Over a number of years I have heard of many people choosing to do ‘no-spend’ days, weeks, months or even a year. It seems that there are as many different ‘rules’ as there are people undertaking this idea but the general premise is to not buy excess food and try to use what you have on hand but most importantly to eschew discretionary spending.
I have never consciously tried to not spend for a specified period of time but since we are halfway through January I thought it might be timely to review what I have spent this month. It is a relatively easy process as we track everything we spend.
We track our regular, fixed expenses on one spreadsheet. This allows us to see what subscriptions, insurances etc are due each month and we make sure there is money set aside for those.
The other spreadsheet is a month by month record of our variable spending. Some of this is discretionary such as eating out, books or clothing purchases but others are what I regard as essential. This category includes things like groceries and fuel.
This January certainly does not look like ‘no spend’ as our expenditure for the first 16 days of the month has been a little over $2000. So, let’s examine where the money has gone.
- Our fixed expenses for all of January are $627.
- We had planned and budgeted for an interstate holiday for 2.5 weeks which concluded when we arrived home on 6th January. Costs for the January portion of the holiday were $503.
- In the 10 days since we arrived home we have spent $912.
- $195 – Groceries
- $148 – Fuel
- $285 – Pet expenses
- $100 – Health expenses
- $134 – Home maintenance expenses
- $50 – Entertainment expenses
Yes, the entertainment expenses are definitely discretionary and if I was strictly following a ‘no-spend’ regime that would have been foregone. Other than that and the holiday spending at the beginning of the month, everything else was necessary.
On balance, I think that our method of accurately tracking and recording our spending works well for us. I don’t feel any real need to try to artificially reduce our spending by pushing spending from one month into the following month.
Do you do ‘no-spend’ months? What are your ‘rules’? Do you feel that it makes a difference to your overall spending?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.