Tuesday, January 01, 2013

30 Day No Spending Challenge!

Kelsey and I are hoping to buy or be close to buying land during 2013.  In order to have the money to do so, we're going to have to do some serious budgeting and saving.  In order to kick-off the year on the right foot, I'm proposing a 30-day challenge to not spend any money on non-essentials.  Really, it'll be 31 days, because we're doing it in January, so we might as well do it the entire month.  But "30-Day No Spending Challenge," while it doesn't have much of a ring, sounds much better than "31-Day No Spending Except for Essentials Challenge."  So there you have it.

What we will spend money on:

  1. Groceries
  2. Bills
  3. Other absolute essentials (gasoline, dogfood, toiletries.)
What we won't spend money on:
  1. Eating out
  2. Things (clothing, shoes, books, other random items that eat up money)
  3. Spirits (beer, wine, hard liquor, bar-time)
What we'll mitigate spending on:
  1. Gasoline - I take the bus and/or ride my bike most of the time, but Kelsey will have to drive once in a while.
  2. Energy - We'll keep the thermostat down, shorter showers, wear sweaters inside, etc.
  3. Beer - I'm planning on starting to homebrew more often as of tomorrow, which will hopefully provide for most of our alcohol consumption for the near future.
  4. Groceries - We're going to try to purchase food strategically so we can spend less money on it.
It will probably be tough at first, but overall I think not spending money for 30-ish days shouldn't be too hard.  At this point in my life, nothing I buy is absolutely necessary except for food.  I think the money I will save by not dropping a little here or there on Amazon or at the beer market will add up enough to matter.  Also, I think spending money at a grocery store and packing lunches for work rather than spending the money somewhere I choose on a spur-of-the-moment whim at the start of my lunch will help my spending levels as well.

I also plan on attempting to "barter" for things I need.  If I can land a short labor gig on craigslist, and I get paid in cash, but I use that cash to buy a 12-pack of beer or a bottle of wine, I'll still consider that barter.  My main goal, however, is to put that cash into my bank account and get it into my land fund.  After all, the entire impetus behind engaging in a 30-day no spending challenge is to save money for land, so if I can make some extra cash with odd jobs, I should try to save as much of it as I can.

Lastly, this post is being published on January 1st, which is the day of New Years' Resolutions.  I don't think this plan falls into that category.  It just so happens that the time that is easiest for Kelsey and I to plan on spending as little as we can for a month coincides with the time right after Christmas and around the New Year.  I think it's best to try to do this kind of thing when it's easiest, because then we get actual practice with it, and can be more capable of achieving it on a regular basis.  Even during times when it's easy to spend money (such as birthdays and holidays), if we get practice not spending money during a non-money-spending time, we'll easily save that much more money throughout all the times of the year when money-spending seems more socially required.

Do you have any goals to save money?  If so, what are they, and how're you going about achieving them?  In the spirit of New Years, do you have any New Years' Resolutions?  Please post and share in the comments section, so we can all hold each other accountable.

As always, thanks for reading!


  1. Great idea. About 6 months ago I found this blog called Mr Money Mustache and it really turned me on to both living extremely frugally, and investing. I've been honing my frugal skills to the point that I spend about 50% less on nonessentials than I did at this time last year, but I could still do better. Maybe I'll try to convince the wife to get on board with a no-spend-february, since I'm already knee deep in material costs for a bathroom renovation I'm doing.
    I've found consciously striving to be frugal has so many positive side effects. Riding my bike not only saves gas money, I get a free workout, and I'm saving the environment a little. Doing my own renovations not only saves the cost of hiring someone else, but I add value to my condo and I learn new skills that stimulate the mind and body. The list goes on and on.
    Good luck this month and don't forget to update!

  2. Years ago I was on a very tight budget for household of 6. I only had $360 to spend on food and cleaners and pet food. Plus our house was the teenager hang out. We had all sort of different kinds of foods starting with oatmeal or scrabble egg meals (1 potato grated or cubed up, with a slice of onion, 1/4 of bell pepper, 1 slice of deli ham cubed up, 6 eggs), cheese, or beef or chicken enchiladas, tacos, beef and bean burritos then i realize we should eat everything before grocery shopping, or at least try. Most people trow out 75% of there food in the trash. Start budgeting and control overspending.

    Holliston Coleman.