Learn how to have a no spend January and stay on budget for the New Year.
Starting off a new year (and a new decade) always feels like a good time to get right. Eat better, spend less, read more, waste less and spend more quality time with family and friends seem to always top my new year’s resolution list.
My eat better plan is already underway. You may have seen that I am planning to cook my way through the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook this year. Every single recipe! It seems a little daunting but that is the goal.
With eating healthy in 2020 covered, the budget is the next thing to tackle. A no spend January seemed like a good way to start off the year right and recover a bit from December expenses.
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Check out this Free No Envelope Digital Budget Tracker!
A 2019 Budget Confession
When I started this blog, I wanted to share the frugal and money saving tips I learned over the years.
About 10 years ago, I moved across the US to Houston, TX. The expenses of a long distance move, quitting my job and some other life circumstances created a need to save money.
Through the help of a few blogs, I taught myself to coupon and save money and was able to be very frugal for a few years. It really saved us during that time. We sold a house that was too much for us and moved into something much more reasonable. I drove my car even when I wanted a new one.
Coupons and buying right got us things for pennies on the dollar. We cooked at home and took day trips to the beach instead of an expensive vacation (I miss being that close to the beach).
And slowly we climbed out of debt. We added to savings. I got a new job at an amazing company and we were settled. Not rich but comfortable.
Then the baby came. We moved across the US again, this time to Tennessee. We did act frugally in our initial move by living with my mom for a year to save money while we built our house.
And then another baby. Sometime during this period, I got tired. A new mom to two littles (with little sleep) and moving just took a toll on me.
So my spending just got out of control and my frugal habits took a backseat to the kids. Convenience took precedence over frugality.
Thankfully we have positioned ourselves to have room in our budget to allow for this occasionally but just because we don’t have to monitor every penny anymore, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t monitor it.
So whether you have to monitor every cent right now or you are just trying to save more for retirement, a vacation, a down payment for a house… a stop on spending can help everyone regardless of your financial circumstance.
A Look At January 2019
So the confession continues. I am going to share what I spent last January as a benchmark for my no spend January 2020.
To say I was shocked at these totals is an understatement. I knew I was a little lax but when you actually total it all up, it is really hard to believe.
Clothes – $119.88
Fast Food – $191.10 (included a couple of Family Pizza Nights)
Gas – $77.09
Grocery – $619.78
Target – $55.42
Hobby Lobby $83.30
Grand Total : $1575.33
It is important to note that lots of my expenses were what I would consider necessities. Examples would be bar soap, detergent, mouthwash, toothpaste etc. This project will be a good test to see what is really a necessity and what we can use instead of buying new.
No Spend January 2020
As you can see, a no spend January in 2020 could save me a lot compared to January 2019. Are you wondering what a no spend January is?
Basically, you set rules on what you can spend (set bills etc) and cut out all or most other spending. So at the end of your no spend time period, you should be left with money that might have otherwise been spent to use for savings, debt payment, vacations, or education funds. Whatever your personal goal is.
No Spend January Rules
The cool thing about a no spend period is that you can make the rules that work for your family.
Here are the rules that I plan to follow for my no spend January:
My goal is to spend zero on clothing this month for my entire family. We all just got several new clothing items for Christmas and we should all be able to use the items that we have.
Fast Food/Eating Out: $0
No eating out for 1 month. It will be better for us and would be a $191.10 savings from last year. I can’t believe I spent almost $200 on fast food and pizza last year. Embarrasing.
We have gotten in a bad habit of grabbing takeout after my daughter’s dance class once a week. The crockpot is going to have to step in for the win on these late nights.
Truth? I really wanted to give myself a $100 allowance for emergencies. And then I thought what in the world. Is an Amazon emergency a real thing? No it is not. My love affair with Amazon is officially on hold until at least 2/1.
In 2020, I would like to get this down to closer to $400 for the month but since I have not been doing great on the grocery side of things, I want to be realistic and ease into things.
My grocery budget is a little finicky because we have our 2 kids that live with us and then we have 3 step daughters that are over various times though out the month. So some days I may have 4 at my table and other times it might be 7.
Sorry Target, if I have to break up Amazon, you are gone too.
We have 5 birthdays in January in our immediate family. I am budgeting $100 for gifts but I did pre purchase a couple in December during after Christmas clearance.
Other Rules of Spending
So here are the other rules that I will follow in my No Spend January month:
- Pay all set bills (Mortgage, Childcare, Utilities, Internet, TV Streaming Service)
- School Expenses (If you have kids in school, you know it is $5 here, $10 there for something every week it seems. I will only participate in needs during the month of January. I also promised my daughter that she could buy 4 lunches at school this month & that will come out of my grocery budget)
Plan & Update
I will be sharing a blog post and also social media updates throughout the month about how the no spend January is going.
Any tips/tricks or struggles that I come across will also be shared!
Join Me in January?
Will you join me on a no spend January to start this decade off right? What would you do with the money saved in your no spend month?