Sometimes, it feels like our finances are out of control. Whether it is mounting debt repayment obligations or a lack of savings, figuring out how to get things back on track is challenging. One technique that has gained popularity is to have a “no spend” month.
No spend months are fairly self-explanatory; you don’t spend any money (that doesn’t have to be spent) for the entire month. Yes, you can pay bills and meet repayment obligations. And you can stop for petrol so you can get to work. But outside of those expenses, all spending stops.
The purpose of the venture is to give yourself a small nest egg at the end of the month. Then, you can apply that money towards debt repayment or savings. Going on a complete spending fast isn’t easy, and it requires planning. But, when done right, you’ll be amazed at what you can save. And February is the perfect month to give it a try.
Why Your First No Spend Month Should be February
Besides it being the next month on the calendar, February is an ideal choice for one reason; it is the shortest month of the year. That means you only have to avoid spending for 28 days instead of 30 or 31. And while the difference may be small, shaving off a few days can make it easier to accomplish.
February is also when most holiday-related debts begin to require payment. Many people take on additional debt right before the New Year, and those bills are coming. So, putting your savings to repay holiday debts is a natural way to manage the costs quickly.
How to Plan for Food
Some people are surprised when they find out that no spend months include the buying of most food. And that is why planning is in order. To prepare for your spending fast, it is critical to get your food needs met. Often, this means buying all required items early and storing them for future use.
Fresh foods are exempt from the spending fast in cases where they are absolutely necessary. However, if you can plan suitably using shelf-stable options or items that can be frozen, that is the preferred way to go.
If you normally purchase food or drink away from home, that also needs to stop for the entire month. No restaurants, no random stops for snacks, no quick trip for a pint. If it didn’t come from the food and drink available in your home, then you don’t eat it for the entire month.
Absolutely No Retail
Essentially, all retail purchasing ceases. Clothes, shoes, books, and all other purchases will just have to wait until March. In fact, don’t even go into the shop. Retailers design their spaces to entice you to buy. So simply walking into your favourite shop is a test of willpower, even you don’t intend to buy.
While sticking to a no spend plan isn’t easy, the effort can be worth it. Consider the potential benefits of keeping some of that money in your pocket instead of sending it out the door. Then, when the month is over, you’ll have a debt payment or savings deposit of which you can be proud.