First Week of the Spend Zero Month

This week October started and so did the SpendZero month challenge I signed up for through LivingWellSpendingLess.com. I was a bit anxious as the new month approached because so much seemed to be popping up that was going to cost money. There was a new set of book catalogs at daycare, there was the bonuses from the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle that had not yet been redeemed, books I wanted to buy, the XM radio subscription was due to be renewed and so much more.

I asked my husband for his thoughts on a few of these, did we want to put the costs of any of these in September or would we just let them pass us by? We worked through each item and mostly decided to let things go. The books I was contemplating for the boys will go on their Christmas lists, the books I wanted I am looking for at the library or putting on my Christmas list. I looked through the bonuses that had not been purchased and decided I had redeemed the ones I was most looking forward to and not going to be upset for missing out on the ones left. XM radio, though I love it so, I decided to do without. It was wonderful to have it the last year but I had been without it before and survived (barely).

On the last day of September I completely blanked about packing my lunch and ended up having to buy lunch, I was a bit disappointed with myself as I had just gone the night before to the store to make sure we had lunch items.

October came and I was excited to get started. On the first day we were given a printable for a contract agreement so that the whole family could be in agreement. This included the “terms and conditions” of what you would commit to doing without but also the items that you couldn’t. One of the items we allowed for is my husband’s bowling league. He does pay each week, we didn’t try to prepay anything on it but we have it listed for his fee amount only, sorry hunny no drinks.

Just in case!
Just in case!

The second day we started to work through the pantry and freezer, making an inventory list so we would know what we have on hand. This also allowed for some clean up in the pantry area as well. I was not able to get to this since I had work all day and then a happy hour for a coworker who was leaving. Yup, a happy hour on the second day of no spending.

This was my plan for the Happy Hour
This was my plan for the Happy Hour

I had planned that I would just be at the happy hour for a brief hello/goodbye but it turned out to be a really fun (but long) night out. I actually didn’t spend any money but I did have soda instead of water.

Saturday’s task was to do some meal planning. Now that the pantry was inventoried you would be able to plan out meals with what you have. Ok I was behind with the pantry inventory/ cleaning and Saturday came with a desparate need to clean. As soon as I got home from the grocery store (where I of course spent more than I try to keep to because we were out of some staples) I just started to clean, put dishes away and wiping down counters. My husband and boys woke up and came downstairs and it was just magic everyone just knew we needed to clean. While the boys ate their breakfast hubby and I ransacked the kitchen in a cleaning frenzy.

We decided it was time to bring up the corner hutch we received, even though it was not repainted as planned, it was needed. Once the little once was down for his morning nap the big boys (hubby and the 3 yr old) went outside to put away all of the summer stuff and I got to work on reorganizing and cleaning up the pantry. I brought stuff up from the basement pantry storage and added things to the new corner hutch. I was able to clear out a few items that had been open for too long and snack time took care of a few nearly finished items.

Original pantry in the kitchen, can't even tell I had already started to clean before the picture was taken, let alone find anything.
Original pantry in the kitchen, can’t even tell I had already started to clean before the picture was taken, let alone find anything.
New pantry setup in the corner hutch, love the glass doors on the top.
New pantry setup in the corner hutch, love the glass doors on the top.

I felt so accomplished but exhausted by noon. After lunch it was family nap-time! Just three days in and I am feeling so motivated. I also canceled a few things that would save us a bit as well, though most won’t save this month it is still a step in the right direction. I canceled a premium TV channel package we were really not utilizing, my Audible account is on the list, I just have to use my credit before I can cancel, and a few other items are on the list to review and hopefully cancel soon.

Are you in on the challenge? How did your first few days go? I can’t wait to see what the next challenge task will be.

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5 thoughts on “First Week of the Spend Zero Month

  1. I heard about this a scope a couple of weeks ago. At the time I was unsure of it, and didn’t know if I wanted to take the leap and do it. Since then I’ve talked to my husband about it a couple of times, he doesn’t seem to have an opinion on it either way. However, I do want to try to only buy what we truly need as far as groceries this month and not eat out.

    I missed the first couple of days this month, but I’m willing to jump in this week with the challenge. We’re getting rid of our XM radio as well. Our subscriptions are coming up for renewal on both of our car, and van soon. We love the 80’s channel, but it’s really not worth the $130 we’d have to pay for each subscription.

    Let me know how you’re doing with the challenge, I think I’m going to need the encouragement. šŸ™‚

    Melissa

    • Melissa, I am having so much fun with this already and even though I have found myself in situations where I would spend I have been able to not spend. The key is finding where you draw the line. I don’t tend to go out for coffee a lot, so that was easy to cut out. I did have those extras that I just never got rid of before. Today’s challenge task was about creating a meal swap, that doesn’t work too well for us so instead I am doing a double batch/ freeze half.

  2. I am using what’s in my pantry instead of buying new items this month. Makes for some interesting twists on recipes and keeps my expenses down at the same time. I am hoping to train myself to hone my grocery list going forward to choose more staples and fewer impulse items.

    Still working on other ideas and I’ll let you know what I come up with.

    • We already cut out a lot of the excess spending so was really interested to see where else we could cut back. I think I am learning just how much we overspend on things that are not necessary. I really like the challenges that Ruth has set up, it helps to think in different ways.

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