In our household, like many others, money is tight. Income not enough, outgo too much. And while it feels like there’s few solutions to this besides becoming DIY hermits, there’s always creative solutions out there that can be found. There are two types of spending – fixed and flexible. We’ve been working on reducing our fixed (negotiating bills, finally cutting the cable cord just the other day, even the discount gym memberships got the boot in favor of outdoor runs and workouts on the hand-me-down treadmill in the less than semi-finished basement). So with those cuts, I turned my attention to flex spending and my interest in a No Spend Month became a real desire to help maximize our savings. Here’s my game plan:
Bills: these will of course be paid as they pop up.
Food: I started a few weeks ago meal planning. I’m not accustomed to doing one so this was a good way to force my hand! I will share my dinner plans and cost in another post. I’m also allowing for a “fresh allowance” so mid-month I can get milk, half and half and some veggies as needed (around $10). Lunches at work will be dinner leftovers, bread, peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix, soup and string cheese. My work provides fruit for free as well as a candy bowl for the occasional treat so that will help supplement my needs.
Gas: this will have to be an expense that is paid as it comes up. I will be taking a 3-hour road trip to to visit grandparents for Easter which will cause an extra tank of gas to be purchased but time with family is a priority and we will be there for Easter which means not needing to buy things for the holiday – just enjoy time with family.
Entertainment: I enjoy finding new experiences so locking myself and my family away for a month doesn’t sound like an enjoyable or doable plan. April is still early in the year for outdoor activities in our neck of the woods but planning on running, strolling with the baby and visiting parks as weather allows. I’ve checked on Facebook for events as well as a local family fun website for activity ideas. I’ve found a free weekend at a history museum, an Easter egg hunt for our little guy and an open house at a local art shop all happening in April. I also want to plan some time for some good spring cleaning and gardening. As well as selling some crafts I’ve had done for ages and other secondhand items online.
Birthdays/Special Events: As I’ve mentioned about Easter, we plan to be visiting family so a ham dinner and an Easter basket will be provided already for my son. Also planning on making some special baked goods to share so I’m not just freeloading this holiday! Our nephew’s birthday in April so I redeemed my bank debit card reward points to get a gift card for him.
I am planning on making a daily entries to share the successes, the pitfalls and the creative solutions we come up with along the way to keep us on track with our goal for a No Spend Month. Wish us luck!