Ok guys and gals, I am wiped out after Christmas spending. Aren’t you? Then lets have NO SPEND JANUARY! Yes, lets spend ZERO MONEY this month! Ok, ok, I realize that’s not possible. Bills have to be paid and groceries have to be bought. But you know what we CAN do? Cut out the EXCESS spending. Lunch and dinner out, coffee from the drive thru, movie rentals, snacks when stop at the gas station – anything that is NOT necessary doesn’t get bought this month! If you haven’t already done so, find a free budget template online that can help you categorize your expenses. Who’s with me?
Keep reading for 7 ways to not spend money this month!
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative this month! Here are some ways to do MORE while spending ZERO:
- Don’t let those gift cards you got for Christmas sit in your wallet! Use them! If you MUST eat out, use a gift card. Did you get a Target gift card? Use it to buy groceries – if you spend a $25 Target gift card on groceries then take $25 cash out of your grocery budget and set it aside for a “No Spend January Emergency Fund” – in case something comes up. You can do the same with gas gift cards. Take the money out of your normal gas money budget.
- Absolutely have to have a fancy coffee from your favorite shop? Check out fiverr.com to see what you can do to make $5! And you can do the same thing with Swagbucks. If you can earn enough Swagbucks to cash out via Paypal this month it’s free money! Since it’s not part of your budgeted income, it technically doesn’t count in No Spend January. Buy a Starbucks, get a pedicure, or add it to your “No Spend January Emergency Fund”.
- Sell something. Got something sitting around the house that’s of value? Sell it on Ebay or list it in a local buy/sell/trade group on Facebook. That is essentially found money and you can spend it as you please (or add it to your emergency fund)
- Cook from your stockpile this month! Just exactly how many meals can you make from what’s already in your fridge/freezer/pantry? You might be surprised! Do some creative meal planning and challenge yourself to cut your grocery budget this month! Spend $100 less than normal? AWESOME! Put it in your “No Spend Emergency Fund”!
- Cut cable. Did you know that cutting cable can save you $900 or more a year? At the very least it can save you $75-$100 THIS MONTH. You know what I’m going to say, right? Put it in the No Spend Emergency Fund! Here’s how to get started with (and survive!) no cable service! Can’t cut cable completely yet? Try to trim down your package and see if it can save you a few bucks. Or, call your cable company and ACT like you want to cancel service. We did this just before we cancelled and they gave us $10 off our bill for a few months. THEN we cancelled. $10 is not $75…but it is $10.
- Ditch the landline phone. Really. We did this 12 years ago! (Years before we cut cable). That’s another $50 or so you can save a month!
Now, lets talk a little more about this “No Spend Emergency Fund”. If you keep sticking back all this “found money” and only spending money when absolutely necessary, you might just find yourself with a nice little chunk of change at the end of the month. Now let’s say you’re in the middle of No Spend January and you’ve been caught out late on some errands and the kids are starving and it’s at least another hour before you can get home and get dinner on the table. Please, by all means, feed your children from the nearest drive thru – but these are the kind of things the “No Spend Emergency Fund” is for. At the end of the month, you have a few options to do with the rest of your fund money:
- Put it in savings.
- Pay it on outstanding debt (credit card, car payment)
- Put it away for vacation or next Christmas.
- Keep it in a “No Spend Emergency Fund” (now referred to as NSEF because I’m tired of typing it out) and use it in February. **
**That’s right! No Spend January doesn’t have to end in January! Follow the 7 steps above AGAIN and see how much money you can not spend in February! If you decided to ditch cable, then take the same amount of savings out of your regular budget in February too and add it to your NSEF. And in March, do the same thing! Just keep rolling your “extra money” over into the next month for emergencies that might arise.
Be sure to come back and let me know how No Spend January goes!