No Spend January 2019 – Final Update

As I mentioned earlier this month, we implement a no spend January (or another month) at least once a year.  It’s February 1 and time to access how the month went. Spoiler: We failed but it wasn’t a complete loss.

To review, below are the “rules” we used to give us structure for the month.

We can spend money on necessities, such as:

  • gasoline
  • groceries
  • rent or mortgage
  • utilities
  • insurance (car, home, etc.)
  • childcare
  • other fixed expenses (for us this is Netflix, Roku and iTunes)
  • halfway through we had to add a car repair*

We avoid spending money on:

  • dining out (lunches or dinner)
  • clothes shopping
  • trips to the movie theater, amusement park, museums, etc.
  • coffee shops (see dining out)
  • Amazon purchases (we do make heavy use of the save for later feature)

For us, a no spend month boils down to: is this a want or a need. If it is a need, then that’s the end of it. If it is a want, then we wait and if it is something we can live without for the 31 days, we reevaluate if it is something that can wait longer.

When I wrote the first update 10 days in, we’d already spent unplanned money on an 80 percent off sale at our local craft store for $11 to make this special snowflake wreath craft during a snowstorm and surprise day off school.

We saved a golden ticket for a free meal at a restaurant and used that to celebrate a milestone event. It was fun going to a place we don’t usually go to. We did pay tip so the leftover $10 went to that but it still means aside from the necessary expenses and J’s trip, we’re meeting our goals.

But after that, it sort of went a bit downhill. Several of the expenses listed below were not necessities. In fact, if I’m being honest, only three were necessities.

  • An online game charge of $22 + $50
  • Pizza for New Year’s Day football watching with friends $30
  • McDonald’s lunch on the road $10
  • Chik FIl A when J wanted to spoil Miss A for a great night $16
  • Chik Fil A (lunch when a friend had to bail and I couldn’t get home in time to make something for myself ) $10
  • A lunch meeting $11
  • Post swimming doughnuts $11
  • One of our favorite restaurants to celebrate a birthday with our family $86
  • JoAnn’s (so my mom could knit Miss A another winter hat and me another scarf, thanks mom!)  $18
  • Special Day celebration at an indoor play place during a blizzard for Miss A $14
  • Amazon Movie (one we are certain we owned but couldn’t find, so had to purchase the digital download again) $10
  • Home Depot $292 to replace the snowblower we sold (so this really equals $0!)
  • Lowe’s (Miss A’s closet door has needed to be replaced since we moved in and we needed to replace to light fixtures that weren’t working, this would have been a LOT higher but we had gift cards to use) $285
  • Car repair (some of it was scheduled maintenance but it still made an impact on our plans to spend minimally) $275
  • Once Upon a Child (I sold a few things and Miss A grew and needed new pants) $17

Added up that was about $865. If you subtract the special day celebration, car repairs and clothes as necessities, it was $559. If we take out the closet repairs, it’s a much more palatable $274. Not our best no spend month but not the worst. Even with the unexpected expenses we still ended up spending about $250 less than our average, which is absolutely something to celebrate!

In reviewing the expenses and where we failed, our Achilles heel is dining out which accounted for $174 this month. It’s something to work on for our family. So while it wasn’t the best no spend month, it was a good reset. In fact, we’ve decided to keep it up through February 2019!

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