Yesterday I read a post in a magazine about “No Spend November” and it hit a nerve with me. The idea is to not spend any of your take home pay for the entire month of November. Yes you pay your bills and buy groceries, but that is about it. Anything extra is not allowed.
I have lived the days of having only $600 a month to live on and that included rent and paying our health insurance and car payment out of that amount. I know frugal living. I have had to take my husband’s $2 bill collection to buy groceries for our family. I lived frugally for years. This is different for me because I need to simply appreciate what I have and stop the mindless spending.
I had a conversation with my husband about if I should do this challenge. He loved the idea. Clearly saving money gets him excited. Our conversation was interesting to say the least. I said I want to do this challenge but I have a bunch of excuses and could I get some exceptions to the challenge.
First off I asked for the exception of any appointments I already had made that cost money like my hair appointments. My husband agreed that I should keep the appointments.
Then I said there were two events in town that I need to buy tickets to that I have not purchased my tickets to. I wanted those to be exceptions. He agreed since I had already committed to going that I should still buy the tickets.
Then I said that two of our kids have birthdays in November. I would need to buy them birthday gifts. Looks like I have two more exceptions.
Oh and then I have to buy tickets for when our son is in his musical at school. Add one more exception to the list.
Ok I think that should cover everything for the month. But then I went to send a message to a group of friends about having lunch next week. Yikes, that would fall within “No Spend November.” I didn’t send the message and told my husband. He looked at me and said that I could go as long as it was a business lunch. I laughed and said all of my lunches and coffee dates are business expenses.
Then our conversation turned to what if I was given an allowance to cover all my expenses for the month. I said I was not a child and I don’t want an allowance. I may have stomped my foot too. Then my son shouted from the other room, how about calling it a budget instead. I too struggled with that word. He stated that as an adult I need a budget, and my husband agreed. Could these two be conspiring against me?
So here I sit wondering what is wrong with me. Why can’t I do No Spend November? I know my limits I suppose. I run our household and buy things only when we need them. Well I guess I have been taking trips to my local Target and bought some impulse items. But I also have put things in my cart at Target and before going to the checkout I have emptied many impulse items out of my cart.
So I have created my own rules for No Spend November.
First, no items for myself or my home. No cute throw pillows or new bath items. I need to focus on what I already have and use them up. That half used shampoo bottle will get used this month. That face cream that has two uses left in the container I will finally empty.
Second, when I grocery shop no extra items in the cart. Meal planning will be my friend. If it isn’t part of a meal it will not go in my cart. Dinners out with my family will not exist this month. I will have the occasional business lunch but it comes out of my funds.
Third. My drive thru trips for my cup of tea will stop and I will instead make my tea at home. I have plenty of tea at home to use and I could save a significant amount of money by just stopping my trips to my local coffee shop.
Finally, I will I agree to live within a budget of what my income is. I won’t dip into our household money except for groceries and gas for my car. I will buy anything extra with my income. Tickets to the musical will come from my account. Bringing our son home for Christmas will come from my account. I will only spend what I have.
This should be a really interesting experiment. With my exceptions in place and my game plan set I am ready to hit my “No Spend November” with my own rules in place. I challenge you to do the same. Feel free to create your own rules just as I did. I have set myself up for success. I know I will save a significant amount of money by not mindlessly shopping the aisles of the stores. Instead of going to my local coffee shop I will make my tea and shout my name from the kitchen! Set yourself up for success with the goal of saving money and stopping the impulse purchases for the month.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa’s e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.