No Spend Month

How To Reset Your Budget

How to Use A No-Spend Month To Reset Your Budget

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How many times do I remember realizing that our budget had gotten out of control? I hate to admit it at all, but it was quite a few times. When this happens, one way to reset your budget is to have a No-Spend Month.

After setting up a budget, we all feel very determined to stick with it and reach all of the financial goals that we’ve set. Unfortunately, life happens. Whether a car or appliance needs replacing or medical bills come suddenly, money must be spent.

Sometimes the budget gets busted by lots of small things that can pile up without our notice. Maybe we just haven’t been paying attention, and things can get bad. There are many ways to address the budget problems. But, one way that can work is to have a no-spend month.

What is a no-spend month? It just means we don’t spend any money. Now, I know you’re thinking that this is impossible. Don’t worry. I don’t mean you can’t pay those regular bills. You have to pay the mortgage, utilities and such. But, many things aren’t necessary.

You can make your own list that works for you. Here are some ideas that we’ve used and learned over the years:

  • Don’t eat out. Instead of eating out, try to plan your meals around what you have in the pantry and freezer.
  • Don’t go to the movies, amusement parks, concerts, etc.
  • Skip the coffee shops and make coffee at home.
  • Don’t go shopping. Plan other free activities.
  • Stay off Amazon or other websites that tempt you to shop.
  • Keep a journal of everything you spend….everything.
  • Don’t attend “parties” where friends are selling makeup, jewelry, etc.
  • Take your own lunch and snacks to work, so you won’t grab lunch out or hit the snack machines.

Can you actually do this? Of course you can! You don’t need to feel deprived during your No-Spend Month. This can be an adventure or a challenge. You can (and should) get the entire family involved. When one of your children says “I want…”, make it a family challenge to come up with a free alternative.

There are always many things to do in every town that are totally free. Search them out, ask your friends for ideas, and try something that is new.

You can use some of your time to work on the budget and see what ways you might be able to tweak it. There are usually adjustments that can be made to save more money. You can think about whether or not you need every single thing on your spending list.

Another helpful idea is to use this month to sell things that you no longer need. Using Craiglist or a yardsale, cash can come in handy to pay down the extra bills.

Using a meal planner and changing some unhealthy spending habits should improve your ability to keep the budget tight. Try to learn some new frugal-living methods to use from now on.

A No-Spending Month is a great way to learn about yourself. Look at it as positive time and not a punishment. As you learn new things, decide which of these things can be carried over into your every-month budget. Then, it will be totally worth it to have a month of no-spending.

@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman

38 thoughts on “How To Reset Your Budget”

  1. I’ve been really bearing down in 2020, trying to eliminate unnecessary spending. We have cut down on eating out, and I’ve been able to find a local Buy Nothing facebook group – members post things that they want to get out of their house, and then choose a recipient from those who respond to the post. I’d encourage everyone to check it out – I’ve been able to get some clothing from this site that really helped spruce up my wardrobe, and kept me from being tempted to go to a store to buy new clothing.

  2. For me, the most difficult thing would be staying off online sites, like Amazon. They’re just too dang convenient, lol. Actually, I’ve done pretty well staying off them lately.

  3. Thank you, Lisa, for this practical encouragement. It reminded me that my husband and I used to declare spending freezes in the earlier days of our marriage, and they were always very helpful in getting us back on track.

  4. Whenever I wanted to make a concerted effort to cut back our spending I made sure to leave my credit cards at home and only brought enough money to the store to pick up those supplies that we NEEDED and were on my list. These are great suggestions for being more mindful of spending.

  5. I’ve done great leaving credit cards at home, but I do so appreciate your other tips! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Timely advice for me, with COVID-19 at my door I could use this for this month with forced closures ahead for me. No or little income.

    Mishelle G

  7. Julie Justice Book

    Hi Lisa, thank you for the great tips! Two things I might add to this list are first: to get your money back on items that need to be returned. The other is to watch for those sneaky budget busters: late fees. Plan to use the calendar on you device to add in when rentals are coming due. Julie

    1. Great tips! When my child rented books online we made plenty of calendar notices, but it would be so easy to miss one of these deadlines. We sure didn’t want to pay those late fees 🙂

  8. I haven’t been out to eat or to the movies since we started social distancing. I do order pizza delivery several times a month and the prime benefits at Amazon makes that my go-to for almost everything. I can truly admit I need to do better in some areas. Thanks for the tips!

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