I have heard of people who do this in November as well.

I don't know how practical it is or how it exactly works.

I can see that it would be possible but would take a lot of careful planning and a whole lot of motivation to complete this type of challenge.

I'm in. So much money was spent during the last couple of months.

I think this is very practical. Of course, you have to pay your bills and buy food, but you don't eat out and you don't buy anything that is not a true necessity of life. 

I'm doing it and I will check in and let everyone know how I'm doing. What I had to give up and try to keep a tab of what I've saved.  I hope others join and together we will see how this will give our finances a boost. 

Starting today, I was planning to go out to dinner for New Years Day, but now not only are we eating at home, we are going to eat what is already in the freezer and NOT go out to the grocery store and buy something special. (Savings $40)

Ok fellow Penny Hoarders, let's GO!!!

A whole month!? I'm in! While November might be a difficult month to do this due to all the holiday shopping, January seems like a pretty perfect month! We're done with out holiday spending, it's a time to start new goals, and, unless there's a birthday coming up, there aren't a lot of expenses I can think of for this month personally. 

Would this entail no spending at all or just minimal spending? 

I was already thinking of doing something similar with minimal spending. 

See my plan below: 

1. Plan for my regular monthly bills

2. Set a budget of $25 - $50 per week on anything else. This would include groceries and any transportation costs I might incur. The first week is $50. After the first week, I want to review that spending, see how bad or well I did, and hopefully reduce it a lot for the remaining month. 

3. Budget the remaining income into savings and maying increasing a debt payment. 

This plan is not set in stone, I plan to adjust where needed. Since I still have quite a bit of debt, I am conflicted on paying off more or saving more so that I can save and maybe pay off in larger chunks in the long run. Any suggestions or criticism is welcome as well. 

Happy New Year to everyone!

Eber, I think you have a pretty good plan. #1 and 2 are on point. #3...if you have NO savings, definitely split the monies between savings and bills until you get a some money saved. If you already have some savings for emergencies, then apply the extra money to your highest interest rate debt, pay the minimum on the other bills. Then as the highest interest rate debt gets paid off, go to the next one. No more charge cards. Good luck and have a wonderful 2020.

Thanks Shannon for the tip. I think daily emails are motivating also. Sharing ways we  save will help others too. I allow $600 per month for groceries/otc meds/personal care products/household needs. 

Today I needed some items. I made a list. I looked over my list to make sure they were all necessities and double checked to make sure that I needed the items since I am saving by using everything I can in my refrigerator, pantry and freezer. I spent $52 and I will keep a running tab of my budgeted amount with updates as I go along this month. I plan to put the remainder of all savings into my savings account, with 10% going to my church along with my tithe. I'm not decreasing my charitable giving during this challenge. 

Eber, 

what a great plan! You’ve really thought this through. 

I’ve never done a whole month so no expert, but have read other people’s stories on the Penny Hoarder and elsewhere. A no-spend challenge can be whatever you want it to be—trying not to spend ANY money or cutting back on extras, like Starbucks, fast food, or whatever you find yourself spending too much on. For me, it will be separating what I WANT to buy from what I really need and breaking the cycle of mindless consumerism. 

Back in Oct. I made an Excel spreadsheet and tracked spending for the whole month. I’ll use it in Jan. to see how much money I save.

I’m so impressed by everyone’s efforts already, and it’s only Jan. 2!

ANNMARIE L,  I am so impressed that you made a spreadsheet in October. That was great planning ahead. I am a senior citizen and struggle doing anything but minor computer emails, posting on groups, paying bills. 

My main problem, that REALLY worsened in December was eating out. I am tired of planning and cooking and the clean up. There are only two of us and occasionally my grandson to feed. I already slipped up slightly. I had a $10 credit at Pizza Johns and yesterday 1/3, I used it to get a free pizza. I had to pay for tax and delivery. My husband paid the tip, so I would stop whining once I ordered it. (He's not doing the challenge. I take care of the family finances.) I had a couple of gift cards from Christmas, but no restaurants, so I have to cook the rest of the month...breakfast, lunch, dinner, but none for restaurants. Darn!  I know once I get back into the swing of it, I'll adapt. 

SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! 

$600 mo. food/misc budget/spent so far $76...also NEEDED a few things at the store.

A progress report on non-spending:

Today I returned some things to Kohl’s and got back nearly $60. More importantly, I didn’t buy anything new there!

Drove right past Starbucks and didn’t stop. Approx. $4.50 saved.

Didn’t stop by the supermarket to pick up a bottle of wine. I like to have a glass with dinner, but it’s not a necessity. Saved approx. $10 or more. 

Grand total = Approx. $75 saved/not spent. Yay! 

How is everyone else doing?

@DBOOTHE, no I didn't necessarily keep track of what I saved. Instead, I kept track of what I didn't spend on. For example, on excess personal toiletries (a weakness), excessive fast food trips, zero coffee trips, etc. The money I would have spent I approximated and put in one of my savings accounts. In addition, any money I made on side hustles (mystery shopping, eBay sales, tenant late fees, search evaluator work, InBox Dollars) was put into a savings account that I use to anticipate expenses for the new year (for example, software upgrades, auto and home insurance, property taxes...you get the idea...things that I know are coming down the pipe). And, if I couldn't save the entire check amount, then I saved at least a percentage of each and every check. I am semi-retired so normally I work about 20 hours a week at home but haven't been able to do much since March 2019 due to illness, surgeries, etc., thus, the side hustles. But, I expect to start working again this month and will use that and the continuation of little hustles to laser-focus, as Dave Ramsey would say,  on slaying the debt...at least until my next surgery this year...urghhh.

What I liked about the challenge was that it forced me to look intently at what was necessary. It's a challenge but I just keep plugging away. In fact, after reading ANNMARIE L's post above, I'm returning an unopened Boots No. 7 kit that was on sale for a fantastic price, but do I need it along with all the other beauty creams I have? Nope.

DBOOTHE, my hubby has to fend for himself for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner! If I cooked 3 meals a day, we could probably save more money. I’m disabled, so he understands if I’m too tired or feeling sick. When I buy groceries, I make sure that he has some things he can easily make and eat, like sandwiches, eggs, maybe a frozen burrito or Lean Cuisine. You have to do what works for your budget & your lifestyle. 

when I do cook, I try to make stuff that lasts for several meals. Like a big pot of chicken soup, chili, lasagna, etc. That way I manage to limit cooking dinner to maybe 2x week.

STHOM, I also have a weakness for beauty products and personal toiletries. 😀 But I try to exercise self-control. Have heard a lot about Dave Ramsey’s books on budgeting but I haven’t read any of his writing yet. That would probably help me!

STHOM,  I have to take my regular budgeted amount for groceries/misc and keep track if I have any left because if I tried to do it your way, I can see myself getting carried away...I didn't go to the movies today (save $10), I didn't go out for dinner (save $40), I didn't go on vacation today (save $3000). LOL

Anyway, as of 1/5, I've used $26 more of my grocery/misc funds for a total of $78 out of the $600 per month allowed). I have not purchased anything on Amazon. Yay!

AnnieB,   Food, by far, is my biggest waste of money. Eating out WAY too much and even when I get a handle on eating out and do the full on meal planning, grocery list with coupons and sale ads, grocery shopping, toting bags of groceries and putting all that stuff away, I end up forgetting about fresh produce and throw half of it away. So I still have money thrown out the window. This is a big struggle. I hate it, but I HAVE to conquer this evil in my life.

Eating out more often equals poor (but delicious) choices, weight gain and of course, big expense. Cooking at home equals bland meals (not fond of cooking), lots of prep work, cooking and clean up, leaving me feeling disappointed. 

Looking at my post from yesterday, I shouldn't leave it at that. What I NEED to do is get more creative in the kitchen and stop buying the same old things. 

On a brighter note, today it is snowing. I DID NOT run to the grocery store at the first snowflake and purchase "things to cheer me up" aka junk food and other unnecessary items. Savings! $30 or more. We have all the bread, milk and toilet paper we need so no need. 

I have not spent any more of my grocery/misc budget...no need, still using up what we have in the pantry, fridge and freezer. I will say (if a little wryly) I do get a little kick out of seeing what all I have had hidden in those pesky places. 

DBOOTHE, 

there are some sites you can sign up with and get free recipes emailed to you. One is Spend with Pennies that focuses on inexpensive meals. Another one I like is called The Magical Slow Cooker. And there are lots more. Allrecipes.com has a feature that lets you search for recipes that use ingredients you already have and need to use up. 

Still not spending any money on non-essentials. I’m feeling so proud when I look at my bank account! In contrast, by this time last month, I’d already spent $241 on stuff like Starbucks, buying clothes and toiletries, and ordering things on Amazon. My spending was out of control.

There is a email you can get called Yummly, yes, that is how you spell it. It has loads of recipes and all kinds of variations on them...all for free. Plus you get to rate the recipes, if you want to.

To help conserve food, when my onions and garlic start growing inside the house, I take them and plant them. The garlic in the winter grows well in cool temperatures and the flavor of the tops is more light and delicate when cooked-called green garlic, the bulbs are small, but usable. Like many others, food is a big waste of money when it spoils.

We only visit the sales when they are truly sales and stick to the list. Impulse buys are too easy especially when you get a free sample and think to yourself what great taste or texture! Then you want it...the loaf of fancy bread at only $3.59 for less than 1 lb and that is the sale price. That was my yesterday, then realized a similar product exists in the freezer at home. Pure willpower helped me walk away. Just enjoy the sample.

Glad to hear your joining us Kelly. I'm going to make 2020 a banner year for my finances. Save. Save. Save. 

Best wishes to all for financial improvement. 

Well, I'm making another pot of soup on this snow day. I normally wouldn't make two pots so close together, but I had ALL the ingredients and well, the snow. Chicken corn noodle soup is a favorite of ours too.

 

AnnemarieL,  It KILLS me to "waste" money on gas and prescriptions when I'm pinching pennies to save. They are no fun, but a necessary evil.

Redcatcec,  Positive reinforcement is great, but I haven't really been successful at it. I'm not sure if it's because I've never succeeded at the things I've tried to trick myself into doing or because after I've done it, I don't reward myself because the reward should be that I did it (because it needed to be done). Probably overthinking the whole thing,

As an alternative way to get prescriptions, there is an online pharmacy with cheap co-pays that sends you the Rx,. Your Dr's office would send the prescriptions there through fax or the computer, you receive acknowledgement from the company, & then they arrive in the mail to your door-elimination the gas and spent to get them. Payment is done by credit card.The exception would be prescriptions that are controlled ones, you'd have to pick the the actual paper from the Dr's office, snail mail it in, and then sign for the product at the PO. This is through Express Scripts.

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