The answer to that question is: nothing. Lots of people have been touting about how they just got through a no-spend January (click here for the rules) and all the money they saved. Really? I have found that for some, once the month is over, they just go out and spend whatever it was that they held back on, the previous month. So, in reality, what’s the point?
If you’re like me and only spend money on what you need and what’s essential, every month is literally a no-spend month. Don’t you agree? Why should I sacrifice more and fool myself into thinking I’m doing something good and righteous for myself? Isn’t life right now, hard enough? Why do we need to suffer any more pain? (and no-spend months can be painful)
I know how much money I can spend each month because I’ve set up a budget and I track my spending. When I see I am nearing my monthly allotment, I stop spending in that category. Plain and simple. This plan seems to be working for me but then again, each one of us are different. If you need to play financial head games with yourself, then by all means, go right out and do it.
Let’s look at some of the rules of a no-spend month. The words in bold italic and underlined are my own thoughts and reflections. People can set up their own rules, but as I said, they’ll be out shopping their heads off come February, because most people will feel that they are now entitled to spend after all the ‘sacrifices’ they made in January.
- No Starbucks (or any other equivalent) I use my Dunkin’ Donut Rewards Card to get a cappuccino or so. No sacrificing for me here.
- Make coffee at home and skip the donuts. Good for your body and your wallet. Done!
- No AMAZON.
- Even for the necessities — skip it and shop at the supermarket. Don’t open that Amazon door. And turn off notifications on your phone, too. I stopped using Amazon months ago. Ditto for WalMart. If I need something, I put it on a list. When the list is ample enough, I get in the car and buy specifically what I need (usually at The Dollar Store or Odd Lots). Much cheaper.
- No clothes. I have enough clothes to last the rest of my lifetime. All I buy during the year is underwear, socks and one bathingsuit every summer. Done!
- I’m betting there will not be a clothing emergency this month.
- No impulse purchases. I do NOT make impulse buys. I have a list. I have a budget. I stick to both!
- Avoid aimlessly wandering around Target, grabbing a magazine in the checkout aisle of the supermarket, or running into The Dollar Tree.
- No toys, books, or entertainment purchases. OMG! I don’t buy toys. I get books at the library. I mastered the art of free streaming.
- Odds are the streaming service you already pay for has plenty of movies, and your local library is full of books, should you need some fresh reading material.
- Only dine out if you’ve planned it into your meal plan and budget. Have you tasted what restaurants, including McD’s are trying to pass off as food? No thanks. Maybe in the last 4 years I ate out 4 times? Once per year? More than enough. I make better food at home in my own kitchen.
- Be reasonable and not impulsive. No McD’s drive through just because it’s on the way home.
- No manicures or salon I do all my nails myself. This includes haircuts. My husband buzz cuts my hair into a pixie every six weeks. Been doing this for years and years.
- I know this is a sensitive subject for some. If it’s something you feel strongly about, disregard this one.
One of the things I am currently working on and trying to master is: sinking funds (click here). What are sinking funds? According to Dave Ramsey Solutions, a sinking fund is a strategic way to save money by setting aside a little bit each month. Sinking funds work like this: Every month, you’ll set money aside in one or multiple categories to be used at a later date. With a sinking fund, you save up a small amount each month for a certain block of time before you spend.
I used to pull my hair out every September and February because my property taxes were due. It was always a scramble for me to come up with all the money. Now? I save throughout the year putting money aside each month in my sinking fund so when the tax bill and other known big expenditures come up (like vacations), I’m ready. I don’t have to go with out eating and do a no-spend month in order to come up with the cash. The reason why these funds are called ‘sinking’ is because you take out the needed cash, thus the sinking, and then you fill it up again. People can use a sinking funds for Christmas, buying a car, home remodles, vet bills, wedding or birthday party, upcoming home and car insurance (if you pay in full, you get a discount), taxes and vacations. It’s personal. It’s whatever YOU need and want to be ready for.
This YouTube video from ‘Under The Medium‘ helped me understand and set up my own set of sinking funds. Hope it helps you too. The video couple are fun to watch and at times it’s OK to laugh, smile and have fun with your own finances.
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