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.

Money Wise Talks 30/09/2021

Welcome to my ‘Money Wise Talks’ section where I will be talking about how my debt free journey is going, what I spend, save and invest in and well anything money/life related.

I thought it would coincide nicely with my regular updates on Instagram but with the added bonus of being able to go into much more detail and share more of my money wise journey, the ups and the downs and my general thoughts throughout the week.

This week sees me finish my No Spend September and will be the start of October – New month New Goals and all that.

I’m not going to do another No Spend, to be honest I don’t think I do particularly well at them lol, but I will discuss this all in my No Spend post. My budget for food shopping and petrol is tight at a total of £50 per week but I manage it most of the time. What I don’t manage is the other spending.

I think because I get paid so many times by different things, I always have bits of money coming in which allows me the chance to be a little frivolous and I seem to manage to hide it pretty well from my normal money tracking.

Crazy to think I’m trying to outdo myself isn’t it?

Another thing I’ve noticed is when I break budget it’s usually to do something fun either with my daughter or with friends – so from tomorrow – Friday 1st October, the plan is I will give us a £20 a week budget for fun. I don’t intend to use this every week but it will be nice to save it for when we do nice things and to have that cash there. I will use a sinking jar for this 😊

One of my goals for September was to write and post four blog posts as a minimum – which I’m please to say I did! I would like to continue this momentum as I love writing and get a huge sense of achievement when I hit that ‘publish’ button.

You can check out those September blog posts here;

No Spend Month

Is a £1000 Emergency Fund Enough?

What are Sinking Funds

50 Ways You Can Make Money

Meal Planning on a Budget

My plan for October is monitor and track my expenses. And look after myself abit better – I’m having too many late nights whilst planning my dreams!

I have tried to track my expenses before but did it for the whole month and to be honest it didn’t work that well because I got fed up with writing everything down. But I do think this is something I need to focus on and believe this will give me some wins with my budget, so I’m going to try it again with a little twist of doing a weekly tracker instead. This might trick my brain into staying focused – something I do struggle with on a daily basis.

Doing a weekly challenge will hopefully work much better for my short attention span and I’m hoping that it stops me from spending!

My budget for food and petrol runs from Friday to Friday now since I have gone back to being paid weekly again from my main job, so I will officially start tracking my expenses from tomorrow and then do an update every Thursday.

Have a great week

H

My No Spend Month – January 2021

I have never done a no spend anything really but after reading ‘The No Spend Year’ by Michelle McGagh which I picked up earlier this year from the library I have been inspired to do something similar. I am not sure if I could commit to a whole year, but a month definitely seems doable!! During the no spend year, Michelle saved a whopping £22k which is just amazing. And If I had the same success as her I would really be debt free! Wow, just wow!!

My Why

I have a little under £20k to pay off before I am completely debt free with my original plan being to be debt free by the end of this year, so I thought I would start 2021 with a no spend January to give me a great start on the year. Who knows, if it goes ok, I may keep going.

The plan is to reduce/stop altogether the frivolous spending I do on takeaways, Amazon, over budget spends on birthdays, Christmas, days out etc. I want to not only keep a strict budget but take the time to find fun things to do without spending any money. I want to break the cycle of wanting stuff and start to live a more minimalistic, financially secure life.

I want to get time back time with my family and am even hoping to learn new recipes and batch cook meals instead of eating the same food all the time or having takeaways. I have never done anything like this before but since I started my blog and my Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/themoneywisemum/ I can see it’s really helping to keep me accountable whilst I am on my journey towards financial freedom. Not only that, its great to have the community of like-minded people around you.

Rules

I need some rules for my no spend month as I will still be paying normal fixed debits like gas, electric and rent and will have a strict unbreakable budget for all the variable type spending like food and petrol. Some other items I will continue to pay is my daughters clubs because I don’t want her to go without and in the last year all her clubs stopped or went online so if we have any normality next year, I’d like her to continue doing some of the things she loves. I will also still be paying for Sky but only because I am stuck in the contract for the next 12 months.

Rule 1 – No spending on ANYTHING outside the budget

Rule 2 – Kinda falls in with rule 1, but NO TAKEAWAYS

Rule 3 – Budget for the month to be posted on my blog by 1st January for accountability purposes with an actual spend being posted by 1st Feb

I have made my no spend challenge tracker and will now spend the few days sorting my budget, finding some batch cooking recipes and looking at any fun things we can do over the next month. If your thinking of trying something like this, let’s do it together!