Do you have any New Year’s resolutions planned? I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but I do love the feeling of starting fresh in the new year. I love starting my new planner and calendar. It’s the time of year I can pretend I’m organized.
Although it’s not a resolution, I do have something special planned for January. I am planning a no-spend month. Have you ever done one before? We have done a few—some with excellent success and some with mediocre success. 😆
What is a no-spend month?
A no-spend month is when you only spend money on your necessary expenses. There are no random trips to Target or the thrift store, no coffee out, no makeup or clothing, no buying anything that isn’t essential. However, one of the great things about a no-spend month is you set your own rules. I’ll share ours below.
Why should I do a no-spend month?
There are lots of reasons to try a no-spend month, especially in January. A no-spend month can help you get your budget back on track; it can help reduce waste and help you use up items you already have on hand.
It also can help you evaluate your necessities. I often think we “need” things that I realize we don’t when we do a no-spend month.
-Use pantry and freezer items first, and only purchase limited perishable items for groceries.
- Use pantry and freezer items first, and only purchase limited perishable items for groceries.
- Even though I always try to use our pantry and freezer items first, we always seem to end up with some random stuff in the freezer and a surplus of something in the pantry. (We have a chest freezer that fits quite a bit.) So, I will make sure I use all that stuff first and only purchase things like fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and dairy products during our no spend month. If we want something that is not necessary, I will make it from scratch with what we have, or we won’t have it. Depending on your pantry or freezer stock, this might not work well for you. You could also just set your grocery budget lower than usual or make sure not to buy any convenience foods.
- No eating out (meals, coffee, take out, etc)
- We don’t usually eat out very much to begin with, and during covid, it’s been even less since we’ve been going fewer places, but I am guilty of getting coffee out. During the no-spend month we will plan not to eat out, order take out, or get coffee out at all.
- No unnecessary purchases.
- If it isn’t a need, we won’t be purchasing it. For example, if we were out of toilet paper, I would buy it, but we were out of paper towels, I wouldn’t. I consider toilet paper a necessity but paper towels a convenience. (We don’t usually use paper towels anyway, but this was the first example I could think of.) Even for necessities, I try to use something else in place of it first. For example, if we ran out of our regular hand soap but had bar soap, that would work just fine.
Free Printable Tracker
To set me up for success, I’ve put together a free printable tracker for the month you can download below. There are two versions. One is for January 2021, and the other is a blank calendar for any month. They both come in a few different patterns to make it more exciting. A floral background just makes it seem more fun, right? Or if you prefer there is also a plain black and white one. Just print a copy of the page you prefer!
The no-spend tracker has space for you to write any planned expenses you know you have coming up. If you know you need to buy a birthday gift this month, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a no-spend month. Write it in your planned expenses.
There is also a spot for your goal and rules. Everyone has different goals and things that they might want to focus on for a no-spend month, so write them in the provided spot.
There is also a calendar portion. I will use this as a place to color in each day that we spend $0. You could also use it to how much you’ve saved each day, inspiration to stay on track, or whatever else you would like.
Weekly Meal Planner
A lot of our no-spend month focuses on using up pantry and freezer items. So I also made some new meal planner sheets to help me feel more excited about meal planning rather than my regular notebook. Once again, the floral background makes things exciting! You can download those below as well. They are in matching patterns to the no-spend tracker.
Hopefully, I’ll be back to update you weekly on my progress and let you know some other things I like to do during a no spend month! If you want daily updates, follow me on Instagram. I’d love to see how you use the tracker and planner!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!