What I Learnt From My No Spend Month

I started strong.

I had my No Spend Challenge Sheet, my budget for food and petrol was set and I’d planned no other expenses for the month.

I was ready for it.

Each Friday, I took out what I needed for the week – a total of £50 (£30 food shopping, £20 petrol)

It went ok, but I didn’t do as well as I did in January this year.

However, I will take what I’ve learnt and look for areas where I can improve.

The No Spend Month ended with:

12 – No spend days (17 days in January)

7   – In budget spends

11 – Out of Budget Spends (6 days in January)

No spend days

Looking at the No Spend Challenge Sheet, I had at least 2 no spend days a week and these were mostly on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  

In Budget Spends

My in budget spends were mostly done on a Friday when I do our usual food and petrol shop. My daughter is out at a club so I can do it in peace. I always spend more when she’s with me! It also leaves us Saturday as a fun day. I do try and get both the food shop and petrol on the same day.

Out of Budget Spends

My out of budget spends consisted of hospital car parking fees, last minute drinks and snacks when delivering parcels and a last minute trip to the fair – fairs are my thing!

My out of budgets spends fell mostly on a Monday and Tuesday. This will either be me popping to the shops because I’ve forgotten something on the weekly shop I did at the weekend or going for treats.

8/11 of my out of budget spends were done on weekdays.

I think it’s important to understand your behaviour when it comes to spending. When you buy, what you buy and why you spend the way you do.

My Plan Going Forward

Remove my debit cards from my phone case – this should stop me from the last minute spends at the shop. I only need my debit card on a Friday when I’m drawing out the money I need for the week. Having it in my phone case is asking for it to be used!

I have added to our budget a small pot of money of £20 a week for fun. This means if the fair comes to town, we have a little to spend!!

Be more organised and take snacks we want to eat when I’m delivering parcels. I do make us food every week for when we are out delivering but when it comes to eating it, we never fancy it! We always fancy a Greggs though! And a vegan sausage roll and bottle of pop every Sunday doesn’t cost a lot, so I am going to continue to buy this but what I will start doing it making sure I leave enough room in the normal weekly budget for it.

I don’t believe this small treat a week will hinder our long term goals. But the continuous deprivation might.

A few more Tips

You need an emergency fund before you try a no spend month or year because if something breaks and needs to be repaired urgently, you’ll end up breaking your no spend to fix it!

Analyse your No Spend Month! Look for spending patterns, worse (spendy days) and triggers. This will all help you understand why you buy!

How did you get on? Let me know in the comments below.


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