Now that the gift-giving season, known as Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.) is over, are you regretting the fact that you spent WAY more than you planned to spend? If so, welcome to the club! With Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicking off this season, it’s no wonder that a lot of people have spent more than they wanted to, because of all of the wonderful and awesome deals that were out there! Great deals are so tempting and extremely hard to pass up! So, what is one way to offset or combat the excessive spending that has already been done? Kick off the New Year with No Spend January, of course! What is No Spend January? I’m so glad you asked!
There are several definitions of No Spend January; however, my definition of No Spend January is not purchasing ANY items that are not considered necessities. Necessities are things like home-cooked food, water, housing, medication, etc., while items like a Starbucks coffee, fast food, vending machine snacks, etc., are considered non-necessities. Here are a few ideas to get you off to a great start, and back on budget, in the New Year!
Get Your Family on Board
This step is crucial because you want everyone to willingly participate in this challenge. It will make it easier for everyone involved.
Make a List of Your Necessities
It is a good idea to make a list of your necessities because it will help you stay on track during the month. For example, items on my Necessities List are:
- Bills (including credit card payments, utilities, mortgage, vehicle, insurance, etc.)
- Groceries (preferably no junk food)
- Personal Care Items (shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, etc., only if we need to purchase those items)
This will be something brand new to me. I am currently signed up for a 10-Day Meal Planning Challenge where I will learn the basics of meal planning, and I’ll be set up for a successful month. Following a meal plan will enable us to eat healthy and delicious home-cooked meals, so that we can avoid the tempting fast food restaurants and vending machine snacks during the month! I will also be taking an inventory of the items, that I already have on-hand, and I will be using those items up first in my meal planning recipes. Doing this should reduce my grocery bill during the month!
When doing your grocery shopping, during this month, make sure that you make a list, ahead of time, and stick to that list! Do not buy anything else, that is not on your list, unless you absolutely need it for a meal planning recipe! Sticking to your list will curb your spending.
Want to cook your meals ahead of time because you have a busy schedule? Batch cook your meals, on the weekend, portion them out, and store them in the fridge and freezer for easy grab-n-go meals! There are some very affordable meal planning containers on Amazon. If you’re looking for meal planning containers, with 3 compartments, click HERE. If you prefer meal planning containers, with one compartment, click HERE.
If you’re interested in the information that will be shared in the 10-Day Meal Planning Challenge, be sure to request to join my Facebook Group, The Oily Analyst Community – Chemical Free Lifestyle, HERE, because I will be sharing what I am learning in the challenge! When answering the questions, for access to my group, be sure to mention that you found me through my blog!
Use a Planner or Journal
Using a planner or journal, to map out your meals (see meal planning above), will help you stay on track during the month, so that you’re not scrambling, at the last minute, to figure out what you are going to put on the dinner table tonight. A planner or journal will also help you to schedule your day, so that you can intentionally avoid unnecessary spending throughout the month. Do you usually browse the sales on the internet in the afternoon? Plan that time, instead, to read a book or play with your kids or pets, for example. I plan to use my time to work on educating my members, building my business, improving my skills through reading books, and scheduling my social media posts!
My friend, Amber at xoxoam.com, shared an awesome tip with me this week! One of her goals, for the upcoming year, is to save money. She will be using a bullet journal to keep herself on track! She created a “no spend spread” for January (see picture of it below). Each day is numbered and gets colored in if she does not spend anything that day. Amber did this a couple of months ago, and she found that it was really gratifying to see each day filled in! If you are a visual person, and like to see the results of your hard work, make sure to try out Amber’s tip! Thanks for sharing your great tip, Amber! Looking for a bullet journal? Here is a very affordable pack of 2, HERE!
P.S. Be sure to check out Amber’s awesome blog and website at xoxoam.com!
Find Free Entertainment
Since you will not be frequenting restaurants, movie theaters, and other places that cost money, use this month to find free entertainment in your area. For example, you could go to the park and have a picnic, visit the library and check out books and movies for free, walk around the shopping mall and window shop (no spending!) if you have the willpower, and you could also take this time to improve your fitness by working out at home. There are lots of free workout videos on the internet. You just have to search for them!
Here are quick links to the tools mentioned in this blog post:
I hope that these tips will help you, if you decide to take the No Spend January Challenge! If you have an awesome tip to share, be sure to mention it in the comments below! Let’s wish each other luck in completing this challenge! I look forward to seeing how it went for you!
Until next time!