Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No Spend Month - Final Recap

Hi Friends! I feel like I have so much to tell you all - it seems forever since I've been here with you, sharing the tidbits of my little mountain top life!

I've missed you all!

It was a busy, busy weekend in my world, unfortunately much of it involving that dreaded 4 letter word....WORK. 

I'm sorry it kept me away from all of you but I'm back now and I'm excited to share the results of my very first no-spend month with you all. 

Well.....I just about made it through the entire month without spending a dime! 

I made it right up until the day before it ended. 

What happened to break my no-spend month, you ask?

My gas light came on!! I had to pull into my local Cumberland Farms and fill up the tank. And while I was there I ran in for some bread, half and half, and Doritos. 

Yes, you heard me right. Doritos. 

I didn't mean to....it just happened. Hey, I'm not perfect!!

I also had to buy some scratch offs for a dear colleague who was retiring this weekend. I wanted to put them in with her retirement gift.....hey, you never know, right? 

Back to the no-spend - here were my tricks for making it through:

1. I stocked up. I knew I was going to really give this a try so before I began the challenge I made sure I had what I needed in the house as far as groceries and supplies went. 


2. I limited my trips in the car. Right before I began the challenge, after I ran all my errands and stocked up, the last thing I did was pull into the local gas station and fill my gas tank to the tippy top. I would have made it through the whole month without filling up again if it hadn't been so cold! I had no choice but to warm up my car well before driving to work. Oh well, it is what it is!

3. I used credit card points. I have my Chase Freedom card linked to my Amazon account. I use my Chase card for many, many things to collect as many points as possible. Whenever I get Chase points, they show up as a credit on Amazon that I can use whenever I want. I saved them this month for any "emergencies" that may come up....like buying a retirement gift for my colleague! 


4. I had my daughters chip in. They are both off the mountain much more frequently than I am and I had no qualms about asking them to bring back fresh produce. I'm still waiting for the wine to be restocked. I guess I won't hold my breath.  


5. My sweetie helped out. We have a 'deal' that whenever either of us is going to the market, we check in with the other to see if there's anything we need. I did not take advantage by any means but when I ran out of Greek yogurt, my sweetie picked it up on his trip. 

6. I shopped my freezer and my pantry. I used the fresh produce first, obviously, but as that ran out I went to my freezer and pantry for canned and frozen fruits and vegs to get me through. Meals were planned around what was already in the house. I even made a fabulous cake for the retirement party from what was in my pantry....I'll share the recipe another day. 


7. I kept lists. Instead of running out to pick up a few things as they were needed the items were simply put on the shopping list. One shopping at the end of the month, and we're all stocked up again. Since I absolutely hate grocery shopping I might try to do this more often!! One big shopping, once a month!


8. I kept busy. I did projects around the house using things I already had, which gave me the feeling of having something new without actually buying anything. Win/Win!!


9. I made do. Isn't that what it's really all about? Going back to a simpler way? Back in the 'old days' if you didn't have something, you made do. Today we are so quick to go out and buy what we 'need' or go online....but do we really need it? Really? 

I think my biggest challenge through it all was not feeling 'free' to go out and do what I wanted to do, as I was strictly trying not to spend money for the month. No days off the mountain to just visit a nearby village and wander around the shops. No bringing home Chinese Food when I didn't feel like cooking....although Sweetie did bring in a pizza this weekend. No stocking up on wine even though I'm pretty much out of whites. No splurges, no treats. No "I feel like getting a manicure." No new shirts or shoes. 

But all in all, it was a good challenge and I will most definitely do it again. January is a great time for this type of challenge - it's good to rein in the spending after the holidays and also to bring a little 'discipline' back into the routine. Let's face it, we all let things slip a little during the holidays - we eat too many sweets, drink too much eggnog....spend too much money. 

Do you think you could do it? Do you think you could go an entire month without spending on anything other than bills? 









43 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I nearly made it, Deb - I was so close!!!

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  2. I think you did very well. I do not like grocery shopping either. I think to eat fresh foods,, just put the money back you would spend every week on produce...that would not be considered spending, as it would be money laid back for a neccessity. I have not gone to Kohl's since way before Christmas...no using my 30 % off coupons , did not go spend the b-day coupon they sent me. Just tried to not spend for clothing...we all own more than we will ever wear out, right. Like I said , I think you were a winner here. I enjoyed seeing your cooked meals. I think America over does eating out. Blessings to you , xoxo,Susie

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    1. I had to unsubscribe from all the Kohl's emails - too tempting with all those coupons!!

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  3. You GO GIRL!!!!!!!!! I am so amazed by you!

    I don't think I would make it for a day. :)

    Happy day friend!
    karianne

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    1. It's fortunate that there aren't a bunch of big awesome shops up here - the only thing I pass on my way home from work are ski shops and a gas station!! Helps keep the temptation at bay....now if there were a Home Goods I'd be in big trouble!! :)

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  4. I thought it would be the gas tank too. Lol....Doritoes.

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    1. They are a weakness of mine....and Oreos. I can't even keep Oreos in the house!! they call out to me from the pantry in the middle of the night!!

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    2. I am weaning myself off of Golden Oreos! I love them...but have to stay away from them. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  5. Congrats, you did a fantastic job! I could do if I didn't have to go for my hair and nails each month...not sure I want to give that up...we will see. I know I could live off my pantry and freezer for far more than a month.

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    1. I stopped going to get my nails done since I don't want to have to drive 30 minutes for a manicure every 3 weeks. So I do my own nails. Oh well. My hair appt is next week - every 6 weeks like clockwork - no way am I giving that one up!!

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  6. Congrats! That is a huge accomplishment. I would love to try this but perhaps for a shorter period of time. We tried to do a no spend month in January 2 years ago. I think we made it 2 weeks, which still was a pretty big savings.

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    1. Maybe if you did 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, for 2 months? That might be a bit easier!

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  7. I think this is a good idea and I loved hearing how you managed to do it. The hardest challenge for me would be staying out of the grocery store. I'd have to do a lot of planning ahead of time for that one. However, there's no way we could go without fresh produce for a month. We eat a lot of fresh salads (with fresh cucumbers, peppers, sugar snap peas, radishes, peppers), bananas and citrus fruit. And there's also no way either of us could go for a month without gassing up our cars, especially my hubby who travels 54 miles to and from work 6-7 days/week.

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    1. Wow, that's a long way to travel - he would surely need to gas up every week or so!!

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  8. I'm a simple girl and I think I could do a no spend month...on my own. However, as a mom of teens, no way! The gas evaporates so quickly and so does the food. Can't keep enough in the house for them and all of their friends. It's a great idea though. Maybe someday! :)

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    1. Perhaps when your kids are older and can pitch in with groceries and such, Kim!

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  9. The months that I have tried this in the past, I allowed myself a $50 leeway--for gas, milk, etc. I still managed to save a lot but didn't have to feel guilty if I had to buy a little something-something during the month...like Doritos. They ARE a necessity some days!

    Congratulations on a job well done! I really enjoyed reading this series of posts. :-)

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    1. That's a great idea, Mimi - I may keep that in mind the next time I do this!

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  10. Great job, love! I think I might give this a try at some point.... maybe this month? I haven't spent anything yet. But don't hold me to it LOL

    That cake looks so good... dieting is no fun!

    xo,
    rue

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    1. Mimi had a great idea that you have a small amount of money set aside for the month - 'free' money to spend on whatever you want. She said she had $50 for emergencies....like wine and Doritos!

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  11. Your did great! I wish I had the willpower to do this. I have done it in the past out of necessity but it would be really hard to do it now. We live so far out of any major town that just making 4 round trips uses up a tank of gas in my car. My husband belongs to a bowling league so he has that expense weekly along with the gas to get there. And then there is my HUGE weakness...the grandkids. ;) This Grammie has serious withdrawals if I don't get to see them at least once a week and they live about half an hour away. There is also the spoiling of them...it's in the Grammie rulebook that you are entitled to spoil your grandkids and I take full advantage of that. LOL!

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    1. And I have no doubt I will spoil my grandbabies some day, Debbie!! It's what we are built to do!

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  12. You did good! All it takes is planning, and a lot of will power...a lot! I did that about three years ago...and I still practice it, but it's not as strict as your experiment was. I will go to the store for fresh fruit, bread, etc. But, what I eliminated were the extra trips to shop, or even window shop...all of the spontaneous things in life! There's a lot of things we can learn from that kind of experience. I just learned to be more conscious of where our money was going...and trying to be more efficient in running errands. And if I thought I wanted to buy something that wasn't a necessity....it made me take a second look at it. It was also amazing to me, how much money I was able to squirrel away....that was the best part! Enjoy your day! ;)

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    1. It was amazing to see my bank account staying stable rather than trickling out constantly!

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  13. I don't blame you. I LOVE DORITOS TOO!! Oh, and doughnuts.... That being said, I could most likely go a month as well. Our pantry is always over-flowing, but that's because my husband loves to cook and bake. If we spent any extra during a month it would be due to him wanting to bake something and not having the right kind of nuts or something. LOL Congratulations on a successful month! xox You rock!

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    1. Doritos are just one of those things....I don't know what it is, I can't resist them! The only answer is to NOT have them in the house at all. Like Oreos. Can't buy them at all. Keep them away from me!!

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  14. Good Job. I did a no spend Jan, sort of. Ha! I did not buy anything house, or Sheila related. I did have a blog redo...but that was a planned expense. We purposely budget....for our golden years will be here before we realize. Ha! I love having dollars than stuff these days. Probably an age thing. We have had the big house, the vacation house, the luxury cars, etc. We are living simpler! And it is working well. I agree that making do is a good idea for all of us. We don't need so much stuff. My Daughter and sil bought their first house and intentionally bought under their level...because they would rather travel than have a larger house. They are in a,very nice neighborhood...just not a monster house that has been the trend. Ha! Sheila

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    1. Tiny houses are all the rage these days, Sheila! And although I don't want to live in a tiny house, per se, I do tend to gravitate towards cozier spaces. Probably all those years living in NYC apartments!

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  15. You did a great job!! Since retiring a few years ago, we have certainly been more interested in watching the dollars in/ dollars out. By the time we retired we did have our house paid off, and we have no debt except for monthly utility bills, etc. Those things surely help!
    I know one thing I do all of the time when shopping ~ either in the store or on-line is to try and determine if what I am thinking of buying is a need or a want. Certainly has resulted in some interesting conversations with myself !! :-) Most times I already know the answer.
    As you said, staying out of HomeGoods as well as Marshalls, Kohl's, and Michaels helps a LOT!
    I think the $10-$12 per week "allowance" during a "no-spend" month would provide a nice safety net as to not getting discouraged and simply quitting. It might be a bit easier to do in late summer or early fall when produce wouldn't be an issue. And we are kept so busy with gardens and harvesting our gardens at that time, we wouldn't be bored!! As you know, January is a great month as we are so ready to be done with all of the over-indulgences of the previous 2 months or so.
    Again, great job, and it was fun following you through your first month of "no-spending".

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    1. Need vs want truly is a struggle, isn't it? Do I need the books I just ordered from Amazon when my no spend month was over? No I don't. But then again, maybe I do? For my mental health? I think about doing a no spend during harvest season and that may be possible....except that it's also gardening season and farmers' market season so that makes it tough for me. Perhaps in November...but then it's the holidays - yikes! So, perhaps it will be two weeks on/two weeks off. I'm tossing around ideas for the next one. Stay tuned!

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  16. I think I could do it, but it would be a lot easier on my own for some reason. I'm not sure about the gas though...we live far from EVERYTHING, so that would be tough!

    Ya' done good kid. Now go out and get some wine ;).

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    1. We live far from everything, too, but when you're not spending you're not going anywhere so it wasn't tough! That's how I managed to actually read a few books this month!!

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  17. I think I could do it, but it would be a lot easier on my own for some reason. I'm not sure about the gas though...we live far from EVERYTHING, so that would be tough!

    Ya' done good kid. Now go out and get some wine ;).

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  18. I honestly don't think I could do it - but that's exactly the reason that I should try, because I do love a good challenge!

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    1. Hey, it's always worth a try, right? If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out!

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  19. Yay for you girl! I really wouldn't count a tank of gas as spending, and so in my opinion, you rocked the challenge! I truly don't know if I could do the no-spend or not, having teenagers, it is not likely. Always one thing or another with them, it seems. And unexpected friends showing up for dinner, lol! You have certainly given me food for thought, and maybe someday we will do it! It is a great feeling to know that you accomplished this, and have you tallied up how much money you saved? I enjoyed reading about this journey with you :)

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    1. I wish I had a tally of how much I saved, that would be nice! I know my grocery bill was pretty huge when I went to stock up at the end of the challenge....but perhaps I won't have to hit the market again for a while, that would be great!

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  20. I'd say your No Spend Month was a huge success. Congratulations!!
    I think I could do it if I had too but don't think I'd find it to be much fun.
    We eat out on the weekends and I would hate to give that up, but I've
    always been one of those strange people who actually enjoys a budget
    And I've lived that way for years.

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    1. Eating out is such a treat, isn't it? Always nice when someone else cooks and serves the food.....and cleans up afterwards!

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  21. Hello Mountain Mama,

    Congratulations on a successful no-spend month! We live so far out in the country there is no way we could go an entire month without filling up our autos ... that is, unless we traveled via horseback.

    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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    1. Ha ha, well if you have horses I guess that would work then, wouldn't it? :)I need another no spend month soon, but there always seems to be something going on....

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