Following my own advice on what to do when your budget fails, my hubs and I are going on a no spend month for March. We did one back in May of 2013 and it was definitely a challenge but so worth it. And since in January and February both were high spending months for us we decided that this is exactly what we needed in order to get our budget back on track.
- Unsubscribe – If you have email subscriptions for weekly ads and sales, unsubscribe before starting your no spend challenge. This will reduce the temptation to buy that sweater you’ve been eyeing that just went on clearance.
- Reward – Decide on a reward for completing the no spend challenge successfully. This could be ordering your family’s favorite take-out, going out to your family’s favorite restaurant, or going somewhere fun. Whatever would be considered a reward for your family, decide on it today before starting so you’ll all know what you have waiting for you at the finish line.
- Share It – Don’t be embarrassed by going on a no spend challenge. Really, what is there to be embarrassed about not spending money? It doesn’t mean you have no money, you’re just deciding to not spend it. Invite your friends and family to join you and even if they don’t decide to join you. This is a great way to let them know that you won’t be going out for any lunch dates in March.
- Avoid Window Shopping – Whether you’re doing window shopping in a store or online, avoid it at all costs. Once you start browsing, it becomes super easy to get sucked in and to start purchasing.
- Update Your Automatic Renewals – This is the perfect time to update those automatic monthly subscriptions that you have. Decide if you need them and cancel the ones that you don’t. If the monthly service has a ‘skip month’ option, consider doing that during your no spend challenge. If the item is something that is truly needed then keep the subscription. An item that we have on automatic renewal is our monthly Rid-X shipment. For those that don’t have a septic tank, this stuff helps to keep the likelihood of a septic back-up under control. Therefore, this is a need but my monthly subscription to JustFab is not. So for the month of March I’ll be skipping my shipment in order to put the money to savings.
- Savings – This is the most important item to decide on now before starting your no spend challenge. Where are you and your family going to put any savings that you earn from not spending? Are you going to put the money in your emergency fund, slush fund, vacation fund, or pay it towards your debt snowball? Write it down when you decide on what you are going to use the savings towards.