Hi everyone! Jen here. Has summer spending been out of control for you too? Ready for a little challenge to put fire under your pants and money back in your wallets? Join Corinne and me as we challenge ourselves to only buy absolute essentials (including paying bills!) during the entire month of September.
Just the act of paying attention to what you’re spending money on will help you be thrifty in the coming months. Of course you’ll need to get creative with ways to have fun, but we know you can do it (and we can too!). Invite your friends to do the challenge with you and post on social media with #NoSpendSeptember2018. Here are the rules and some ideas to help you get started, and listen to this month’s podcasts (new one every Wednesday!) to get more tips and tricks:
- Only buy absolute essentials. Groceries, gas, medicines, toiletries, etc. Try to grocery shop only ONCE per week and stick to a certain budget. Personally, I’m going to stick to $200 per week on groceries for our family of 6. And since we’re not spending on lunches, dinner or drinks out, I’m going to have to send my husband with a packed lunch every day. This not only means one more lunch to pack (AAAAAAHHH!), but also more groceries to stock up on. I’m going to shop exclusively at Aldi and try extra hard to meal plan and stick to my list. If we run out of something toward the end of the week, I’ll bake it, make do, or we’ll go without.
- Give yourself $20 (or a set amount under $50) for “can’t avoids” for the whole month. Hang on tight to this extra cash… you may need it for a birthday present, a broken shoe, or a bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party. You can also EARN more September spending money by selling things on Craigslist or Ebay. For example, I just remembered that I have a high school reunion on September 15th, so I posted a few old baby items on Craigslist and I’ve already made $50 that I’ll be able to spend at the reunion venue for dinner and drinks. Goodbye, Ergo, Hello “free” money!
- No online shopping unless that’s how you do your essentials. Need some new shoes? Check the local thrift store or wait until October. You can use your “can’t avoid” cash, but think about if there’s any way you can go without or trade shoes with a friend. You can also post your shoe need on Freecycle if you have one in your area. I just got an awesome shelf for free on Freecyle. If you absolutely need to spend money on a non-essential, consider “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Take some money out of your grocery budget and eat dried beans for the week. October’s looking pretty good now, isn’t it?!?
- Take advantage of all the free things to do in your area. Libraries, museums, hikes, biking trails, picnic dinners in scenic places and at-home movie nights with popcorn are not only so much fun, but doing them will help your family diversify their activities and many of them will stick with you for the long-term. Check blogs and free events pages of your local paper to get ideas. Instead of going out to dinner with your partner, find a new recipe to cook together.
- Keep track of your spending on essentials. This one is optional, but aren’t you curious about how much you spend as a bare minimum? What’s your baseline? If you do this, you’ll know how much EXTRA you’re typically spending per month. Imagine if you could do a no-spend month a couple times a year! All of a sudden, you wouldn’t feel drained by holidays and birthdays.
Keep us posted and don’t forget to hashtag your adventures with #NoSpendSeptember2018. This journey starts on September 1st (which happens to be a Saturday…), so get ready!