Search This Blog

Saturday, November 1, 2014

115. The No Spend Challenge - 31 Days Later: What We Learned

Last month our family did the no spend challenge (click for the challenge we gave ourselves on October 1st). Our goal as a family of 4 was to save $800 in October 2014. We are happy to report that we more than doubled that savings goal!

A. What We Did: 

*We ate primarily what was in our fridge, pantry, and freezer. 
*We bought very minimal groceries. 
*We did eat out some (4 times) but typically spent less than $20 per trip. I also took a friend out to eat. 
*We resisted Starbucks runs. 
*We didn't shop at department stores at the mall. 
*We spent next to nothing extra on entertainment (no Amazon or Redbox rentals).
*We bought no home decor.
*We spent a fraction of what we normally spend on crafts and hobbies. 
*We avoided $1 toys at Target. 
*What was excluded from this challenge: Mortgage, Utilities, Netflix, Giving (including a fundraiser for the Pregnancy Help Center), Health Expenses, Sinking Fund Savings, Diapers & Wipes, etc.
*We cleared out the garage and sold books to Half Priced books for $32!

B. What We Learned: 

*We CAN live on a lot less than we thought we could.
*We CAN resist the urge to impulse buy when we have a motivation to do so. 
*Instead of a 24-48 hour wait time to evaluate purchases this was like a 31 day wait time to evaluate purchases. 
*If we wait to buy,  a lot of times we can get it cheaper or on sale. 
*We made it on a week of groceries for example with canned goods, bread, eggs, milk, some fruit, and yogurt. 
*We spent less money because we really evaluated purchases as to whether they were needs or wants. 
*Turns out a lot of what we looked at were wants.
*A tank of gas for the Civic lasted 24 days! 

C. Some Highlighted Areas We Saved Money:

*We spent about $315 on groceries and eating out for the month. Typically we'd spend $600-800. 
*This included about $25 for a work related trip. Normally on trips I'd easily spend $50-60. 
*Last month we spent $840 between groceries and eating out. Wow!
*We also enjoyed some free meals with family, friends, and at our local church. 
*We spent $88 on gas this month. Typically we'd spend $120-200. Filled up the car and the van only once. 
*Last month we spent $163 on gas. 

D. For Fun & Entertainment: 

*Went to the local public library three times. We checked out books and DVD’s for free. 
*Went to the local Zoo twice since we have a family membership pass.
*Went to the local Science and History Museum since we have a family membership pass.
*Went to local parks at least once a week. One time we even had a picnic. 

E. For Halloween:

*We went to Boo at the Zoo, fall parties, and other fall festivals where we accumulated candy. 
*We decided we didn’t need to eat 3 buckets worth of candy. 
*Instead of buying candy at the store, we gave out most of the candy we had accumulated to our neighborhood kids when they came “trick or treating”. 
*Some friends and family kindly let us borrow Halloween costumes for our kids. 
*Money spent on Halloween: $0 (In contrast see what Americans spent this year.)

October 2014 No Spend Challenge? Done.

Overall this no spend challenge was a very good experience. We highly recommend it to others to try out. It has changed our outlook on money and finances. 

October was a great month to do this as it’s right before the holidays of Thanksgiving in November and Christmas in December. We're going to take a good portion of what we saved and apply it to our mortgage.

Thanks to my wife for helping me with this post. ;-)

Be sure to check out this past months highlights!

What about you? Have you tried a no spend challenge? What did you learn and how much did you save? Leave a comment!



Follow me on Twitter! @JWKEagle

Check out my pins on Pinterest! 

Also look for the blog's website online:

Looking for a particular topic? Please check out the new Table of Contents to see posts listed by topic.