Monday, January 4, 2016

No Spend December Update


The very last day of November 2015, we decided on an act of desperation to start a "No Spend Month" the very next day, December 1, 2015. 

We were not really prepared. 
Our pantry was almost bare. 
We were robbing Peter (the first paycheck in December) to pay Paul (novembers bills we still had not paid.
I was expecting to go on disability at any moment, and knew this meant no income from me for a period of time.
And, the biggest one, we were doing this for the first time in one of the largest spending months for most people. 

So, here is how our no spend month turned out.

Recap:

Out to eat 6 times. A total of $ 164.18. 5 of those times where for dinner. 1 time was breakfast. 
This is much better than the $1,000.00+ spent last month. 

"Other spending" was increased a little more, mainly done to extras we did need for Christmas and two birthdays I totally forgot about. $330.29. 
I don't know if this catagory went up because I was more aware of where the money was going as I was purchasing most things through on-line sources instead of adding to regular shopping trips or if we actually spent more money than I normally would have. 

$20.00 of that "other spending" went to a school project for the middle child. 

$73.89 went to needed household items, such as vacuum belts, ect. 
Yes, some of this could have waited, but when your on bed rest and bored it's easier to grab your phone and order what you need right then. 

$64.82 went to cloth diapers for the baby. 
I was stressing because she can be here at anytime and somethings I felt I needed prior to her delivery. Again, in hind site, I could have waited a week to week and a half. 

The rest was gifts for myself and others, as I was really not as ready as I thought I was. 😔 And, I agreed to help a friend out with a home party she was throwing. 

All bills were paid on time and one of the bills actually was brought to current status freeing up money for January's bills. 

I am still waiting on my disability to be approved, due to my doctors issues, and so I didn't receive any income during the month. We were strictly using my significant others income. And it looks like it will be another 3 to 4 weeks before I will get any money. (Yes, I know, how many people can go almost 2 months with no income. I never thought I would be able too.)

We were informed we actually needed to pay another deposit to our lawyer, which was unexpected. This was $1,500.00.

I didn't balance my checkbook as often as a wanted too. Some of this was related to not feeling well, and the rest was due to laziness. 

What I learned:

Will we do it again?:
Yes, due to not knowing the actual date of when I will get any money, we need to continue this limited spending idea this month. 
And, in June we are planning on doing this as a yearly plan in our life. 
We might not be 100% completely spend free but it definitely made us more aware of when we were spending money. I feel it made us more financial responsible. 

Do I feel good about how our "No spend month" went?

I do! I set really high goals for us. Almost impossible goals and I feel we did our best to reach those goals. 

We decreased our over all spending. 

We decreased our "eating out" spending. And I feel we would have done even better in this catagory if I would have put more on my significant other. 
See, I went on bed rest on December 3rd and felt bad sending him to the store for groceries after 3 hours of driving to and from work and working a 10 hour day. 

Our bills were paid on time. And one bill was brought current. 

We learned how to effectively communicate our budget to each other and how to communicate out next goal. Plus, we both realize our ultimate goal is to get our bills all current in 2016, and start paying off previous debt from our "old" lives. 

Our plan from here on out:
1. We are keeping a limited spending month this month, January 2016. 

2. We are planning another "no spend" month in June. 

3. We are using extra money from the one bills that was paid off during December to help get caught up and pay off other debt. And, as other bills are paid off, we will continue to roll money over into other bills until all are paid off and caught up. 

So, how about you?
Have you ever done a no spend month? If so, what did you learn? What were your obstacles? What would you recommend for anyone thinking of trying a "no spend month"?