HOW TO DO A NO SPEND CHALLENGE AND FREE PRINTABLES
I decided to do a no-spend challenge because both of my girls’ birthdays are in the same month & I’m big on birthdays. But really, who isn’t? Celebrating life is one of the best parts of life, can I get an amen? With the celebrations sometimes come unexpected costs, last minute adventures & dare I say, cake! So the goal with the no spend challenge is to sacrifice the little things so we can make big memories for our kiddos to take into their adult years.
I’m a busy homeschool mom & although I don’t have a ton of extra time to spend on our finances, I’m realizing that the cost is way to great not to! With all the goals I created at the beginning of the year, it seems the most important is my spiritual health & my financial health. After all, my word for 2019 was healthyish & that pertains to all areas of my life! So here I am, participating in my own no-spend challenge!
All of the tips I’m sharing in this post have come from past experience, failures & epiphanies. I’ve been learning so much from homeschooling & covering recycling, reducing & reusing was more a lesson for me, than for them! We recently started working towards a minimalist lifestyle approach & it’s been completely life changing. We are a consistent work in progress & I’m a firm believer that grace is an opportunity for growth, always! If, like me, you’re feeling discouraged by finances, not able to decipher needs vs. wants & just not sure where to start? Do what I do & start by taking a small baby step. Sometimes if I think about the big ‘ol picture it can becoming all-consuming. It’s easier to think about what I need in this moment, whether it’s a warm meal, a quick devotion & prayer, or taking a brisk walk. You can read more self-care posts here. Before I get into the planning, I like to make sure I’m energized & motivated. My favorite way to budget it wake up early with my warm coffee after I’ve prayed. Whatever helps you stay motivated, I say do it! You can find a goal chart at the end of this post, which will be the easiest & most fun to fill out! I suggest filling that one out first (there are 3 free budget printable worksheets at the end of this post). Happy planning & goal setting!
This scripture is my absolute favorite & has helped me in our minimalist pursuit. It also keeps me encouraged when it comes to our finances. It’s what prompted the daily receipt log (see receipt log printable at the end of this post).
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Here are some things I’ll be doing as part of the no spend challenge:
I plan to do weekly envelopes & chart my spending daily so that I can be more intentional day x day & not get loss in the mess of the month (see scripture above).
I’m not going to cut out things like eating out because then I’ll be cutting out my sanity, ha!
I will be more intentionally spending & eating out only on busy days, ‘cause #goals.
I plan to cut our spending, on the first week, by not visiting places like Amazon & any stores that will encourage my desire to spend money outside of our budget. (I’ll be changing this week by week).
I created a goal chart & plan to use this to refer back to anytime I feel like breaking the budget or spending money on credit cards. The goal chart will be my driving force, always!
I’ll be constantly communicating with God, myself, my husband & my kids to remember that the reward is greater than the sacrifice, always!
I’m thinking of this as a financial cleanse, something to whip us back into shape so that the rest of the year will be focused on achieving our financial goals. It will get easier throughout the year (hopefully).
I’ll be calling my car insurance company & cell phone company to see if we’re eligible for any discounts (I’ve done this before & saved $20/month on both! Which was a total of $480 for the year!). I share how I cut our expenses & will be saving $3,000 in this blog post!
I’ll be working towards a different way of living that is more resourceful; including eating left overs, using less paper products & driving less.
I will make a wishlist of the things we need/want & work it into the budget for next month (example; a pedicure, new shoes, etc). I’m hoping this will help with impulse purchases. Instead of buying it because I feel like I need it, I’ll write it down & go back to it when the week is over.
If you’re confused about where to find savings in your budget, or how to cut spending, I’m breaking down some tips that help us reach our financial goals.
Do a monthly budget
I’ve provided a free budget printable at the end of this post!
As simple as this may seem, writing down a plan for the month is both jaw dropping & completely life changing. Why? It’s kind of like the feeling people got on the Netflix show ‘Tidying Up’ with Mari Kondo’s when they threw all of the clothes that they owned into the middle of their beds, ‘is this all mine?’, was probably their first thought. I think ‘tidying up’ is such a necessary part of my everyday life, in all of the areas of my life!
Doing a monthly budget is kind of taking minimalism into your financial life as far as slimming down your spending, becoming more intentional & realizing that you don’t need 3 different t.v. network providers. Heck, you probably don’t even need t.v. (okay, let’s not get carried away).
So if you’re serious about a no-spend challenge then I highly suggest starting with a budget. Like I mentioned earlier, the goal chart will be the driving force for spending & the budget will be the steering wheel.
A goal chart is the driving force for spending & a budget is the steering wheel.
I’ve provided a free daily receipt log at the end of this post!
This is probably THE.MOST.IMPORTANT piece of the puzzle for the no-spend challenge & the hardest part for us. Why? Because I either leave the cash at home, mix it all up or worry that I’m going to lose it & consider it best to use my debit card. This is a recipe for overspending because I don’t have a cash limit.
The daily log & cash envelopes keeps me accountable to budget. I can easily see if I’m overspending. Also keeping an envelope for the week allows me to effectively manage less cash. When I spend with cash, it’s much more painful then when I pay with credit/debit cards. There’s actually psychological research saying people who use cash spend less & more intentionally. So like Dave Ramsey says, ‘cash is King.’. The goal chart is the driving force (my why), the budget is the steering wheel & cash is the engine, or wait is the the gas? I’m confused, ha!
Have an emergency fund
Unexpected costs will arise. Dave Ramsey suggests having an emergency fund of $1,000.00 as part of his snowball approach to financial freedom.
Clean out your cleaning products
No pun intended. I spent more money than I’d like to admit on cleaning products last year. I know because I just did my taxes. When I was going through my Amazon receipts, I realized I have a problem. Yes, kids are messy, but when it comes to saving money, I need to think about resource in all areas of my life. I recently bought the big bottle of cleaner from Trader Joe’s, which is supposed to be the more natural approach to cleaning products & I plan to wean out the products with lots of toxic ingredients. This will hopefully result in less clutter, less money & less toxins in our home. So I will not be buying any cleaning products this month, I will use what I have. I will not be buying cleaning products this month & I will use what I have. I’m going to repeat that 5 more times a day in the month of February, because I need it to stick. I also need to remember that less really is more.
Clean out your bathrooms
Same thing with the cleaners, I bought facial cleanser & lotion at Trader Joe’s recently & I don’t plan to go back to the expensive ones. Cleaning out my bathroom helps me avoid purchasing things we already have.
Clean out your pantry
I recently bought an oatmeal canister. I looked in my pantry & realized I had the same oatmeal canister that was just about full. There’s my point.
Keep track of your daily spending
I know this can seem like such a chore, but realistically it takes about 15 minutes (or less) & #goals remember? If you had a really busy day, or weekend, then I suggest picking a day to tally everything up. Just make sure to keep those receipts! Although you can keep track by checking how much is left in the envelopes, I like to see how much we spend on each individual item because it helps me plan for the next week. It also is extremely helpful when it comes to staying accountable. When I go through receipts it helps me look back on the spending that I couldn’t necessarily pay close to attention to in the busy store, shopping with my kids. It’s kind of a reflection of sorts!
Also, there’s something encouraging about going a day without spending a dime! I like to stay home & walk to the park, eat leftovers & make homemade popsicles with juice. These are what I hope most of my days look like this month. I’m extremely grateful that I can do this because we have a park in our community & I homeschool so we can have days like this. I suggest setting goals realistic to your lifestyle. Remember friends, I’m always PREACHING.TO.THE.CHOIR so let’s keep each other accountable & do our best to stay on track!
Shop online & do in-store pick up
When I’m in the comfort of my own home & not under pressure while shopping with kids in public & overwhelmed by 1 million options (not even lying), I’m more than likely to make more intentional decisions. Shopping online & picking up cuts out alllllllll of the other options when i can search for exactly what I’m looking for instead of passing by 10 other aisles, which doesn’t help with my impulse purchasing.
Just the other day I had 4 pairs of shoes in my hand. Pretty sure I blacked out while I was picking them up. They had my size & I think there was a cartwheel or something. I can celebrate as I’m writing this because I didn’t buy the shoes!! But why tempt myself, right?
I love trying new things & this will my first EVER no-spend challenge month. I plan to use these budget worksheets & hope you’ll find them useful as well! If you have any no-spend challenge tips & ticks, please share them in the comments below!
Here’s the idea of each & every free budget printable & how to put them to good use.
Financial goal chart // this one you’re going to want to hang up on the fridge. Somewhere in plain sight so that the entire family can see what the goal is & why not spending money on our ‘wants’ is the plan.
Daily receipt log // I like the idea of keeping track of daily expenses. This is a huge part of accountability in our home. This budget worksheet is intended to be a snapshot of what the budget is for the expenses that come up weekly (groceries, gas, eating out & haircuts, clothes, etc). The monthly budget amounts would be divided by 4 & that amount would go in the ‘budget’ box.
Budget // This could also be a good worksheet to go up on the fridge. It’s income minus expenses & the total should be zero.
Wishlist // If you feel the need to buy something & you’re not sure if it’s an immediate need, write it down & let it simmer on paper before you make the purchase. This could be something you add to the budget the following month & could really be a great tool to avoid impulse purchases.
Debt worksheet // It’s always good to see just how far we’ve come. It’s also important to get an idea of how far we need to go. This worksheet will help us to see what debt we can throw our extra money at & work towards paying off next. It will also (hopefully) help with impulse buys as well.
Budget // This worksheet would be the final worksheet showing the actual amounts that was spent. The first budget worksheet would be an estimate & this one (the last attachment) would be the budget with the final amounts. This is a good worksheet to plan for the following month since it will have the most recent amounts spent for food, electric, gas, eating out, etc.
With grace & coffee,