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The only post I've ever written about money was called "3 Great Ways to Spend More Money." The title alone probably gives you some insight into my financial philosophy.
So when I read last year about Rachel's no spend month, my first thought was "I'm so glad I am not doing that!"
But something clicked in me when I read about the idea this year, and I felt it would be the perfect thing for our family at this time.
We are more than blessed to have enough money to meet our needs, which is something I never want to take for granted. And recently I've felt like I've not been as mindful in my spending. I always want to stay thoughtful and grateful for the abundance we have on a daily basis.
And so a no-spend month is exactly what the doctor ordered.
We've set a limit of $350 to spend on our family of five for the month. That money will go toward food, clothing, household goods, gas, transport for Steve to work, entertainment, eating out, and so on.
We're not changing our expenditures when it comes to our bills, mortgage, health insurance, and the like. (If you've never heard of No-Spend month, visit Small Notebook. All the credit behind this idea goes to her.)
We have an organic CSA that we're enjoying this season, and that averages out to about $20 each week. So that takes our $350 for the month down to $270.
It's a few days into the month, and we've already spent $57--mostly on other food. Is that a bad sign? We're pretty stocked up in the food department now, and we plan to eat from our pantry reserves as much as possible.
I plan on reporting our progress weekly here on Steady Mom, to help us stay accountable and also to encourage anyone else who is struggling to consume mindfully.
Just a few days in, here are some changes I've already noticed:
1. The lovely (& slightly expensive!) conditioner I use just ran out. Bad timing! Instead of replacing it right now I'm going to use up the one that's been sitting in the shower for over six months.
2. Sometimes when we pick up our weekly CSA share I don't take items that I'm not sure we'll eat or if I don't know how to cook them. This week I took it all and thought I could do some research to figure it out.
Anyone know what to do with escarole, kale, or kohlrabi?! (Help!)
3. We happen to have a Starbucks coupon for a free drink in the month of July. (Yay!) We almost used it over the weekend, but I suggested maybe we wait until we're a bit more desperate.
Steve said he's desperate already. (This post from our recent camping trip will give you a little insight into Steve's spending philosophy--but once again, he jumped onboard for our July experiment. Well, "jumped" may be a slight exaggeration, but he is onboard and I love him for it!)
If you're thinking of a no spend month, it's not too late to get started! I decided to go for it on July 1st, so I really had put no forethought into any kind of planning.
So far, so good.
**Having never done this before, I'd love advice from any of you who have! How do you keep your spending mindful and in balance?**
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Jamie is founder of this spot called Steady Mom, editor of the blog Simple Homeschool, mama to three cute kids born on three different continents, and author of Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood.
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