Maybe you’ve heard of the No Spend Month? It’s probably got a link on pinterest and everyone you know is doing it. Our fam talked about doing a no spend month way back in the spring, but with all kinds of trips on our calendar for the summer, it didn’t seem like the best time to cut all expenses.
The no spend month isn’t really a no spend month; we’ve got to pay our bills and eat, right? Instead, we’re setting a small budget for ourselves to live on for all variable expenses. For our family of 4, our budget for September is $350. This will include food, gas, fun, Target trips (you know what I’m talking about!), crafts, etc. What isn’t included in this budget is our mortgage and utilities. That being said, we’re using this month to take a closer look at things like our phone and internet bills–do we really need to be paying what we are or can we cut something out?
Why on earth are we doing this, you may ask? There are several reasons why we’ve chosen this drastic approach to spending:
- We’ve been failing to budget. Over the last several months, we sort of forgot to make or follow a monthly budget. For some folks, this isn’t a problem. For us, it is! We need the accountability of reckoning our expenses at the end of the month, planning ahead and discussing our spending.
- We want to give more. There have been a lot of amazing opportunities presented to us by friends over the last year to give financially to forward the gospel and/or adoption and we’ve been eager to give. Unfortunately, not having budgeted or reckoned our accounts, we had no idea what would be wise for us to give.
- We want to live more simply. It’s really easy to add something “special” to the grocery cart every week, stop at Starbucks for that coffee I really need or to make an online purchase for something else to make our life easty. None of these things are bad and we don’t want to avoid extra spending for extra spending sake, but we want to be intentional about all of our purchases, considering whether a $4 cup of coffee or another half gallon of Blue Bell are wise investments of the Lord’s money.
Of course, not spending much money for a month isn’t the only way to solve the issues we have. But sometimes a nice kick in the pants is a good way to get back on track, right? If you know me, you know that I can be cheap about some things and spend heaps of money on others. I’m hoping that being more thoughtful about my spending will help me become a more balanced spender.
I’ll be posting what we eat for dinner throughout the month, because I know many a homemaker who could use some ideas for thrifty, healthful meals. For dinner tonight we’re having White Bean Soup, mostly because I have all of these ingredients on hand. I’m guessing the meal will cost around $3 to make–$.75 for beans, $1 for bacon, $.30 for carrots, $.15 for olive oil, $.50 for an onion, $.20 for garlic and herbs from my garden. I’m going to make some biscuits too, so the total for everything will be around $5. That’s the number I’m hoping to hover around for our dinners this month. We’ll see how I do!