Does your family need money ASAP? Are you working to save money so you can go on a fun vacation or put a down payment on a house? If so it’s time to do a super savings or no spend month. What is a no spend month?
When we were first married, my husband and I were students making very little money. Some months we struggled just to make ends meet. Between groceries, paying tuition, and medical bills, it seemed like we could never gain any traction with our savings goals. That
what is a No Spend month?
For one month, as a family, we set out to save as much money as we possibly could. We cut any unnecessary spending. In fact, we didn’t spend money on anything unless we absolutely had to in order to keep our household up and running. So thing like eating out at restaurants were out, but paying the mortgage was in.
Every time we tackled a No Spend Month we made incredible progress towards our goals. These months of extreme saving supercharged our savings goals and made it possible to adopt our first son, make it through my husband’s graduate degree, and even survive my husbands’ job loss and subsequent year-long job search. We’ve discovered there is incredible power in focusing heavily on saving for a short, pre-determined amount of time.
WHy a month?
A month is the perfect amount of time to really supercharge your savings. It’s long enough to save a significant amount of money without being so long that you get burnt out. When you feel frustrated with eating rice and beans, you just need to remember that once the next month starts, you can go back to your regular routine.
We saved $4500 in march
We no longer scrape by every month. My husband eventually landed a wonderful job that has provided well for our family. But, even now, we like to challenge ourselves every once in a while to save a little more. In an effort to do just that, we just completed a No Spend Month this past month. Incredibly, we saved even more than we ever thought possible.
My husband gets paid weekly. Knowing this we picked a month where he’d be getting five paychecks instead of four. This allowed us to really supercharge our savings for the month of March. Last month, we were able to save $4500. Just saying that out loud gives me goosebumps. It was a long month full of difficult sacrifice. But, it has given us a great boost to our savings. It also has helped to remind us what it feels like to really stretch ourselves. With my husbands’ job, we’ve gotten a little spoiled and haven’t been pushing ourselves as much to save money and be frugal. No Spend Month has revived that frugalness. I believe that anyone can save more if they are willing to push themselves.
How we saved More money
So how did we do it? First, I have to say that my husband does make a decent income. We’ve been very blessed that his work provides well for our family. I also make money from my side-hustle as a freelance writer. Not every family can save $4500 in a month. I realize that. But the principles are the same. Limit what you spend and work hard. Here’s what we do to supercharge our savings.
Eat out of the panty
This is my least favorite part of No Spend Month. We buckle down and really try to limit our grocery spending. No, we can’t get away with a
t of zero, but we limit what we do spend to the absolute necessities. At the beginning of the month, my husband and I sift through the pantry, fridge, and freezer to evaluate what we have available for meals. Then we write out a meal plan for the month that utilizes what we have.
It’s not always fun. The items at the back of your pantry are usually there for a reason (no one wants to eat them). But, this is a great way to rotate some of your food items and clean out the things you wouldn’t normally eat. It also saves you money.
Cut unnecessary spending in your No SPend month
Amazon Prime is probably the best things since sliced bread for
During the past month, we cut all that extra spending. I didn’t order anything online. We didn’t eat out (even on days when it felt impossible to cook). We chose cheap activities with our kids like taking a picnic of tuna-fish sandwiches to the park. At one point our well-used Kitchenaid mixer broke. Instead of rushing to replace it, we’ve mixed our pizza dough by hand for a couple of weeks. And we survived.
Look around for money
I guarantee that you’ve got money laying around somewhere. We have our mortgage with a local credit union. They recently reviewed our escrow and deposited any excess into a savings account that we never use. We were thrilled to find that we had nearly $1400 in that savings account that we could add to our No Spend Month tally. If we hadn’t have double checked our statement for that account we wouldn’t have noticed the extra money.
We’ve also been known to pull spare change out of our cars and couch cushions, sell extra items online, or even have a garage sale in an effort to boost savings. Use your No Spend Month to finally get around to selling all of those things you’ve been meaning to get rid of.
Review services and subscriptions
At the beginning of the month, we took the time to review our monthly spending and review some of the services and subscriptions we use. After looking through bank account statements, we realized that we were paying for three video streaming services. We canceled two of them and kept our favorite. We also changed internet providers and ended up with cheaper and faster internet. You should evaluate these services at least once a year (or more ) anyway, do it now to help you save money.
Start a side hustle to boost your super savings month
I am a stay-at-home mom with a side hustle. I have worked online (freelance writing or teaching courses at a university) earning extra money for our family our entire marriage. Early in our marriage, the money I made helped us stay afloat. When my husband was out of work, it was one of the reasons we survived the experience without debt. Today, my freelance writing makes a significant part-time income. We use it to save and pay for extras that pop up in our budget. During the month of March, the money I made contributed to nearly half our savings for the month. And I did it all during nap time or after the kids went to bed.
I’m not special. I just work incredibly hard. I honestly believe that anyone can make money from a side hustle. Yes, it means giving up some of your free time. But, in my experience, my side hustle has been crucial in helping my family’s financial situation.
Your family can use a No Spend Month to supercharge your savings. It doesn’t matter if you save $400 or $4000. Dramatically cutting your spending for a month will give you a good time frame to sacrifice without burning you out. How will you save money this month?
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