TGIF! It’s a new month which means another chance for a fresh start towards whatever it is that you want to achieve this month or this year. Today I am going to explain what a no spend month actually means in addition to providing you with some tips to help you start one.
A couple of days ago, I posted a picture of a No Spend daily tracker insert that I created on Instagram. I received a few messages wanting to know what a no spend is, some of you loved my insert and asked if I can share a copy of it, etc. I replied back to some of the messages but then I realized why not just do a blog post about it so here we are.
What is a No Spend?
Simplest definition: Don’t spend money on things that you don’t necessarily need and/or items that are not required for daily living. If you can select one or two things that you want to stop spending money on, then you can set a goal for yourself whether it be for a week or a month to see if you can go the entire length of time without purchasing those items. Since the very beginning of January, I have noticed that quite a few people have already started their no spend months and debt free journeys.
What classifies as a No Spend item / category?
- Planner Stuff (you know I had to include this in my list)
- Buying coffee everyday
- Eating out too often
- Beauty / makeup impulse purchases
- Subscriptions of any kind
- Music & Movie Downloads
These are just some examples of categories that you can use to narrow down your spending habits. Before I go any further, let me just explain what my no spend consisted of. In the fall of 2016, I was sorting through some planner stuff in my room and that’s when I realized that I just had way too much stuff! At the bottom of the bin, I found so many receipts from Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Target. I added up how much I spent over the course of several months and while it wasn’t jaw dropping, it was enough to make me say “yeah this needs to stop”. Between the money that I was spending on this stuff and stopping at Dunkin Donuts every morning, it was time for me to start my own No Spend.
With that said, my no spend marathon started in December 2016. The first thing I did was create a few countdown calendars using a pack of small blank calendar post its and I attached them to very front divider in my planners. I am keeping it real when I say that it definitely wasn’t easy at first. My number one weakness is the Target Dollar Spot so learning to walk right by that area when I entered the store was so hard. As far as craft stores go, both Hobby Lobby and Michael’s aren’t far from me yet somehow I found the willpower to just not jump in my car and go there simply because I could.
The best thing I did was delete the apps from my phone, unsubscribed from their emails and unfollowed them on social media. I didn’t have any problems avoiding Etsy because thankfully I learned to avoid it very early in my planning journey. In the three years that I have been using a planner, I have only purchased stickers three times and inserts once. I held myself accountable by sharing my progress on Instagram. Like I said, it was hard at first but as I crossed off each day on the calendar, the easier it became. Once a full week went by, then two, it became a breeze. Before I knew it, the month was over and it was onto the next until I reached a full seven months! Can you say HECK YEAH!
Last July, I used my cash back rewards from Ibotta to purchase some inserts for the kate spade planner and then the no spend started again until Black Friday. What can I say? The sales were amazing! Between the sales and extra coupons, I only spent $35 and I walked out with a bag full of goodies. Then right after Christmas, a little planner switch happened so I purchased some new inserts (you can read more about that here) In total, I only spent $50 on planner stuff last year! Now I’m back on the no spend marathon and I’m ready to keep it going. I also invested in a Ninja Coffee Bar so now I make my own iced lattes every morning which in turn saves me $4 a day x 5 days a week = $20!
It’s so cool to see so many of you joining in on this. You can start a no spend anytime you want and the best part is that you can start a week at a time until you work your way up to a month. Like I stated above, your no spend can be about anything you want and whatever it is that you determine you can live without, put that money towards something else.
So in the spirit of saving money, I want to help you start your No Spend Month so I created a No Spend tracker for your planners. I designed two different sizes which would fit perfectly in both a personal sized six ring planner and a classic happy planner. If you have a different planner, you can print it out and use it however it would work best for you. Disclaimer: These inserts aren’t anything spectacular or fancy LOL Just something that you can use to track your no spend month..
Click here to download – Personal Planner
Click here to download – Classic Happy Planner
Tip: When you open the PDF, make sure to choose Actual Size before you print the file. You will have to trim them to the appropriate size to fit into whichever planner size you use. If you wish to use them in a three ring binder, etc. you would select “Fit to Page”.
Before I go, I wanted to share a few budget videos from You Tube that can really inspire you to start your no spend journey. I saved them in a playlist incase I ever want to go back to them for extra motivation.
Well I hope that you all have enjoyed this post and that I can help encourage you to start your own No Spend mission. I’d love to see how you incorporate these trackers into your daily routines and planners so please make sure to tag me @theinnovativelatina if you post any pictures on Instagram.