Once my husband returned to work after several surgeries and things started to level out for us, we quickly realized something. All those months of him not working left us with a good amount of debt. And by good, I mean not good at all. But we’ve climbed out of holes in the past, and we’re determined to do it again.
To get the ball rolling, both of us transferred our credit card balances to ones with lower interest rates. In addition, for his part, my husband has been working extra hours at work and picking up freelance gigs on the side. And for mine, I found myself a little side job at The Bar Method.
And thus was born NO SPEND SEPTEMBER.
I decided to lay out some rules for myself about how I am and am not allowed to spend money. The goal is to see how much “extra” money I really have, and how much more I could be throwing at our debt.
No new clothes/shoes.
Truth be told, this one normally isn’t much of a challenge for me. David and I actually give ourselves a clothing allowance. More often than not, I end up putting that money toward my credit card. What made this more challenging is that new job I mentioned. Surprise! I didn’t work out much before this. That means my “uniform” options are pretty limited. It turns out there’s a whole world of leggings and grippy socks that are very tempting.
No eating out/ordering in.
By far, food is what I spend the most money on. It could be an overpriced coffee on my way to work. Or it could be ordering lunch. It could even be a quick trip to the vending machine. I may not be a big shopper, but I have a very serious sweet tooth. On top of that, trying to keep up with friendships in the city usually means meeting for lunch or coffee or a drink. Time to get creative!
No new books or music.
And somewhere in between are books and music. As part of two book clubs, I usually end up spending money on at least two books a month. Admittedly my new music intake has declined in recent years. On the flip side, I’m much more likely to purchase whole albums as opposed to single songs. So, hitting pause on buying music wasn’t as big a deal. My need for books, on the other hand, reignited my love of the public library! It’s full of free books, people! While it’s slightly less convenient than having the book of my choice delivered to my door, I can search my library’s inventory online and pick something up in a few minutes on my way to the supermarket.
What about everything else?
Clothing and restaurants and entertainment can be considered luxuries. But there are certain expenses that are (somewhat) unavoidable. Groceries are a necessity, but my husband and I have to menu plan to avoid unnecessary/spur-of-the-moment buys. Toiletries are mostly okay, but only after the item has completely run out.
Am I forgetting anything? I don’t think the rest of the month will be easy, but I think it’ll be very revealing. If it’s successful, I may try to make some more long-term changes. If you’re up for the challenge (or you’ve done something like this before), join me and let me know how it goes!
Happy No Spend September! And happy saving!