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Spend Nothing Challenge – A month long budgeting diet

by Nadine on December 27, 2017

Whether you’re trying to save up for something special, cut down on costs, live a bit more simply, or just trying to make ends meet, a Spend Nothing Challenge for a month can be a great way to do that.

After all the buying, receiving and indulging of December, I was thinking my family was ready for a diet of sorts. A diet of the wallet, and bank account. I’ve been researching this and it sounds like it could be a fun way to do it as a family.

You can still spend on necessities of course, you’ll still have to pay bills, buy gas, groceries etc.   You can choose to set a lower budget for those if possible, walk more if you can and so on. A big part of it for us will be to try to focus on what we have in the pantry and freezers – buy the fresh stuff we need, but for the main part use what we already have.

Another one is no going out to eat, no takeout, no delivery, no coffee on the go. Can brew at home, come up with quick meals to do here – and use up holiday giftcards too for a few treats during the month.

Really taking a look at what we spend is another one, is something a necessity, can it be skipped or find another solution. No new books, clothes, movies, toys, art supplies etc. for a month shouldn’t be too hard to do. And if anything is needed, can always get creative too. Borrow from a friend or family member, make things, fix stuff up, join a trading site and so on.

It’s also a great time to do a big house and garage cleaning – clean out the kids rooms too – list things on Kijiji to offset any extras you were wanting.

Another way to offset it and prolong the savings is to try to get bills lowered – cell phone promotions, you can try to get your tv, internet or home phone bill reduced, take a look at insurance policies and see if any money can be saved there too. Make a list of monthly spending and see what can go, or be lowered.

Finding free activities is another good one – check out the library for books, movies, magazines, video games and even free classes at some. Go to places where you might have a membership, free days at events, more time outside, puzzles, game nights etc.

And make sure to plan for exceptions and be flexible if you can. Certain things will come up, and some things just need to be paid when they do.

I think just taking a month to figure out finances, learn to budget a bit better and see what can easily be eliminated is a great idea! I’m guessing there will be some tough choices, but probably a lot of lessons learned to be carried over into other months.

Does your family do this on a regular basis? What does your list look like?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen December 28, 2017 at 12:06 PM

Great idea. My freezer is “stuffed”. So I had already decided that I am going to focus on eating the contents of my freezer for January and February. So I have a focus on perishables – and will eat little to no non-perishables for meals and snacks. A side benefit is that this will also lead to healthier eating.


Nadine December 28, 2017 at 1:42 PM

Good point on the healthier eating too! We have so much food in the freezer and cupboards, it gets a little ridiculous. Will be nice to pare that down and actually eat all of the yummy stuff we bought. 🙂


Teri December 30, 2017 at 12:20 AM

I have tried the Ruth Soukup daily challenge of spending zero money for a month. I was not successful however its a great program!


Nadine December 30, 2017 at 9:37 AM

Good to know! I think it’s like a diet, if you cut everything out it’s destined to fail. More of like a reduction of sorts. A major one, but still allowing for extras.


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