What We Learned From No Spend November

December 1, 2019

Back in October, I heard of a challenge called “No Spend November”. I was intrigued by the idea, especially since minimalism and simplifying has been our goal for the past few years. I talked to Brandon about doing it and he was on board with it.

We actually had a great experience with it, our kids came to understand it and embrace it and it made us realize that we have more than enough.

The Rules

We created our own rules for the month: we wouldn’t spend money on anything except gas and the utility bills or credit card bills that were already accrued from October.

We wouldn’t spend money from November 3-29. I needed a few days after Halloween to stock up on groceries, diapers, and some household items. I knew the kids needed a few warm clothes, so I bought them that but didn’t go crazy buying anything else just because I knew I couldn’t shop.

The Results

For the most part, we stuck to our goal. We did pay for one 54 cent movie to watch fora date night and we spent money to go Rock Climbing with Sarah, which was a previously planned date that got postponed to November. Half way through the month, Brandon did go to Harmons once to get milk and some fresh fruit and veggies.

Other than that, we didn’t buy any clothes, household items, decor, art supplies, or school lunch (with exception to a few supplies I had to purchase for a sponsored holiday post I am doing.)

What We Learned/Takeaways

  • Brandon: you can make do or do without
  • Melissa: I realized how much time I was spending shopping, returning, entering receipts into our budget. Since I wasn’t spending time spending money, I realized how much more time I had to tackle projects and other things. I painted the front door, the mudroom, organized the kids closet, and worked on decluttering photos. I had to make a return at Target once so we walked in, and returned the item. Usually, I would browse the dollar spot or the store, but I felt so liberated because I felt free from the pull to buy anything. Evelyn, Oliver and I looked at the new Frozen stuff for a few minutes, but then we were out of there.
  • The kids: today after church, Blake said, “Mom, since No Spend November is over, can we go to Target tomorrow to get Pokemon cards?” Apparently he knew not to ask to get them before it was over. There were a few times he asked for school lunch, but we told him we weren’t spending money and he was okay with it.
  • We saved so much money! Don’t get me wrong, I did stock up on our food for the month and other essentials in October, but we had so much money left in our bank account that would normally go to random purchases and Amazon orders.
  • We plan to do this again next year! And we’re trying to see if we can implement a no-spend week each month just to keep us being more resourceful with what we have.
  • I thought we would run out of food…but we didn’t! Since we drink mostly almond milk (except Eli), I was able to get enough milk for the month. Lettuce, apples, oranges stayed good for the month. Brandon did spend $15 once throughout the month for milk and produce, but besides that, we had plenty of food and still had extra!
  • I think I’m a food collector. Food storage is wonderful, and essential, but sometimes I have this weird that I thing don’t want to eat food because I’m saving it for the “best” time.
  • I had more time for reading (I read 2 books- Women And The Priesthood and Cozy Minimalist Home –which inspired me to freshen up the guest bathroom. Normally if I wanted to update something, I would go to the store first thing, but since I couldn’t spend money, I got creative using things I already had around the house like extra spray paint for the mirror, a bigger frame and a plant. )
  • Did we want to rush out the store the day after Thanksgiving? Actually no. I went shopping with Sarah and got a needed jean skirt, Christmas sweater, and shoes all for $6. But I noticed that I was much more intentional with my purchases.

Yay for No Spend November! I’m a fan.

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