Hello again, savvy savers! Well today’s the day, the first day of this years first No-Spending Month Challenge!
Here’s a recap:
- So, for 2015 I have decided to take an old-school approach to spending, and so for every other month this year, for the months of February, April, June, August, October, and December I will be participating in a NO SPENDING month cycles!
- Why this crazy idea? Well, a month of NO spending is an awesome way to both reset your spending patterns, as well as to either kick-start your budget or revamp and make changes to any existing budget you or your family may have. This is also a great challenge in terms of personal responsibility; you can track what you have been spending your hard earned funds, and keep yourself on track, in terms of responsible spending thereafter.
- I will be blogging daily about my NO SPEND struggles, victories, and suggestions from the previous day, and will be posting easy-to-follow daily challenges for my readers during my no-spend months.
- Each day I will create two daily posts; my first post of the day will my daily challenge, and my last post of the day will be a recap of my daily struggles, victories, and a tally of the money saved each day.
- As well, each Sunday, moving forward, I will share what I’ve learned, saved, and gained from this challenge as part of my Weekly Goals & Reflections Posts. I hope that many of you will join me in this challenge, as we can all you use more ways to save around the home.
There are a few exceptions to the rule as follows:
- Unavoidable expenses related to employment, such as gas, are okay.
- Unavoidable school related expenses.
- Doctors appointments, veterinarian appointments, co-payments, family/pet prescriptions, and therapy sessions are okay.
- Do keep existing service/repair appointments that can’t be rescheduled to “Spending” months, such as hair appointments, lawn care services, trash removal, in-home repair services, etc.
- Do keep existing tithing and charitable giving.
- Do have an adequate stockpile of necessities prior to beginning this challenge, such as pet food, bedding, litter, laundry detergent, dish soap, snow salts, bottled water and emergency staples (if you live in areas frequently affected by seasonal weather), etc.
- Do keep up with healthy living habits. I will continue to use my envelope saving system to fund app purchase rebates (iBotta, Shopmium, Snap by Groupon) for fresh produce and milk savings that may pop-up during my no-spend months; due to my PCOS I need several servings of fruits and veggies daily, and these app savings help keep my freezer stocked on a budget.
- And it goes without saying, please do pay all of our monthly obligations; rent, mortgage, insurance, utility payments, banking fees, student/financial/business loans, medical expenses, and assumed or credit card debt.
And here are a few items that should never be considered exceptions:
- Dining out
- Going to Cafes
- Funds Spent on Hobbies
- Electronic Trade-Ins
- Vehicle Trades/Purchases
- Alcohol & other vices
- Lottery Tickets
- Stock Market Purchases
- Furniture, Linens, & Home Decor
It goes without saying that your rules should account for your own circumstances. Now onto the challenge…
So, Day 1 Finds us with two challenges.
Challenge 1: Part 1, Commitment
This first challenge has two parts. The first part of the first challenge is committing to the challenge itself. Knowing that starting any personal challenge, starts with following through with the challenge itself, and this no-spend month is no exception!
Also knowing that this February is not just about not spending, although that will be our main goal. I always challenge each of you to find ways to live well, live better, find new sources of joy, will spending less. You may just find out just how much we already have, and how little more we really need. And hopefully, by the end of them month, a life rich with family, friends, and creative planning, secured by fiscally responsible measures, will be who we truly are. In addition, I hope to make my posts comments section a place of encouragement and accountability for us all, too!
I’m not gonna lie, there presumably will be tough moments, and for that reason, with one week remaining, stock-up on any items you currently feel you cannot do without.
For today’s challenge, I encourage you all to physically take a few minutes to make a list for this month, to include the following:
- How much you plan to save this month.
- What are your long-term financial goals.
- What activities will you plan this month, to take the place of your spending.
Challenge 1: Part 2, Pantry Organization!
I should warn you from the get-go: my challenge is going to be geared around a lot of cleaning, organizing, self-and home inventorying this month! This is done in an attempt to re-wire our spending habits to include less conspicuous consumption, and finding more contentment is the ability to live off of what we currently have, and moreover, can afford! This is a spend less, dig deeper kind of month!
Today I challenge you to tackle home pantry organization! I don’t know about you, but the thought of cleaning out my pantry makes me want to retreat to my bedroom for a nap, but alas this is out of the question.
So today, we are going to start by taking stock of exactly what we have on hand. And if you are a couponer/stockpiler like me, you probably have more than a few forgotten packages hidden in the recesses of your pantry, and it’s time they come out to play!
Here’s a few tips for cleaning up your home pantry:
- Clear your kitchen counters, kitchen islands, and table before you begin to allow you so you have adequate work space.
- Empty your pantry.
- Put like items together; all like items should be grouped separately into piles.
- All open containers need to be grouped separately.
- Any items that you will not be eating in the next six months, discard.
- Any items that will expire in the next three months, that you will not eat, group separately and donate.
- Wipe down and sanitize cleared shelves.
- Take a sheet of paper and create an inventory of what you currently have in your home pantry.
- Keep in mind, when placing items back into your pantry, arrange items closest to expiration, nearest to the front of your shelf, and those items farthest from expiration towards the back of each shelf.
- All shelved goods should be checked and rotated seasonally, and this is a task that should be placed on your calendars accordingly.
- Place all unopened containers in your pantry in like areas; cans with cans, boxes with boxes, jars with jars.
- Opened containers need to be placed in sealed containers, jars, or the like, and all properly labeled.
- All packets can be placed in baskets, or placed in shoe organizers, hung on door panels, to hold small, oddly shaped packages.
- Open snacks, cookies, and candy should be taken out of the pantry and placed in other areas of the kitchen so that they can be easily consumed.
- If you find that you have lots of new packages constantly being opened, than make a rule to not open a new package until the old one is finished, and place a note in the pantry to let the rest of your family know to do the same!
- Be sure to wipe down the front of your pantry; this includes cabinets, panels, knobs, etc.
- Wipe down counter tops and areas where food was grouped, and then sweep the kitchen floor.
- If food needs to be donated, make a plan when it will be donated.
- All discarded plastic containers should be recycled.
- Take out all other items to the trash.
- Take a well needed break, for a job well done!
Now, for homework… jot down a list of 10 meals that can be made, in part, from items in your pantry!
Stay tuned for my end of day report!
Here’s to saving,