2020 NO-SPEND FEBRUARY RECAP

no-spend February recap

HOW MUCH DID WE SPEND? HOW MUCH DID WE SAVE? WAS IT WORTH IT? FIND OUT IN THIS NO-SPEND FEBRUARY RECAP!

I’m laying it all out in this post! A Life on a Dime participated in No-Spend February. Spoiler alert: it was much harder than I anticipated! I’m sensing a pattern here with these challenges. Remember the No Plastic December Challenge? Here is my No-Spend February recap.

*This page contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links.*

NO-SPEND FEBRUARY RECAP – BY THE GUIDELINES

Referring back to the no-spend guidelines, spending was banned in several categories. I’ll go through each one and tell you how we did on them individually.

NO CLOTHING PURCHASES

I was initially going to budget socks and underwear as we’re slowly replenishing these items, but after we strayed in another category. You may have already heard if you watched the No-Spend Challenge YouTube video (you can read all about that below if you didn’t). I chose not to continue with this for February, so we actually did better with this one than I anticipated.

NO MAKEUP OR JEWELRY

I don’t wear a lot of makeup so this one wasn’t very easy. In January I had just replaced the chain for my favorite pendant and accidentally snagged it clean off my neck with the hairbrush fairly early on in the month. I put it away for safekeeping and will replace it later. I didn’t wear it for over a year before I remembered to get a chain while I was out, so another month or two will be okay.

NO DINING OUT

There were a few nights I found I had missed something on the grocery list or we didn’t have enough leftovers for leftover night. A couple of those times I managed to whip up a homemade meal anyway from the pantry without wreaking further havoc to the meal plan. Then there was the time or two it didn’t…

It was a little too easy to go out to eat once fairly on in the month. Dinner wasn’t working out according to meal plan and I really wanted curry. We quickly decided to adjust the budget and treat ourselves the one time. So we loaded up and stopped at the local Asian restaurant… only to find it was closed that week.

We drove on into the next closest option, but it didn’t seem too kid-friendly (looked more geared for the college crowd based on all the signs in the windows) and we decided not to mess with it. So we drove back to the local Mexican restaurant that is a tried and true favorite with us all and I shared an order of quesadillas with the toddler.

It was a lively meal and we enjoyed the time together, so I have a hard time calling this a fail. The next two times we ate out didn’t come from the budget, so I’m not going to feel guilty about that.

NO ALCOHOL, EXCEPT ON VALENTINE’S DAY

We did well with this one and stayed under budget. I continued to try to up my water intake this month as per my monthly health goal, but coffee consumption increased dramatically for me due to a toddler who boycotted sleep almost every night. I have decided to give up coffee for Lent since I’m feeling a little too attached to it right now. Pray for me!

ENTERTAINMENT

We forgot STEAM night at the school was in February. Admission is free, but all the activities were raffled or required tickets/money and there was a food truck. We sat that one out. The Glow Dance party is also in February. We considered going, but the kiddo opted to go to Dairy Queen for a rare treat instead. The cost was about the same, just under $12. 

TOYS AND GAMES

We actually identified a few toys that could be donated this month. We stay away from toy stores and toy aisles with the kids so this really isn’t much of an issue. Problems only arose when the kids fought over the lone set of mega bloks.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have them saved on my Amazon wishlist.

NO CONVENIENCE FOODS

We did not spend money on any random convenience foods or drinks at the register. There were no special little treats purchased while grocery shopping, or for my husband while out and about at work. This did save a bit of money

Our first grader did not participate in any school-sponsored sports last summer as we had her in martial arts as a birthday gift. I made a rookie mistake then too of not asking what the price to continue was and the “affordable” classes soon looked more like a second mortgage would be needed just to stay in for the year.

We had talked about enrolling her in T-ball or another sport this coming summer as a fun activity and to give her some much-needed socialization. She is a very social child and prefers to be surrounded by other kids her age. When we found out that T-ball registration was in February and it would be $50 we knew we were signing her up no-spend month or not.

Luckily, due to her age, we don’t have to purchase much equipment, but they did recommend athletic pants and a mitt. She needs new tennis shoes anyway as she has just about torn through the toes of the pair purchased just before school started. We bought a bit big so luckily they still fit her.

NO-SPEND FEBRUARY RECAP: SO HOW MUCH DID WE SAVE?

We did manage to put an extra $250 to savings. That is a success in itself. That may not seem like a lot to some readers, but we live on a single income and this was a significant increase to our monthly savings. We send money to savings every pay period, but it was very nice to see it add up just a little faster.

All in all, I’d say we did alright. We did manage to save more than usual, which put us closer to our current emergency fund goal. Having said that, I am so glad it’s over and I am more than ready for March!

I am so excited we’re going minimalist this month! I really hope you join in as a frugal friend and go minimal for the month with us! I’ll be back with another post on Friday, and until then stay frugal and minimal my friends!

no-spend February recap

 

NO-SPEND DAYS OR WEEKS: THE PERFECT MINI CHALLENGE!

NO-SPEND MINI CHALLENGE

THE NO-SPEND MINI CHALLENGE!

 

WHEN YOU’RE NOT UP FOR A NO-SPEND MONTH BUT STILL WANT TO SAVE MORE MONEY

A no-spend month may seem like a daunting challenge when you’re new to budgeting. Or stretched for time. Or trying to tackle too many things at once. That’s okay! You don’t have to commit to a full month of no unnecessary spending to make a difference in your finances. You can focus on intentionality with a no-spend mini-challenge. And a Life on a Dime is here to show you how!

*This page contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links.*

WHAT A NO-SPEND MINI-CHALLENGE ISN’T

Before diving into what a no-spend mini-challenge is, let’s discuss what it isn’t. This isn’t an excuse to spend more money on the days and weeks’ outside the challenge. I believe many people try no-spend days only to “make up” for lost time every other day of the month. That is counterproductive.

If you take that approach to a no-spend challenge you might need to explore the reason behind your spending more than just how much money you’re spending. It will be much more beneficial in the long run!

WHAT A NO-SPEND MINI-CHALLENGE IS

A no-spend mini-challenge is a great opportunity to help you practice delayed gratification and intentionality. Both of these concepts are necessary for budgeting success. If you can start with small steps you will succeed in the bigger ones. This is true with anything in life.

Start with a number of no-spend days in a month. Work your way up to a number of weeks. This sort of practice will help you make better decisions over the course of the entire month. You just have to be intentional with your money on the days you are allowed regular spending.

The whole goal of a no-spend challenge isn’t just to save money; it is also to help you see what you spend your money on. If what you spend your money on isn’t in alignment with your priorities a no-spend is the perfect opportunity to realign your spending with your priorities and values.

HOW TO USE ONE TO HELP YOU CURB SPENDING AND GET CONTROL OF THE BUDGET

If you’re not up for a no-spend month or have other things already on the calendar that prohibit you from doing so just yet then a mini-challenge can help a lot. You don’t even have to pick certain days or weeks to participate; you can start small by eliminating one or more specific types of spending.

This can be a great way to save money without “feeling” it quite as much as in an all-out no-spend challenge. Maybe you visited the drive-thru a few more times than you’d like to admit. You can challenge yourself to a no-spend on eating out for the next week, month, or even longer. This one small change can save you anywhere from $5 to $20 a day depending on where you typically stop. The money saved by imposing this mini-challenge can add up quickly!

It will also give you incentive and momentum to improve other areas of your budget for longer periods of time. This can give you the willpower you need to take control of your budget and make your money work for you.

IS A NO-SPEND CHALLENGE RIGHT FOR YOU?

Is there an area of the budget that is a little out of control or could use improvement? Do you want to live life with more intention and practice delayed gratification? Do you have financial goals that need some to gain some traction before you give up?

If you answered yes to any of these questions I firmly believe a no-spend mini-challenge will benefit you. Consider it a warmup for a full no-spend month or just as a kick in the pants needed to get you budgeting again. I believe a no-spend challenge can help most people.

Follow a scaled-down version of the no-spend month guidelines and practice the same tips offered to succeed and see how much money you can save!

IF YOU’RE ALREADY PARTICIPATING IN NO-SPEND FEBRUARY…

Keep up the good work! I am here to encourage, motivate, and offer any advice I have to help you succeed! We’re already close to one full week in! Use your tracker, keep focusing on why you are participating in the first place, and keep forging ahead! Maybe once you’re done you can impose a no-spend mini-challenge on yourself and stick with one item you restricted during the monthly challenge!

One small habit of avoiding the drive-thru can have a great impact on your health and waistline just as much as it can on your wallet! Keep practicing self-discipline to achieve your goals and your finances aren’t the only thing that will improve!

As always, I am here if you have any questions. Feel free to contact me and be sure to follow a Life on a Dime on Instagram, Twitter, and the Facebook page for even more information and tips. If you’re a fellow blogger be sure to check out our Facebook Group Blogging on a Dime. It’s a small, but growing community of bloggers on a smaller budget supporting each other’s endeavors and sharing information along the way!

I’ll be back Monday with the newsletter and next Thursday with a new YouTube video! This one will highlight no-spend challenges! Until then, stay frugal my friends! And stay strong! It’s No-Spend February and you’re doing great! Keep it up and count the money you save this month as an effort well made!

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NO-SPEND FEBRUARY CHALLENGE GUIDELINES

no-spend February challenge

TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES IN THE NO-SPEND FEBRUARY CHALLENGE WITH A LIFE ON A DIME!

You may have seen #NoSpendNovember or #NoSpendJanuary challenges floating around on social media. Maybe you opted out because you were overwhelmed with the thought of a no-spend just before the holidays. Or you may have felt too defeated after the holidays. Great news! January is almost over. You’ve had a breather from holiday expenses; now is the time to take back control of your finances! Do that with a Life on a Dime’s No-Spend February Challenge!

Whether Christmas got out of control or you need to build up emergency or sinking funds, this is a great opportunity! It can also be an eye-opener when it comes to your spending habits. You won’t only see how much you CAN save in a month; you’ll also see how much money you spend on impulse or unnecessary purchases. Not only that, but it also gives you a chance to change your spending habits for the better!

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NO-SPEND CHALLENGE

First, let’s define a no-spend challenge; it is simply a set amount of time in which you eliminate certain spending. We still have to pay the mortgage or rent and feed the kids, but there are more spending categories you can do without or put a lower cap on than you might realize.

I outlined a few tips for success in 3 Tips to Survive and Succeed in a No-Spend Challenge. It would come in very handy in February! It lays out the basic idea of a no-spend challenge and how to make it work. For this challenge, I’ll be participating with you and sharing my progress, tips, and advice on the blog. I will also be sharing on social media under #NoSpendFebruary, and via the email list. If you’re not subscribed to the blog now is a great time to sign up. You’ll get your free weekly meal plan!

Speaking of social media, are you following a Life on a Dime on Instagram, Twitter, and the Facebook page? You’ll definitely want to during this challenge! It’ll offer motivation, encouragement, and accountability! If you’d be interested in a YouTube video on no-spend let me know.

GUIDELINES TO THE NO-SPEND FEBRUARY CHALLENGE

Before starting a no-spend challenge it is important to lay out the guidelines. Sit down with your budget and determine what spending is allowed. Examples of required spending include mortgage/rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, and fuel.

After determining which expenses are allowed start determining which aren’t and if there are any one-time exceptions. For example, if you plan to cut dining out for the no-spend challenge but want to keep your annual Valentine’s date with your honey you can. Just include that PRIOR to the challenge.

Look at the calendar this week in order to ensure greater success next month. If you forget something and allow it you’re more likely to allow other expenses that pop up. Plan ahead and avoid that!

I’m going to make this easier by including my household’s approved spending and what we’re cutting out for no-spend February. This will give you a better idea of how this works and to help you frame your guidelines.

ALLOWED SPENDING IN A LIFE ON A DIME’S HOUSEHOLD DURING THE CHALLENGE

  • Mortgage – Because we have to have a place to live obviously.
  • Utilities – Might as well keep the lights on and the place warm.
  • Insurance – We have cancer, life, and auto insurance. Our health insurance is deducted from hubby’s pay.
  • Groceries – This category will be restricted. See the details in the restricted items section.
  • Toiletries – Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant… Things you need so other people can stand to be around you.
  • Prescriptions and necessary OTC items – I like to use natural wellness options. You can see what we stock our medicine cabinet with here). This includes my monthly wellness box from Young Living. We get some of our supplements and toiletries through them.
  • Kid supplies – Such as pull-ups and wipes since someone is resisting potty training.
  • Mama’s Friend Date – A friend and I made the commitment to get together more often. We had a very rare lunch date (SANS KIDS!!!) in December. When we parted ways we set a goal to get together in February. This is an expense I’m deeming allowed and necessary for my sanity! Social circles close a bit when you are a stay-at-home parent if you let them. Don’t shut yourself off! You don’t have to spend a lot of money; just make the effort to prioritize time with your friends.
  • Gym Membership – I have the $10 Planet Fitness membership. It doesn’t break the bank and I now fund it with my side hustles. Typically. I just need to go more often.

BANNED SPENDING IN OUR HOUSEHOLD DURING THE CHALLENGE

  • Clothing – with the exception of socks and underwear – I plan to restock at the rate of one or two pairs of socks a month. I had not purchased basic socks in almost 10 years prior to this winter so I’m okay buying a new pair or two.
  • Makeup and Jewelry – I don’t buy these often, but I am including them as I’ve had my eye on a good lipgloss for a while.
  • Dining Out – We typically eat pizza at home for Valentine’s day and I think we’ll continue this tradition.
  • Alcohol – I am allowing an exception for Valentine’s day as it is part of our pizza tradition. This works well with my goal to drink more water and watch my weight anyway.
  • Entertainment – We don’t typically spend money in this category on a monthly basis since only rely on our Prime membership, but I’m going to add it in. This may be one of your big expenses.
  • Toys and Games– This one isn’t usually something we spend a lot of money on, but I’m including it just in case.

RESTRICTED SPENDING IN OUR HOUSEHOLD DURING THE NO-SPEND FEBRUARY CHALLENGE

In addition to not spending money on these categories, I also plan to reduce other areas of our budget to maximize our savings potential.

  • Preprepared Meals and Snacks – This is a big one in our house lately. I buy frozen chicken nuggets on an almost weekly basis for the kids and we buy a lot of snacks. We buy snacks at the grocery store and the hubby buys snacks in addition to his packed lunch on an increasing basis. We’re nipping this in the bud in February! If we want more than the food typically packed for hubby’s lunches and kids’ one snack a day we’ll have to make something! By we, I mean me, so this will definitely be a challenge.
  • Household Items – This is a category I’ve already cut back on making my own cleaning products, etc. See the DIYs category if you’re interested in doing that yourself. I will make an effort to be even more mindful. I will purchase items only when I need them rather than making “just in case” purchases.
  • In-between Grocery Day Purchases – You know what I’m talking about; those “must-have” items that didn’t make the weekly shopping list you’re tempted to just “pop in” and pick up from time to time. Are they really necessary? Usually, they’re not. I’ve found Google to be immensely useful when I realize I’m missing a “key” ingredient in a recipe. We really can make it three days on two rolls of toilet paper. That unplanned trip usually results in more than just the one or two “must-have” items you went in for in the first place. I have a habit of popping into the store near my gym for one or two things when I’m out. I come out with more than just the planned one or two items at least 50% of the time. Not this month!

I’M ASSIGNING NO-SPEND HOMEWORK TO BE COMPLETED BEFORE FEBRUARY 1:

Sit down with your monthly budget (you have one, right?) and determine what will be allowed, banned, and restricted spending in February. For bonus points, take it a step further and post it on social media with the #NoSpendFebruary so I see it. Give yourself the added layer of accountability of your friends seeing it too.

After you determine that set your savings goal. Your goal may be to pay down debt, increase savings, or take a trip this summer. Then reaffirm your “why.” You need it in order to stay motivated. You can take a look at my “why” here.

If you have a savings goal, your “why” might be that you want to be sure you can provide for your family in the event of illness or job loss. You need the security of having a fully-funded emergency fund. Reminding yourself why you need it helps keep you motivated to reach that goal.

If you want to go on vacation your “why” might be that your kids have never experienced the seashore and you want them to feel the sand between their toes and smell the ocean air like you did growing up on summer vacations. Focus on your “why” and it will help you when you’re tempted to hit the drive-thru after a long day or make that impulse purchase.

After that be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the tips, advice, and updates for the February no-spend challenge as they come on the blog and the email list! I’ll also post under the hashtag on my social media accounts regularly.

YOU HAVE YOUR ASSIGNMENT

You have your assignment, so get to work! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me. I can be reached through the blog or on social media. Be on the lookout for more savings and no-spend related articles on the blog! I’ve also planned a minimalism series on the YouTube channel! Just an FYI. I have lots of great video ideas for you. That’s it for now folks. You have homework – get to it! I’ll be back Monday with the weekly newsletter and meal plan.

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

3 TIPS TO SURVIVE AND SUCCEED IN A NO-SPEND CHALLENGE

no spend challenge

No-spend challenges are more popular than ever. If you’ve ever thought about doing a no-spend challenge now is a great time to get started! Save up some money for Christmas if you haven’t already, put the money saved toward your debt, or add it to the emergency fund. And for #blogtober day 2 here are my top 3 challenges to help you survive and succeed in a no-spend challenge!

*This post contains affiliate links.  At no cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links. *

Set a Realistic Time Period for Your No-Spend Challenge

Setting an unrealistic goal for your first no-spend challenge will set you up for failure before you start. If you’ve never done one or are prone to spend freely start small; try a no-spend weekend challenge and see how you do. If it goes well continue on into the next week.

There are some pretty amazing families on Instagram doing a no-spend year. If you want some major inspiration this is a great hashtag to follow. It should also help you out of your funk if you think you may not survive your first no-spend weekend!

Set Clear Guidelines for Your No-Spend Challenge and Communicate Them with Your Spouse or Partner

Obviously some money may have to be spent depending on the timing of your challenge. Bills do still have to be paid. So, utility bills, mortgage/rent, and other necessities such as gas and groceries are allowed if your challenge falls around due dates or lasts longer than a weekend.

So, essentials are allowed, but meals out, coffee runs, new clothes, mindless scrolling online at shoe sales aren’t. Clear enough? No-spend looks different for everyone. Just make sure you have set clear guidelines for your challenge and that everyone participating agrees on the rules. Communication is key when it comes to surviving and succeeding.

Make a Plan for Your Challenge

And then follow through. If you’re a social person make sure that your crew knows you’re not getting out that weekend. Make sure they don’t ask because you don’t need the temptation! Some people pick a weekend and stay home, watch DVDs, and bake or curl up with a good book and a cup of their favorite homebrew.

Some people do a no-spend challenge during the week and go to their 9-5 but skip the Starbucks line on the way into work and pack their own lunch. Then go home and cook a nice dinner and eat as a family. Take a trip to the library at lunch and find a few new books to read. This time of year is also awesome for getting out and appreciating the changing season; go for a bike ride or take a walk as a family.

This is a great opportunity to break out the board games, old family movies or photo albums, and reconnect with your loved ones. If your fridge and pantry are well stocked invite your friends over for dinner to hang out. If they aren’t you can organize a potluck! Invite your friends to join in on the challenge with you and encourage and hold each other accountable!

Once you have your first successful challenge take advantage of the momentum and plan your next one! If a short weekend no-spend went well pat yourself on the back, send money toward your goals, and keep going! Practice your newfound discipline every day going forward to avoid impulse spending going forward; it can be so easy to get done with a no-spend challenge and then go crazy buying what you think you missed out on during the challenge. Don’t do that! Schedule the next one and make it last a little longer! And let me know how it goes!

Let Me Know How it Goes!

If you want more information on a no-spend challenge there are lots of great books and guides available on Amazon with more information and insight on the topic. Make sure you’re prepared going into your challenge so you can succeed. Just don’t buy one during your challenge, because that would defeat the purpose!

I would love to hear your successes in a no-spend or offer any help if you have trouble. If you’ve ever done a successful no-spend challenge and have tips of your own to add let me hear them! I would love to hear from you.

You can leave a comment with any questions or find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and now YouTube. Be sure to follow along and subscribe for more tips and content. Good luck! I will be back tomorrow with more new content for #blogtober day 3! Hope to see you then.

no spend challenge

This post was proofread by Grammarly