Can you believe we are already to the end of August?? I’m tellin ya, time truly does fly when you’re having fun! Or maybe time moves faster as you get older. But, wait, I’m not getting older, so it must be the fun thing!! HAHAHA!! Anywho!! Did anyone read that title and panic a little for me?? I have panicked a little bit for myself this month as I’ve thought of it. But, have no fear, it can be done. How do I know that? Because we’ve done it before. It’s been a while, but we are in desperate need of a budget reboot. So, here we go!
This year has seen a lot of extra expenses. We took a couple of big trips, bought a car, a few larger home improvement projects and repairs, had a wedding, and a lot of regular life stuff in between. And, to be honest, it has left us feeling a bit overwhelmed. We are keeping our heads above water, but just barely. My friends, that’s no way to live! So, after a couple of months of nail biting as I pay the bills, I decided that another No Spend September challenge might be just what we needed.
Now, if you’re not familiar with this challenge, let me break it down for you. It does not, I repeat, does NOT mean that you can’t spend ANY money in the month of September. I mean, that’s just not realistic. What it does mean, is that you can’t spend EXTRA money in the month of September. Got it? Feel better? Ok, good.
Also, this will look different for everyone. What my hubby and I consider extra might not be what you consider extra and vice versa. The goal is to plan out your month. Take into account every expense that you know will be coming that month, and then set a VERY STRICT limit on spending beyond that. So, technically it’s not “no” spend but really “less” spend. It does however, need to be considerably less, not just a little less. This needs to hurt a little in order to work.
The point of the challenge…other than having extra money at the end of the month…is to reset your habits. It’s easy when we have a lot of fun and exciting (or stressful) things going on in our lives to get into bad spending habits. If you want it buy it! Don’t feel like cooking or don’t have time to cook, grab something on the way home! This is where we’ve been living for pretty much this whole year. Probably longer if I’m being honest with myself.
So, I sat down last week and looked ahead at the month and made a plan that I think I can live with. It’s a plan that is not cutting me off altogether, but it is cutting the spending down A LOT.
Wanna know my plan?? OK! Of course I’ll share! 🙂 So, I already know that we have a couple of extras in September. We are heading to St Louis to visit our son and daughter-in-law, and we have a birthday. Thankfully we will be staying with our son, so the only expenses for that trip will be gas and food. For the birthday there will probably be a dinner out, and presents.
For several years now we have been using a airplane miles rewards credit card for the majority of our spending (for free flights home from college for our son). We have managed to keep it paid off most of the time, but I know that I don’t pay as close of attention to HOW MUCH I’m spending when I’m swiping that card. So, this month we are going to be using cash for things like groceries and eating out.
I know there will be a couple of meals that we will go out for, however, I will meal plan and make sure I have a few quick and easy meals that I can whip up on those nights when I would normally just ask hubby to bring home dinner.
Since taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University years ago, we have always given ourselves a cash allowance with every paycheck. This will continue, but this will be our only fun money for the month – no swiping that card!!
Another treat that has become a habit for me is Starbucks. I have the app on my phone, so I can earn free drinks. But, man, it’s so easy to reload that card several times a month without even thinking about it! So this month, I’m loading it once, and that’s it!! I need to get back to it being a treat and just have my afternoon coffee at home!
So, there ya have it. I know it doesn’t really seem like much of a no spend month when you hear what I am allowing, but I know how bad the spending has been, and I know that this will be a HUGE improvement. Are you in need of a budget reboot?? I encourage you to try your own version of a “no spend” month. What’s your weakness?? Can you curb it for a month? Create a new habit with your money and see what you can do!!
I’ll be back at the end of September to recap and see how we did!! If you’re inspired and decided to hop on board and join me, let me know in the comments here or on social media!! Wish us luck!