Frugal February has come to an end and our spending freeze on non-necessities is finally finished. I have to admit my family is very relieved it is over. However, I am happy we did this challenge, especially seeing how much money we saved.
WHAT WE PURCHASED
At the beginning of this challenge, my husband and I agreed we could purchase milk, bread, fresh produce and diapers. We had several ’emergencies’ this month as well that we did not consider when discussing this challenge. Here’s the breakdown of money spent:
Groceries & Food – $4.37 Plus $1.50 cash back from Checkout 51 (Was $142 worth of food, but used coupons to minimize my out of pocket expense)
New Router – $133
Donation for husband’s coworker – $20
Air for tire $0.75
Total Expenses – $158.12
HOW MUCH DID WE SAVE?
In a normal month, all my husband’s paycheck stays in our checking account to pay bills and any extra cash I earn is used to pay for groceries, eating out, entertainment, etc. At the end of the month, we had $768 in cash! That is all money we did not spend this month that we normally would.
In a normal month, my husband would get his hair cut at least once, I would have stocked up on whole chickens and frozen vegetables (sale items), made several trips to CVS and would have eaten out at least a few times. We probably would have also done at least one fun activity with the kids that cost money, like my daughter’s Bingo night at her school. However, we had lots of fun without spending a dime during their winter break.
WHAT WILL WE DO WITH THE SAVINGS?
Most of the extra money will go directly to our savings account. We have several long term goals and this extra money will help us get there much quicker.
WHAT WE LEARNED
We realized two weeks of no spending is very easy, but four weeks is MUCH harder. I could easily do two weeks of no spending any month, but will seriously consider doing this challenge for an entire month again. My husband and children grew very weary by week three and we were all really tired of the no spending challenge.
I discovered that because of my couponing skills and stockpile we can survive on VERY little money if it were ever necessary. This is encouraging to know because my husband was furloughed from the government last year and it could have been a reality to not have income for an extended period of time. Luckily, it only lasted a little over a week at that time.
I also recognized that shopping is a hobby for me that costs money. Even though I save 50-90% at these shopping trips, I am still spending money. While keeping up with deals is part of my job, I realized that I need to limit my grocery trips to less than once a week and maybe only shop CVS twice a month instead of every week. If I could eliminate several grocery trips every month I know that will help our budget every month. Also, I really need to stick to my shopping list more often, which is something I even teach in my coupon classes. During this challenge, I made very detailed shopping lists with coupons and shopped for only those items and didn’t even visit the other areas of the store and it paid off big time with savings of 97% at the grocery store. A huge bonus was that I spent very little time clipping coupons, shopping or planning my grocery trips. Limiting my impulse shopping will definitely help decrease our expenses every month.
MY ADVICE IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING A NO SPEND CHALLENGE
If you are considering a no spend challenge make sure you set reasonable guidelines for grocery purchases. Because I have a modest stockpile as a couponer, I knew I did not need meat or dry goods this month, but that may not be a reality for your family. Discuss what you consider a necessity as a family and make sure all family members are on board for the challenge. There will be times when you will want to give up, so make sure you can support each other as a family and set goals together.
Two weeks of no spending is very doable. If you want to try something like this, I really believe most people could handle two weeks of no spending and still save a good chunk of change without feeling like they are making a huge sacrifice. Seriously consider if you want to do this challenge longer than two weeks. I’m not going to lie, it was tough towards the end to stay committed to the challenge, but we saw it through the entire month.
We are VERY much looking forward to ordering pizza on March 1, but of course, I will use a coupon. Thanks for all your support this month!
Did you complete a no spend month? How did it go for your family? How much do you estimate you saved? I’d loved to hear about it! Please leave a comment.