Our hiatus on spending money began Friday night. The reasons are twofold. Number 1: our mortgage broker sent us an email that said we basically have to report to them anytime between now and closing when we move money around between our accounts, charge more than $500 on our credit card, or breathe. And Number 2: we need all the money we can get for appliances and such after the actual purchase of our home, and know that more unexpected costs are sure to pop up.
Going on lockdown is not a far stretch for us. Because I deal in ExtraCare Bucks and the grocery store game, we have quite the stockpile built up (see upcoming article: Plague of Overconsumption). I have enough toothpaste, shampoo and other toiletries, trash bags, plastic bags for lunches, etc. to last several months. If you look in our hall closet, we are flooded with spaghetti sauce, sugar, flour, coffee, bread crumbs, croutons, noodles, pasta, tea, etc. Thanks to some great deals, our cat Lyla is stocked up with a year supply of litter, and probably six months worth of food and treats. Plus, we’ve each got at least a dozen books and movies in our collection that we have yet to enjoy.
Granted, we cannot be on complete lockdown. We will need some food to complement the reserves we have in our freezer and supply closet (like veggies/fruits, cheese/dairy). Kroger’s is having a one-day sale where they will double coupons from $0.40 to $1.00 in value on Saturday August 15th, (and ofcourse continue to triple coupons below $0.39) and I will be taking advantage of this. I just filled up my tank with gas from a free gift card, so I should be set for the month in gas, but I am sure Paul will need to fill up once or twice. All of our bills will still be paid. But “no” will become a much more used word in our vocabulary over the next month. The trick is, we are going to substitute something for everything that we say no to in order that we don’t feel like we are denying ourselves. Feeling like you are denying yourself can lead to a nasty spending binge at the end of the month.
Here is what we will be saying no to, and what the substitute will be:
- Eating Out = cooking at home, freezing a few meals or leftovers for nights when we will be too tired/busy to cook, and an occasional barbecue at family and friends
- Tickets for Concerts and Such = Miller Outdoor Theater free concerts/plays
- Buying Cute New Things for the House (oh the urge…) = perhaps picking out what we would like to go in our gift registry for the wedding
- New Clothes = I have a free $10 off $10 gift card to VS
- New Books/Dvds = a fully stocked book shelf at home with many books we have yet to read
- Going Out to the Movies = an occasional free premiere invite to Studio Movie Grill Theater makes its way into my inbox, as well as just getting movies on our Netflix subscription and watching those
Is it worth the sacrifice? I will admit that the list of things we are denying ourselves will basically be cutting us off from society. But by saying no to these things, we will be saying yes to a beautiful new home. In my book, that’s worth a few movies and a night out on the town.
What about for you? Having a no-spend month can help to jump-start many things in your life: an emergency fund, saving for a vacation, a down payment, paying down debt, etc. Perhaps you want to start easy, and go with a no-spend weekend, or week. While you almost certainly cannot get away with spending $0 for the month, you can set yourself a very low ball budget and then bank the rest for whatever is important in your life.
Leave a comment with ideas, or just to let me know how it goes!