love that you are planning ahead for this. I definitely think pinning down a budget for the trip is a good idea. If you have a concrete number you’re working towards, it’ll be easier to stay motivated!

  • Reply Alice |

    I love this plan! I’m so happy that you’re blogging more often. It’s nice to see that things are changing in such great ways for you. I think you’re doing an awesome job, keep up the good work.

  • Reply Josie |

    Do you have room in this month’s budget for your “stocking up” items? It’d be silly to spend more than you have planned in September just so you can say that you didn’t buy these things in October.

  • Reply Sarah |

    Have you tried using KrazyCouponLady.com to get the best deals on toiletries? I only live by a CVS but I get free deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc., and almost free laundry detergent basically every month there (and without tons of time/effort- I work more than full-time). The writers of that site break it down and make it really easy. The key is using ExtraBucks to buy more items that generate Extrabucks, and keep the free stuff rolling forward forever. I’ve actually accumulated too many of these items by accident so I’ll be bringing a box to donate this weekend.

So, what do you think ?