One of the many frugal forums I visit has a monthly “no spend” goals thread. People join each month depending their needs and choices. Each person clarifies what “no spend” means according to their needs and choices. Everyone has the opportunity say what is allowed for them, and folks update every day to three days as to how they are doing. For the first time, in a very long time, I am going to participate.
Now, some may say that there is no such thing as a no spend month, or that I may have already spent the other months for this one. While some of that may be true, for the most part it is not. In other words, I wont have over spent on last month and the next month in order to even it out. I do have a few gift cards that I may spend during that time, but those were earned from doing surveys and other things for free, not for spending money. More importantly, my income comes from social security, a small pension and the tiny bit of savings I have left. In my case I would like that money to earn whatever tiny bit it can before the next month. And frankly. I’m situated sufficiently, broke as I am, that I will not need to run out and shop to fill the freezer or anything else on the first of May.
If nothing else, not spending for a month is a chance to see where we are and rethink priorities (I much prefer to do this in spring, than the first of the year in the cold and yucky weather.
What will I be spending money in in April?
- Basic monthly bills-house
- Gas and very basic groceries (produce and dairy products to fill in)
- Plants/seedlings because its Texas and I haven’t gotten there yet and May will be too late (I have the pots, the soil, the fertilizer)
- I trade and sell things occasionally on Craigslist and that five dollars here and there will be used to take care of unadvertised discounts (another $20.00 certificate to Barnes and Noble for $10.00 that is one day only). That’s also what will be used for a drink at the farmers market or art festival, along with found change
- We have a business budget which comes out of personal income as I am a sole proprietor. One of my income streams is buying stuff at yard sales, flea markets and trade days and reselling. Once that envelope is gone, its gone.
Now, some might say that a better time to but the brakes on finances is in the colder months, when one is happy to stay at home. For myself, it works the the opposite. As I mentioned in my frugal spring post, at this time of year I find a great many things to do for free and almost free (I need to remember to do that “week in a frugal life” article). I’m going to a barbecue as part of my dinner group, where I will simply have to cook a course for eight people. I love the thrill of yard sales, thrift shops, flea markets, festivals and farmers markets. I enjoy them even if I buy little or nothing. I spend a fair amount of time either sitting on my patio, working in the yard, or doing other spring projects so I am not bored.
Perhaps this experiment will work, perhaps not. We’ll see how I do. Either way, I’ll be slowing down, spending less, and taking stock for the spring.